Ace Chef Naren Thimmaiah, Executive Chef, The Gateway Hotel, Bangalore, Indian Hotels Company Limited who is at the helm of the award-winning iconic Karavalli restaurant, has won many hearts and palates, not only in Bangalore, but beyond. Every visitor who comes to Bangalore wants to visit Karavalli atleast once and try their coastal delicacies. We find out what makes the talented and charming chef, the most-talked about chef for so many decades.
- Recall your first tryst with cooking? How did you work on your culinary skills?
My tryst with cooking began in Coorg where I used to help mom in picking curry leaves or plucking green chillies from the plant in the backyard. Mom is known for cooking delicious food and I guess eating it all along, I was able to distinguish between good food and dishes which lacked the taste and texture. This helped me later when I took up Hotel Management and this came in handy during practicals. But the real grind was during the formative years at Taj where giving 200% was the norm!
- Where did you take your formal culinary education?
After completing my Graduation in Commerce, I took up the culinary education at Srinivas Hotel School under Mangalore University. This was the formal part, the real learning was across the South West Coast, at houses of various cuisine experts!
- How have you been so consistent in your recipes over the years, yet how do you innovate everytime, staying ahead of the game?
Sticking to the basics and ensuring sourcing of the right ingredients from the regions at any cost are the keys to replication of the traditional recipes to the hilt. Talking about Karavalli – We do not innovate; we just replicate dishes and at regular intervals introduce some more classics from the region which was not showcased earlier. But at Mynt, our All Day Diner, constant permutations and combinations work suiting the present day trends!
- What are some of the Karavalli specials that people have loved over the years?
Tiger Prawns Roast – Prawns tossed in Kerala spice mix, Coconut slivers and lemon juice.
Crab Milagu Fry – Pan roasted Mud crabs in spicy pepper masala.
Meen Eleittad – Black Pomfret marinated in Malabar Masala, wrapped in Banana leaf and shallow fried.
Koli Barthad – Chicken pan fried in a blend of roasted spices and Coorg Vinegar.
Allapuzha Meen Curry – Seer fish simmered in moderately spiced gravy with raw mangoes.
Vegetable Stew – Seasonal vegetables gently simmered in creamy coconut milk.
Ullithiel – Stewed button onions in a tangy gravy with freshly roasted and ground spices.
Ada Pradhaman – Rice flakes cooked in coconut milk and jaggery.
- What do you do to ensure that you continue to get your loyalists love your specials over the years – again and again?
We follow the five-point charter:
- Maintain Karavalli’s old world charm, classical and warm during the day, robust and royal during night.
- We will be sticklers to set standards in procurement.
- Consistency is the hall mark of Karavalli. We will live it.
- Every meal shall be experiential which shall be a delight to all the five senses- sight, touch, taste, sound, smell.
- Come home to Karavalli!