Even the best culinary training and the choicest of ingredients cannot beat the inspiration a chef can draw from experiences. Kris Parikh knows this too well as he has been building restaurants from the ground up for over a decade now.
When Kris decided to start a new concept, he picked the best and the brightest from his restaurant kitchen and moved him out of his comfort zone to spark the kind of creativity and innovation that has produced some of the finest chefs around the world.
He took Chef Lok on an 8,500-mile-long journey on a bespoke food tour to discover the ins and outs of authentic Indian food and culture in two of the biggest foodie cities, Mumbai and Hyderabad.
On their quest to discover authentic Indian food so they could create a restaurant menu for a brand new Indian restaurant in Las Vegas, Kris and Lok took time out of a brimming calendar to go on an inspiring food journey thousands of miles away. Their goal was to earn the “Certified Indian” stamp for the newest restaurant to hit the Las Vegas strip.
Kris believes authentic food is food in which the preparation and outcome represent how it would be expected in its country (or region) of origin.
On October 2, Kris and Lok landed in Mumbai, India’s financial capital and a melting pot of cultures. A smorgasbord of diverse food, Mumbai is a foodie’s delight. The food in Mumbai represents the many migrants who have moved to the city with dreamy eyes and have brought their food and culture with them.
Their first stop was the Borivali Biryani Center (BBC), which is located in a coastal suburb of Mumbai and is located at its north-western end. Pradeep Udeshi, the pioneer of Borivali Biryani Center, started the restaurant in 2002, with his son Hardik. 17 years later, the restaurant, which is now franchised, has become an institution for authentic dum biryani, with a cult following of its own.
Chef Lok got behind the stove with veterans who have been churning out biryanis for more than a decade and a half. Lok is an experienced chef originally from Nepal. He started his career with Mint Indian Bistro in 2008. He already makes delicious dum biryani. But this trip has allowed him to breathe a culture different from his own. He has been able to take on the training-of-a-lifetime in an establishment that is ubiquitous with dum biryani.
During his training, he watched. He took notes. He took cues. But above all, he took in the culture. He learned the traditional way to create a dish with a delicious result. Biryani is served the traditional way with spiced yogurt or raita and Mirchi Ka Salan as accompaniments. But the Biryani we make is so good; it stands just as well on its own. Authentic to the bone. That to us is ‘Certified Indian food.’ Stamped. Sealed and soon to be served in Las Vegas!