Sous Chef Avijit Bhunia is the talented new culinary creative behind the much-loved menu at Karma Royal Haathi Mahal in Goa. We sat down with Avijit to find out what makes him tick – and how he came to fall in love with cooking and the unique culinary traditions not only of Goa but the whole of the Indian subcontinent and beyond – as his chosen recipe will attest!
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the small coastal town of Digha 180 km away from the culinary capital of India also known as Kolkata. It is also sometimes called the Brighton of the East! Warren Hastings and the British gave Digha the name – before this, it was a small fishing village, discovered by the British in the late 18th century.
How did you get into cooking?
My mother was a great home chef. Her cooking style and recipes inspired me a lot. I still can’t replicate my mother’s home style fish curry, though I’ve not given up trying! She nurtured me with a lot of love and plenty of delicious food. I was inspired to pass along her recipes and my love of cooking great food to others and that’s brought me to where I am today!
What/who have been your biggest influences?
What is your first food memory?
The Chinese cuisine of Kolkata is arguably the best on the planet. Especially the Chicken Chow Mein, which I think can give the Cantonese variant a run for its money! It all started in Digha.
What are your plans for Karma Royal Haathi Mahal foodwise?
With people looking increasingly at healthy food options, we are planning a weekly menu based on two types of diet – low carb and Keto. The best thing about Indian ingredients are the variety of spices easily available and which creates the unique flavour to the dishes. Our ingredients are highly aromatic and very tasty because of the combination of different spices, such as turmeric, cumin, pepper
Describe your approach to cooking in three words
Recipe, ingredients, presentation.
What dish do you always return to?
The world famous wraps known as Kolkata kathi rolls.
Why should we eat at Karma Royal Haathi Mahal?
Great food! We create unforgettable culinary experiences! Eating at Karma Royal Haathi Mahal not only gives you the opportunity to try something new, but you also know it has been prepared by passionate professionals who present it to you exactly as it is meant to be served using the very best ingredients and techniques.