These trains will run single side trips as fully reserved train services
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When did you decide that you wanted to be a chef?
I was a teenager when I decided that food was my true calling and I wanted to pursue it professionally. Until then, I was simply acquainting myself with food in my hometown, Hyderabad. Helping at family events or enjoying different cuisines at my neighbours’ homes, exploring the street foods and biryanis, all seemed quite novel and interesting to me. What started as a culinary exploration gradually grew into a passion. In those times Sanjeev Kapoor’s TV show was the only inspiration and it was very hard to convince a south Indian family about the profession of a chef. Hence, I joined engineering, did my three semesters (electrical & electronics), then called it quits to follow my passion, hotel management, where my heart belonged.
Which is your most favourite ingredient to use?
Actually, it depends on which cuisine I am working on and, most importantly, if I am working on any classic dish, I really don’t choose any ingredient, I just follow the recipe. If I am developing any recipe or need to twist any of the dishes, I would love to use the local favourite and available ingredients. Personally, I don’t have any favourites since I love to use fresh and traditional ones and find it pretty exciting to pair them with a dish according to my liking. One thing I don’t miss while cooking is the seasoning at the end. This is an extremely crucial step while cooking.
Which do you think is the most versatile cuisine?
In India, our own cuisine changes every 200km. In this way when the entire cooking techniques, ingredients and concept change occurs, it’s very hard to unite the county with one single cuisine. So I believe, Indian cuisine is the most diverse and versatile cuisine ever. We have lots to learn, explore and discover. For instance, a simple biryani recipe changes in all states and also within the states.
One dish or recipe you’re desperate to master?
It is my mom’s naatu kodi pulusu (country chicken curry). I have been eating this curry from my childhood but still can’t make it perfectly. Sometimes, I come close but can’t match up to my mom’s. It is a very easy recipe but the secret lies in understanding the exact details.
Chef Recommends: Chef Prem Kumar Pogakula’s European Favourites
Coq Au vin
A classic French chicken stew, braised slowly in red wine and a little brandy with bacon, mushrooms and pearl onions. Finish it off with butter for the most perfect sauce.
Truffle-Scented Parmesan Riso Soup
A comforting soup with a flavourful punch of truffle with chicken stock, cream, milk and cheese.
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