Executive Chef Dinesh Dadlani

The Gateway Hinjawadi, Pune

I started my career with the Taj group as a management trainee working at Taj Palace and Taj Mahal, New Delhi and Taj Landsend in Mumbai. Later to join Taj Palace at the legendary Tea House of the August Moon, I was a part of the opening team with Blue Ginger and Blue Bar. After this I was assigned a role at the Vivanta by Taj - Whitefield where we introduced the pro-biotic breakfast concept and the Chronicles of Whitefield after recovering a 100 year old cookbook from the British era. Post which I was entrusted with an opportunity at Vivanta by Taj - Yeshwantpur, specializing in high-end banqueting and overlooking popular restaurants such as Azure and Paranda. Now I’m working with The Gateway Hotel – Hinjawadi and taking care of the kitchen brigade.
 
Varadi Cuisine
Maharashtrian meals are scientifically planned and cooked - the golden rule being that the cooking medium must not be seen. The vegetables are more or less steamed and lightly seasoned so as to retain their nutritional value. There is almost no deep frying and roasting. Coconut is used in cooking and as an embellishment, Jaggery and tamarind are used in most vegetables or lentils so that the food has a sweet and sour flavour while the 'Kala Masala' (special blend of spices) is added to make the food piquant. As opposed to the coastal cuisine, where fresh coconut is added to the dishes, in the Vidarbha (Amravati & Nagpur) region powdered coconut is used for cooking. Distinguishing features of the Varadi cuisine are the dishes made of 'Besan' (gram flour) like 'Zunka', 'Vada bhat' and the ‘Patodi rassa’. Non-vegetarian food is also very popular in this region. As seafood is not easily available over here, chicken and mutton are commonly cooked.
 
The people of Maharashtra are known for aesthetic presentation of food. Meals are served in the form of 'Thalis'. To avoid mixing of flavours, each guest is given a bowl of saffron scented water to dip fingers in before starting to eat the next delicacy. In Maharashtra, even an everyday meal consists of several accompaniments that are set out in a particular manner in the 'Taat' (platter). The "Taat Vadhany" (method of setting food on the platter) is an art. It starts with a bit of salt at the top centre of the Taat. On its left is set a small piece of lemon. Then follows the 'Chatni' (spicy accompaniment made of ground coconut and green chillies), 'Koshimbir' (moong bean salad) and 'Bharit' (lightly cooked or raw vegetable in Yoghurt) in that order. The vegetable with gravy never precedes the dry vegetable because the gravy will run into it. With the service of rice, a little 'Toop' (clarified butter) and 'Varan' (lentil) is poured on it and then the meal begins. A Marathi meal is not complete without 'Bhakri' (Jawar or Bajra Roti). As in south India, in Maharashtra too every meal is winded up with curd rice or buttermilk.
 
Maharashtra also has its share of awesome desserts like 'Kheer', 'Shrikhand' and 'Basundi', and with the advent of the festive season one can find a plethora of goodies in every Maharashtrian home. The most popular dessert of Maharashtra is the "Puran Poli", which is a 'Roti' stuffed with a sweet mixture of jaggery and gram flour and is made at the time of the Maharashtrian New Year.
At BUZZ, we serve Varadhi cuisine with popular dishes like "Komdbi varadhi" (chicken curry cooked in a homemade masala with peanut, poppy seeds and whole spices), "Bharli Vangi" (Stuffed Brinjal with a tangy coconut and peanut gravy), "Matkichi usal" (dew beans tempered with mustard, curry leaves and coconut), "Dal aamti" (sweet and sour lentil tempered with mustard seeds, coconut, onion and tomato).


Q & AAAAA with Executive Chef Dinesh Dadlani


1. The main influences and early memories that made me interested in food and cooking as a career...
As a kid, watching my grandfather with his Chinese chopper in the kitchen making meat dumplings to go along with rice porridge (Asian conjee), something he learnt from his days in Cambodia where he lived for over 25 years. That’s where my love for delicious food and culinary journey began.
 
2. My favourite dish from childhood…
Being raised as a kid in Hyderabad, Haleem was an annual delicacy.We would try Haleem made at food stalls at various places with a hope to have the tastiest Haleem made that season.
 
3. My favourite dish to cook…
Can’t choose a particular dish, but I love cooking anything that is Oriental / Chinese
 
4. A cuisine that I want to learn …
South American, Japanese
 
5. My secret to great food…
In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang describe how opposite forces blend to depend on one another. Similarly balancing the flavours in food is critical to each other as they interrelate to one another.

6. A culinary show or movie that I love to watch…
Ratatouille is a fun movie; Jiro Dreams of Sushi is quite an inspiration to watch
 
7. In my free time, I would like to....
I love travelling and exploring new places, understanding the various cuisines
 
8. The kind of adaptations I have had to make while combining two cuisines/palates / guest taste – for e.g.  Indian and Intercontinental…
It was quite difficult initially when we opened Blue Ginger in New Delhi as in the Vietnamese season the food with nouc mam (Vietnamese fermented fish sauce) is more pungent than nahm pla (Thai fermented fish sauce). To develop the food devoid of nouc mam was quite challenging as the food could lose its authenticity.

9. My guilty pleasure…
It has to be dark chocolate
 
10. I will describe my restaurant/hotel to a first time customer...
The Gateway Hotel – Hinjawadi, Pune is one of the new hotels of the Taj group which has quickly emerged as a market leader to being the best hotel in Hinjawadi. BUZZ the all day diner lives upto it’s name. It is a great place to wind up in the comfort zone enjoying the luxury of intentional cuisine.
 
11. My recommendations at the restaurants in The Gateway Hotel - Hinjawadi…
You must try regional selection with Varadhi cuisine. We also have the Varadhi thalis served on the weekends. The thin crust whole wheat pizzas and the tandoori kebabs are a must have.