Danuska Da Gama | NT BUZZ
Having begun his career in the kitchen at the age of 22, Chef Monish Santosh has quickly risen to the position of sous chef within a span of five years.
Always engrossed in crafting new recipes and creating food that is enticing and with a personal touch, he makes people fall in love with food. One can also learn a lesson or two from him while you dine and converse with this chef who loves sharing his ideas, recipes, and knowledge.
Excerpts from an interview:
Q. What fascinates you about food that got you interested in this line?
The fascination with food began at an early age at home while I spent time in the kitchen with my mother as she prepared meals for the family. I fondly recollect memories of sitting on the counter top and passing ingredients to my mother. This childhood hobby turned into a passion that kindled into something fruitful.
Q. Tell us about your fast paced journey climbing the rungs in the food industry.
Working in the hospitality industry has harnessed skills that have been untapped. Every work place has a different style and diverse clientele which in turn has given me the opportunity to showcase my techniques and have a steady growth.
Q. You love innovating and experimenting. Tell us about some recent works you’re proud of.
Exercising my creative freedom has been an instrument that has helped me function throughout the years. I have been experimenting with fermented food, transparent crisps, dehydrated ingredients, and gluten free options such as seeded crackers which I have managed to display during my degustation dinners such as the kombucha pairing dinner.
Q. Food today is not just a necessity, but a luxury, an art, and more. Your thoughts on this.
Food has begun to be more than just mere sustenance as it did in the past. The influence of renowned chefs such as Ferran Adria have shown the world the aesthetic appeal of food and its importance in modern times. It is important that food not just tastes good but also looks appealing and the art aspect of food has begun to be a vital component of dinning.
Q. How have your travel sojourns outside India influenced your style of cooking? My love for exploring different parts of the world has taken me to countries such as Germany, Australia, and France to name a few. Germany has a played an important role in building my career as I learned the ropes of the kitchen and basis of my techniques that I use today.
Q. What are some techniques, customs, and traditions of Indian culinary heritage that makes you feel proud as an Indian chef?
Indian culinary traditions has been a big influence on the culinary world through its diverse cuisine and techniques such as smoking and braising that have been practiced for centuries through the advent of various monarchs.
Q. Tell us about some ingredients you love working with?
I love working with unique ingredients from various parts of the world such as black rice, umeboshi, miso, black garlic, gojuchang and angostura bitters to name a few.
Juniper braised pork belly
Pork belly 200 grams
Apple 100 grams
Sage 15 grams
White wine 50 millilitres
Chicken stock 100 millilitres
Salt 5 grams
Pepper 5 grams
Cream 50 millilitres
Sugar 10 grams
Onion 50 grams
Garlic 20 grams
Carrots 50 grams
Marinate the pork belly with salt and pepper
Place the pork belly over dices of onions, carrot, and garlic in a shallow oven proof dish
Add the white wine and stock to the pan and cover the oven proof pan before placing the pork belly in the oven at 150 degree celsius for 45 minutes to one hour.
Cook the peeled apples in cream and saffron till soft and blend to a puree.
Slice apples on the lowest setting on a Japanese mandolin and simmer in water till translucent.
Place the apples in a dehydrator set at 60 degree celsius till crisp.
Once the pork belly is cooked, remove the pork belly and set aside to rest.
Cut the pork belly to desired sized pieces and grill on a hot pan till golden brown.
Assemble the dish.
Butter basted fish fillet
Fish fillet 200 grams
Green peas 100 grams
Asparagus 100 grams
Potato 200 grams
Cherry tomatoes 50 grams
Butter 50 grams
Potato starch 20 grams
Xanthan gum 1 gram
Salt 5 grams
Pepper 5 grams
Thyme 5 grams
Preserved lime 5grams
Olive oil 30 milllitres
Cream 50 milllitres
Marinate the fish fillet in olive oil, thyme, preserved lime rind and seasoning.
Cook green peas in a combination of cream and butter till soft and blend to a smooth puree.
Add xantham gum to the green pea puree along with seasoning and blend.
Load the green pea puree into a iSi siphon and charge with two and 20 cylinders.
Place the asparagus in a sheet of parchment paper and season before folding the parchment over itself to form a pouch.
Cook the asparagus in a hot oven till the parchment bulges.
In a cast iron skillet place the fish in melted butter and baste with butter as the fish cooks.
Place the fish in the middle of the place and pipe the green pea foam. Garnish with blistered tomatoes and asparagus.
Everybody, move your body
The phrase ‘healthy lifestyle’ is an abbreviated definition of how you should live if you want to get the healthiest body you can—one that both looks good and feels good. You know the obvious behaviors that describe someone who is healthy and takes care of themselves. A healthy person doesn’t smoke, tries to maintain a healthy weight, eats healthy foods with plenty of fruits, vegetables and fiber and, of course, exercises on a regular basis.
Then there are other elements to add to the list. A healthy person also knows how to manage stress, gets good quality sleep each night, doesn’t drink too much, doesn’t sit too much—basically, does everything in moderation all the time. When you look at everything that could possibly go into a healthy lifestyle, you can see just how hard all of those things are in our current world.
In fact, the trick to healthy living is making small changes—taking more steps each day,1 adding fruit to your cereal, having an extra glass of water, or saying no to that second helping of buttery mashed potatoes. One thing you can do right now to make your lifestyle healthier is to move more.
Here’s Why You Need Move More: You know you need to exercise, but there are many excuses not to do it. You’re too busy, don’t know where to start, you’re not motivated or you’re afraid you’ll injure yourself. Maybe you think exercise has to be really hard or it isn’t good enough.
Whatever definition you have about what exercise is or isn’t, the bottom line is that exercise is movement. Movement is exercise and every time you move more than you normally do, it counts.
It’s great if you can spend time exercising—meaning you’re sweating, working in your target heart rate zone, or doing something to strengthen your body. But it doesn’t always have to be that way. Moderate activities like chores, gardening and walking can make a difference.2
The Benefits of Moving More: The great thing about moving is that just a few minutes a day can have lasting benefits, many of which you may not even be aware of.
It reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes
Improves joint stability
Increases and improves range of motion
Helps maintain flexibility as you age
Maintains bone mass
Prevents osteoporosis and fractures
Improves mood and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression
Improves memory in elderly people