Travel + Leisure - India & South Asia




IN ADDITION TO being a product specialist in the food and beverage industry for almost 20 years, Tarun Sibal has also worked with top wine houses around the world and recently coined the concept of ‘collaborat­ive cuisine’, making him the rightful recipient of this title. ADILA MATRA talks to the all-rounder about his inspiratio­n, process, and signature dishes. Have you always loved cooking? What made you want to be a chef?

I always wanted to cook, and cook profession­ally. For me, it was the first step towards a bigger play within the food and beverage domain. I was exposed to culinary arts from a very young age as I belong to the third generation of the first catering family of Delhi. So, the ecosystem was ideal, but more than the settings, it was what I wanted to pursue.

You always say that your cooking process is very instinctiv­e. Tell us about a few dishes born out of this philosophy.

I had just opened Street Storyss in Bengaluru, and we had four desserts in the first menu. As we started getting a lot of repeat clientele, the options were exhausted in the first two months. Coffee Malai was conceived on the DelhiBenga­luru flight, and I went straight to the kitchen from the airport without even checking in. It was my take on the affair Bangalorea­ns have with coffee. The textures were that of a pannacota, crème caramel, and kurchan rabri; it was topped with biscotti and coffee toffee sauce.

Can you explain the concept of ‘collaborat­ive cuisine’?

‘Collaborat­ive cuisine’ was coined when I conceived Titlie, my culinary bar in Goa. It is when two or more ingredient­s, food techniques or inspiratio­ns, jam on a plate and the result is more than the sum of its ingredient­s. It’s abstract and all over the place, yet forms a pattern and tells a story. A classic example would be the butter garlic black pepper prawns with sambar puree and pol sambol. It’s a take on a Singaporea­n dish, with a hint of the Kerala sambar and Sri Lankan chutney.

What is your comfort cuisine?

Comfort food for me feels like joy and warmth. It brings a smile to the face. It could be dal chawal, or a lobster. It’s not the ingredient­s but the motive with which it’s cooked.

Which countries’ food philosophi­es inspire you and why?

I love grazing tables where everyone sits together and have a feast, so Italy is right up there. The streets inspire me a lot, so the entire Southeast Asian belt—from Canggu to Lau Pa Sat—inspires me. The respect Japanese have for food is surreal. And more than any other country, my own country has so much to offer and teach.

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 ?? ?? Spinach and Tofu Needle Bowl from Sibal’s Goa restaurant, Titlie.
Spinach and Tofu Needle Bowl from Sibal’s Goa restaurant, Titlie.

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