Gone are the days where women worked only in their own home kitchens and the only chefs in professional establishments were men. The food industry in its ever growing, ever expanding form has seen a burst of women who are creating magic in the kitchen. Some of the most popular and famous restaurants in the country are helmed by some formidable women. These are no-nonsense, take-charge, superbly creative and talented women who are dishing out beautiful food you probably don't even know. They command and lead their army of cooks through exhausting lunch and dinner services with great ease and are the reason you have such wonderful dining experiences. As they say, if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen! Meet the women who are cooking up a storm!
Kshama Prabhu, Bar Stock Exchange
Chef Kshama Prabhu is undoubtedly one of the best chefs in the city. She has over ten years of experience in the industry and a formal training from the Merit Swiss Asian School of Management along with being honored with the Gold Medal for Practical Cookery at The Middle East Junior Chef of the Year ??in Dubai. She's formidable in the kitchen, having worked in some of the best across the globe like Prasinos at Jumeirah Beach Club (Dubai), Vu’s at Emirate Towers Hotel (Dubai), Allium at Dolphin Square Hotel (London), Gordon Ramsey’s Boxwood Café (London), Corleone at Intercontinental Marine Drive (Mumbai), Boardwalk Bar & Bistro Brisbane (Australia), or The Bar Stock Exchange (Mumbai), where she's currently the Executive Chef, you can always be assured a fabulous meal. At the restaurant, her signature dishes are the Grilled Lamb Skewers with a spicy Moroccan sauce and an unusual Tandoori-styled Chicken Popcorn.
Nidhi Behl, Byblos
Byblos, the brand new restaurant inspired by Middle Eastern cuisine, is the talk of the town. With no real formal training and heavily relying on cookbooks, Chef Nidhi has become a master at creating new dishes with unique flavours. A large part of her childhood was spent in Saudi Arabia and hence the Middle East plays a huge influence on her palate. She's had the privilege of feeding some very prolific names including members of the Saudi Royal Family and has decided to give Mumbai a taste of her 'unapologetically loud, bold and exciting flavours'. If you're looking for something new and exciting on the restaurant scene, pop into Byblos and while you're at it and ask for the chef to recommend her favourites! Her signature dishes are her deconstructed Shawarma plates and her African Bedouin Biryani.
Ritu Dalmia, Diva
Chef Ritu Dalmia is a household name and a celebrity chef. She's got a beautiful Italian restaurant in Delhi called Diva, a number of cookbooks under her belt and has her own TV shows. She used to work in her family business, and on a work trip to Italy, she fell in love with the cuisine and decided to work in the kitchen. She's a fabulous chef and her cookbooks have simple recipes that make it easy to replicate at home. Next time you're in Delhi, drop in at her restaurant.
Anahita Dhondy, Soda Bottle Openerwalla
AD Singh and his team, who created the superb Olive chain of restaurants and bistro across the country, have a rather unusual restaurant in the capital. While Mumbai has its typical Irani cafes and Parsi community and their cuisine, Delhi has Soda Bottle Openerwalla, a restaurant that dishes out typical Parsi/Irani food. One of the chefs who made this possible is Chef Anahita Dhondy, who is the restaurant's cuisine authenticator. Her role in the kitchen allows her to highlight the nuances of Parsi cuisine. She's an integral part of the team and has managed to make this restaurant a popular one in Delhi. So much so that they have 2 outlets in the city!
Keisha D'souza, Evviva Courtyard By Marriott Pune City Centre
Chef Keisha was inspired by popular TV show 'Friends' and decided to take up cooking professionally. While culinary school prepares you for everything, Chef Keisha's talents extend to making cheese from scratch, handling a kitchen and belting out orders to her staff as well as dishing out a full course meal. Along with handling the MoMo Cafe and Banqueting, she's also part of the culinary team that serves up the delicious fare at the super stunning sky lounge Evviva at the hotel. The food is mostly Indian with their signature Nalli Nihari being a massive hit. The restaurant has recently reopened and is creating waves.
Sarika Kamble, Eighty Eight Hyatt Pune
Chef Sarika has 12 years of experience in a commercial kitchen and is one of the most well respected chefs at the hotel. She's been with the Hyatt family for 5 years now but has spent a lot of time in other prestigious hotel kitchens learning the tricks of the trade. Her skills in the kitchen lean towards European and Italian flavours but she's able to dish out anything Oriental and Indian as well. She's an extremely easy person to talk to and is the best person to ask for recommendations, making her a hit with guests. If you're at the restaurant, ask for her signature Grilled Iron Chicken Breast!
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Article by: Roxanne Bamboat
Roxanne is a pint-sized girl who enjoys reading, movies, travel and is obsessed with food. She expresses her love for all things edible in her food blog. A freelancer in her profession, she is able to spend most of her time sampling the city's food offerings and reviews them as well as shares a few of her favourite recipes. More often known as The Tiny Taster, she's decided to take the world by storm - one plate a a time !
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