RICHA JOHRI, 37 Cor­po­rate Chef, The Whistling Duck, Chandi­garh and Delhi

India Today - - COVER STORY - Pierre White.

Pas­sion for food is in her blood claims Richa Johri, who in­her­ited culi­nary skills from her grand­mother and mother. “They could make magic with the most sim­ple in­gre­di­ents such as drum­stick flower, pump­kin leaves or squash roots leaves and blos­soms. My mother started a cater­ing in­sti­tute for women in the 1980s,” says Johri. It was the pres­sure to keep up the legacy that pushed her to­wards the pro­fes­sion. An In­sti­tute of Ho­tel Man­age­ment (IHM) Au­rangabad grad­u­ate, where Johri spe­cialised and topped in In­dian cui­sine, she started as a man­age­ment trainee with the Taj Ho­tels. She has ever since worked and trained un­der renowned chefs in In­dia, Hong Kong and Mau­ri­tius.

New Be­gin­nings When she started con­cep­tu­al­is­ing her Euro­pean-styled restau­rant Whistling Duck four years ago, she spent end­less days and nights ex­plor­ing lo­cal cui­sine. “We re­alised that the chicken lov­ing cap­i­tal of North In­dia was miss­ing on a lot of dif­fer­ent flavours from across the globe. Whistling Duck has never done the typ­i­cal cliché dishes and has in­tro­duced dishes from In­done­sia, Mo­rocco, Viet­nam, Colom­bia and Brazil to the city,” says the chef who wants to be the first In­dian woman chef to get a Miche­lin star.

What Next “One day I would love to cook for the sol­diers at Si­achen Glacier since they never get the lux­ury of din­ing like us—sit­ting in a cafe in a nor­mal en­vi­ron­ment,” she says.

The Dish in My Plate Liver Pate. I al­ways judge a chef by this dish.

My Kitchen Idol Chef Marco

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