The smells from the kitchen hit you as you entered the kitchen area of Open Kitchen Live, and they hit you with a more than a hint of what awaited, authentic, diverse cooking. Basil, cinnamon, coriander, chili, cloves, cumin, galangal, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, spearmint, star anise and turmeric were all present wafting through the air to greet the chefs and restaurateurs attending.
As we all sat down to watch and listen to the live chef demonstrations Anwar Miah from the Asian Restaurant Owners Network stepped forward to lead the day.
Miah is quietly spoken but from the word go had the audience mesmerised, his introduction touched on the history of Asian cuisine and the influences that have blended into it over many centuries.
Cultures and traditions highlighted included Syrian and Arabic, Persian and Zoroastrian, giving rise to Parsi food, now a very integral part of Indian cuisine. We were also introduced to Hindu refugees from Afghanistan, and European influencers including Portuguese and French traders. Each wave of immigration brought new culinary dimensions and with the passage of time many of these were absorbed into the rich mix of cuisine alive in India today. Miah revelled in the diversity and applied it to an authentic and current Indian menu in front of our eyes.
Miah’s first dish was vegetarian South Indian Curry with root vegetables, diced winter vegetables and tofu served in a pumpkin shell with coconut slices. The cooking was pure theatre and plating saw the chefs and restaurateurs in the audience eager to taste. The dish delivered complex flavours from a combination of spices including coriander, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, and cinnamon. It was warming and the coconut signed off the dish perfectly.
Chef Miah’s Boat Man’s Curry with Hake, Squid and Scallops followed and once again aromas aroused and teased across the room. From the video we are sure you will agree the dish looked fabulous, be assured it tasted even better. As we are sure chefs reading this will agree, Hake is a delicate fish, it needs the utmost care and attention when cooking, Chef Miah applied the utmost care and attention and the result was a privilege to taste.
A short talk on culinary science accompanied this dish as it was being cooked. Miah also emphasised the importance of ‘framing’ each dish and had selected RAK Porcelain to look after the day’s framing, it did the job perfectly.
The Asian Restaurant Owners Network members that attended and took part in the day are young restauranteurs and chefs who are knowledgeable and appreciative of their rich heritage. At the same time they are also very conscious that Asian cuisine in the 21st century presents both challenges and opportunities.
Many of the membership are second generation restauranteurs running restaurants opened by their parents. As already stated, they are fiercely proud of their roots and at the same time are facing 21st century industry pressures and competition.
Skilled chefs are in short supply so many are looking for ways to serve diners consistently great food and at the same time be less disrupted by the shortage of skilled chefs available. So, cooking methodology was examined and demonstrated in the search for consistency of quality from 21st century catering equipment.
The Rational equipment on the day showcased how complex dishes produced by chefs with a working knowledge of the equipment takes away much of the labour intensive and time consuming processes in cooking Asian cuisine. This reduces the reliance for restauranteurs on highly skilled and experienced chefs. Sure, you need them, but the Rational equipment can be programmed to produce dishes that always match the recipe chef has entered, Miah demonstrated this perfectly.
Training and developing young chefs takes on a whole new dimension when aided by today’s market leading equipment from Rational, the SelfCookingCenter and the VarioCookingCenter. Chef Miah assisted by two colleague chefs from the Asian Restaurant Owners Network and two more from Rational had the SelfCookingCenter and the VarioCookingCenter singing and dancing, so to speak.
Throughout the day the Rational SelfCookingCenter and the VarioCookingCenter showed all who attended and took part how they save restauranteurs and chefs, time and money, delivering levels of consistency that bring diners back.
The menu was extensive, full details can be seen here, and all menu items were added from requests of the restaurateurs and chefs attending. What they wanted to see are the dishes they serve their customers being prepared, cooked and delivered, and they did.
Some of the feedback can be seen in the video, the real litmus test is how busy the sales team at Equipline will be in the weeks and months ahead following up the day with site surveys for equipment installs.
Equipline would like to thank…
All members of the Asian Restaurant Owners Network that attended on the day for their time and feedback.
The whole team from the Asian Restaurant Owners Network for helping us create the day, especially Managing Director, Rehan Uddin and Chef Anwar Miah.
The team from Rational for all their help on the day with the equipment and cooking.
The video footage from Short Stop Video.
Susa Comms for the video interviews and Pavlova & Cream for the photography.
H&C News for organising and bringing the day together.
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