|Chef Pramod Mahaseth, Dwarika's Resort|
Interview with Chef Pramod Mahaseth, Dwarika's Resort, Dhulikhel, Nepal
What do you do and how did you get into the industry?
I have been cooking since I was studying at standard three in school. I love my mother in every aspect, except for her food! So from a young age, I cooked for myself and celebrated every time I was in the kitchen. When I completed my school I shifted far away to my capital city for further study and my parents forced me to stay in a hostel so I could be more focused on my studies. But this hostel idea really bugged me because I wanted to stay in a rented room so I wouldn't be deprived of a kitchen and mostly my own cooked food because I had my own simple principle that was “FOOD should be the best every time,"however EXAMs kept coming every semester, so I guess my parents were right.
So cooking was just an obsession. I didn't know about chefs or the whole food industry, until one of my childhood friends (who was also my roommate) encouraged me to enrol in further study at culinary school. After a few attempts, I grabbed a partial scholarship in Singapore and that was the revolutionary move of my life. Finally I knew I was born to be a Chef!
Share with us an interesting story from behind the scenes.
When I was studying at five standard my one and only sister got married and my dad hired a caterer to cook for the guests. The catering chef started with the dessert (deep frying in clarified butter and dipping in sugar syrup) and I was longing to do the dipping in sugar syrup part (which was very easy stuff). I asked the chef plenty of times to allow me to do it, but every time he forbade me to do so. At last he allowed me to do so with a very small condition attached - that was to peel the boiled potatoes which were lying in the corner. I accepted instantly, and to impress him I peeled nearly150kg of potatoes and finally got the life time opportunity to dip the dessert in sugar syrup! That potato and dessert thing took nearly nine hours to finish, and between those nine hours I didn't even take a glimpse of my sister's wedding. Honestly until today, I have no regrets about missing the wedding because I recognized my passion and I still believe “that was my day."
What's the best part of your job?
First, I believe all the world's people are somehow running to eat delicious food every day (people work hard also to enjoy good food). But, in my case, food seems to be running behind me (ha ha ha) along with a handsome salary.
Second, I am from Nepal, which people say is a land-locked country, but I am working for my own country and my plates are full of fish, so for me this land-locked notion doesn’t exist.
Lastly I feel myself to be the luckiest on the planet because I know my entire life will be spent on eating world class hotel food for sure.
What's your personal favourite meal?
I am very fond of eating and love to enjoy and explore various cuisines. My comfort food however is from my own hometown, Maithili(South East part of Nepal), where I was raised eating food like Taruwa, tilauri, different kinds of chokas and many more. I always die to have our rich Newari cuisine - aahh so yum.
What's one of the funniest things you've seen behind the scenes?
Just few days ago I told one of my new boys to strain the chicken stock and bring it to me. He threw all the stock away, thinking that it was dirty water and proudly brought me all the remaining chicken bones - AAHH we almost died laughing.
The perfect day would be...
When I see all my food plates are coming empty from guests' tables to dishwashing area, which allows me to sleep that night like a baby.
A day in the life of a chef is...
... beautiful, exciting and definitely ruling the world.
What do you do for fun?
I like to be with my school friends. I pull pranks and just make fun of them by recalling our bygone days.
What's something you'd like guests to know about Dwarika’s Resort?
Dwarika’s is not only a slice of paradise on earth but also a heaven for chefs, who themselves pluck their own organic farm products every morning. There's no better dream or greater privilege. Dwarika’s Resort also is not just about pleasing business, it sets out to make a positive change on people's lifestyles.
What's your view on the Nepal’s food scene?
Recently the food business has been emerging so rapidly and it has become totally multi-cultural. Nepal is very rich in agriculture and culinary resources. In the past few years there have been huge numbers of increment in top quality food businesses. People seem more open to adopt new tastes, different cuisines from outside and enjoy at home style fare as well.
What's in store for you in the upcoming months?