Chef Roger Gonsalves is one of the more recognized chefs with a vast experience in the kitchen and is widely recognized for his various intercontinental cuisines. Sandeep Hattangadi caught up with the ever smiling chef to know more about his gourmet skills and his way to the stomach of many of his ardent admirers.
Tell us something about your background.
I started my career from Hyatt Regency, Mumbai where I was working as Demi Chef De Partie for the European cuisine at the Glass House restaurant. After a three year stint in India, I decided to move to Middle East. In Dubai, I started my career working at Al Qasr Hotel, Madinat Jumeirah, where I was working as Chef De Partie for American cuisine in Napa restaurants. Then I moved to sea food restaurant – Pisces as Senior Chef. After completing about 8 years in Jumeriah I got an opportunity to work with world’s no. one hospitality company – JW Marriot Dubai as sous chef at Market Place – all day dining restaurant.
What are your favorite cuisines and recipes?
My favorite cuisine is European and I love cooking braised lamb shanks with wine. India is a diverse country and a country who loves food and each region has its own specialty. The restaurant industry in India has seen rapid growth over the last decade and this growth will continue until the next foreseeable future. In the past few years we saw the establishment of many international fast food chains like Dominos, Pizza Hut, KFC, etc. Not only this but there was a rise in greater awareness of global cuisines and gourmet food and the demand for luxury dining has led to the growth of high-end restaurants in the country
Which hotels do you think are the best in the country and internationally? Who are your inspirational chefs?
Marriot Group is the best chain of hotels according to me and Chef Sabestian Nohse is my inspiration.
What do you think are the qualities to be a good chef?
Passion: A Chef has to be passionate about food and cooking.
Stamina: An essential quality of a true chef is stamina.
Leadership skills: Responsible for the kitchen.
Creativity: Chef has to be creatives for the dishes he makes
Flexibility: One who can ensure that his kitchen is running smoothly
Organization: Utilization of staff, kitchen especially during peak hours
Business sense: It has to be cost effective and wastage should be minimal.
Commitment to quality: Chef has to be committed to quality using only the freshest and best quality ingredients
What does the term Mondo Dine signify?
Mondo – Handcrafted Fine Dine lives up to its name. ‘The World’ in German, ‘Remarkable of its own kind’ in Italian and ‘Ekmev’ in Sanskrit, Mondo has three meanings and one stand-out feature. This fine-dining restaurant changes its menu every 15 days! Each time you visit this eatery you’ll be served with a six-course meal of a completely new cuisine. One can make a choice between an International menu and an Indian menu or simply get the best of both worlds. A unique concept, at Mondo you can get a taste of cuisines like Tuscany Italian, German, Canary Island, Chettinad, Gascony, Moroccan, Kashmiri, Mexican etc all at the same place.
What are the special cuisines in Mondo Dine?
You get a six-course meal for an affordable price! With a farm to table concept, Mondo uses fresh ingredients which adds flavor to the food and makes it distinct. Chef Roger Gonsalves serves you the world on a plate. Literally. Having travelled the world, he leaves no room for mistake. The menu is inspired and crafted to give you a complete experience. The attention to detail is not limited to food, the cutlery befits every course. The style with which the food is presented keeps you wondering if you’re dining in an eatery down the road or a five-star restaurant. Minimalistic interiors, no loud music, al-fresco dining and a small interior section with dim lights compliment the food.
What would you advise the young students who want to be chefs?
In order to be a good chef one has have the enthusiasm of learning and inculcating all the knowledge he gets without giving much importance to money and his personal time.
Mutton Rogan Josh
5 tablespoons vegetable oil, 7 black peppercorns, left whole
3 black cardamom pods, left whole*, 5 green cardamom pods, left whole*, 4 whole cloves, 1 cinnamon stick
1 piece mace, 1 onion, finely chopped, 1 (1 1/2-pound) leg of lamb or mutton, bone intact, cut into pieces, 6 garlic cloves, peeled, left whole, 1 (3/4-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut in half, Water, as needed, 2 teaspoons ground coriander, 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder, 2 teaspoons ground fennel seeds, 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala, 2 tomatoes, blended to a pulp in a food processor, 3 tablespoons plain yogurt, Kosher salt
Boiling water, as needed, Handful chopped fresh cilantro, leaves and stems
Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the black peppercorns, black and green cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon, and mace, and fry for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the spices are sizzling and fragrant. Add the chopped onion, and fry for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring regularly, or until golden brown. Add the lamb pieces, and fry for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring continually, until the lamb pieces are golden brown all over. Meanwhile, in a food processor, blend the garlic cloves, and ginger, with 1 tablespoon of water to a fine paste. Add the garlic and ginger paste to the lamb mixture, stir well to combine, and then reduce the heat, and continue to cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently.
Stir in the ground coriander, cumin, red chilli powder, fennel seeds, garam masala, tomato pulp, yogurt, and salt, to taste. Cover the pan with a lid, and then reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the sauce has almost completely dried out. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of boiling water to the sauce, stir well and simmer for a further 7 to 8 minutes, stirring continually and adding splashes of water as necessary, until the volume of liquid has reduced and the sauce has thickened. Add enough boiling water to almost cover the lamb, and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the lamb is cooked through. Stir in the chopped fresh cilantro just before serving.
Wild Mushroom Risotto
9 1/2 tablespoons butter.
1 1/2 pounds fresh wild mushrooms
7 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup finely chopped leek (white and pale green parts only)
1 1/4 cups arborio rice (8 to 9 ounces)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/4 of mushrooms and
sprinkle with salt. Sauté mushrooms until tender and beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer
mushrooms to medium bowl. Working in 3 more batches, repeat with 6 tablespoons butter, remaining mushrooms, and salt and pepper.
Bring 7 cups chicken broth to simmer in medium saucepan; keep warm. Melt remaining 1 1/2
tablespoons butter with olive oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add leek, sprinkle with
salt, and sauté until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add rice and increase heat to medium. Stir until edges of rice
begin to look translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add 3/4 cup warm chicken broth; stir until almost all broth is
absorbed, about 1 minute. Continue adding broth by 3/4 cupfuls, stirring until almost all broth is
absorbed before adding more, until rice is halfway cooked, about 10 minutes. Stir in sautéed mushrooms. Continue adding broth by 3/4 cupfuls, stirring until almost all broth is absorbed before
adding more, until rice is tender but still firm to bite and risotto is creamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1/4
cup grated Parmesan cheese. Plate the risotto with some crispy basil and pickled cherry tomatoes.