He has traveled the world extensively and has curated power lunches for global leaders such as Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin, Nicholas Sarkozy and the Royal Family of Kuwait. But Chef Varun Inamdar wants to take a break from the kitchens of the high and mighty and cook for regular people now. That’s good news for us. After a successful Valentine’s day pop up culinary studio hosted by Trekurious.com, he is all set to explore further.

In a conversation with MW, Inamdar says, “At the risk of sounding clichéd, I literally sleep, breathe and talk food. I am into conducting workshops and demonstrations across India to train students, home chefs and professionals…” He believes that more people should be introduced to different flavours and they should be allowed to experiment and try out new things. Apart from this, he is also curating menus from restaurants currently. But what really keeps him busy these days is his uber-luxurious signature line, The Chocolate Factory Ecuador, known for its exquisite chocolate ganaches to never-tasted-before fillings.

Excerpts from the interview:
How did you start your journey as a chef?
I would cook at home from the age of 8. Experimenting, replicating recipes showcased on television and trying out recipes from my mother’s cooking diary – that was what I did instead of playing ball with other kids. I was only 12 when I told my parents that I wanted to get into hotel management. They asked me if I even understood what that meant, and I shocked them with a discourse on the topic. That’s how my journey with food began. And before I knew it, my father had me admitted into a culinary school in Mumbai.

What is your biggest achievement?
To me, my biggest achievement was getting through The Oberoi Centre of Learning and Development, Delhi. It refined my vision and gave a direction. For getting into that institution, one has to take many rounds of interviews, and getting through those was my father’s wish and I take that as my biggest achievement.

You have catered for quite a few famous names. What has those experiences been like?
The pressure of serving such personalities is immense. But, over the years, it has become like serving anybody else. The team goes crazy through the planning and execution stages, but at the end of the day, it is best to keep your cool and concentrate on the guests’ choices and preferences and the flavours and presentation of the dishes.

What is the perfect meal, according to you?
A meal, to me, is anything that strums the chords of your mind. It must be tasty, wholesome, and must connect with you instantly. These are the qualities which I keep looking for in any meal. I am ready to drive any distance to reach a restaurant if these qualities are met.

What is your favorite dish?
Something that I can eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner is a Chicken Biryani with some slices of onions.

Which culinary talent would you most like to have?
I would love to master the ‘Art of Flavours’. It is the most important aspect of any chef’s repertoire. Enhancing natural flavours and using minimal ingredients is not everyone’s cup of tea. Simplicity and subtlety are difficult to master and I would love to do so.