Drawing on the diversity of India’s regional cuisines, Dalchini Restaurant at Centara West Bay Hotel & Residences Doha serves a selection of progressive Indian dishes in a modern atmosphere. FACT catches up with the hotels Executive Chef, Binit Pandey to talk about all things food.

Why did you decide to become a chef?
My mother was a fantastic cook, I understood the power of food when I was just a kid, just observing my family and friends coming home to relish food made by Mom. Food was the center point. It inspired me to study hotel management and very organically I got inclined towards the kitchen because of my food experience as a kid which I always wanted to replicate for people around me.

Tell us a little bit about Dalchini and why you love to cook Indian cuisine?
At Dalchini we take inspiration from India’s exotic culinary history and the explosion of ideas that emerged from the exchange of spices, philosophies and cultures. At Dalchini I can execute my take on modern Indian food it’s a combination of the recipes and cooking techniques from my upbringing, with twists I’ve picked up along the way of my culinary journey. I also adapt traditional Indian recipes to incorporate seasonal ingredients.

How do you source the ingredients for the restaurant? Do you focus on locally sourced or sustainable produce?
We are sourcing the good quality ingredients available locally be it vegetables or seafood. However, most of the ingredients comes from outside Qatar from the approved supplier which I work very closely with, to maintain the quality.

What was it about the cuisine at Dalchini that resonates so much with diners in Doha?
It’s our global take on Indian cuisine and diversity of our menu where we have options for different palate.

What is your favourite cuisine to cook?
Indian Food, however, I love to cook Thai food too.

What do you do to stay current on new trends?
Chef’s blogs, cooking and food websites, social media and dining out in the new restaurants helps me to keep updated with the current food trends.

How do you feel about creating dishes purely for Instagram?
Instagram is a major marketing tool and there is no harm in creating the dish which looks visually stunning and it also gives opportunity to a chef to create something out of the menu.

What’s the greatest honor or compliment you’ve received as a chef?
I was invited as a guest chef to cook and showcase Indian food in a 2 Micheline star restaurant called Le noir in Saarbrucken, Germany.

What matters more – taste or presentation?
For me taste is the foundation of any dish and it matters the most.

“At Dalchini we take inspiration from India’s exotic culinary history and the explosion of ideas that emerged from the exchange of spices, philosophies and cultures.”

Do you have any quick advice for young budding chefs?
Believe in hard work and be your best and worst critic. Get good experience; pick the kitchen where you can learn and enhance skills. Don’t get comfortable in one kitchen; this will limit your work style. Put in the time that’s needed to learn the trade.

Describe your culinary philosophy.
For me cooking is all about imbibing different cultures and putting them on the plate. Some dishes can be visually stunning, and some will be remembered for the simplistic brilliance.

If you could dine at any restaurant in the world, where would you go?
Sukiyabashi Jiro, Tokyo, Japan.

What’s the inspiration behind the menu at Centara?
The menu revolves around the ideology of Heritage, Health and Happiness.

How often do you eat out and what’s your favourite. restaurant in Doha?
I eat out at least two to three times a week and Nobu at Four Seasons is my favourite.

What can diners expect to taste and enjoy when dining at Centara – what are some of the signature dishes that you serve?
Diners can experience true taste of Indian food with a fine balance of authenticity and creativity. Our must try dishes from the menu are, Dalchini pepper chicken, Spiced lamb chops, Malabar seabass and Kale chaat.

Any offer at the moment?
Offers: –
Discounted prices on selected beverage and Indian tapas
Dalchini Social Brunch- starting from 28th August 2020

Who do you admire most in the culinary world, and why?
There are 3 chefs whom I admire a lot Heston Blumenthal, René Redzepi and Gaggan Anand I have learned a lot from following what these chefs are doing and taking inspiration from their work. ✤