He is Keen on Serving Authentic Food, But Loves Experimenting

Destination-Kerala-Chef

Varkala: Chef Alexander is a man who believes in finesse. Be it feeding 10,000-odd soldiers with protein-rich steaks or making an exotic dessert for a celebrity guest, he makes sure that all the specifications are met. Currently working as the executive chef of The Gateway Hotel, Varkala, his signature cuisine bears the mark of ingenuity and excellence. “I have worked at an array of places that demanded great degrees of discipline,” says the chef.

While working in the Middle East, he served as the Executive Chef of Dhahran International Hotel, a hotel that catered to the US soldiers during Gulf War. He talks about working in a war zone as a memorable experience, where he was expected to cook for over 10,000 army men. “Roasted chicken and beef steak were the staples since we were catering to big, burly men. It wasn’t easy serving for such large numbers, but the soldiers helped out. But even while we were working like an emergency unit in a war-torn country, we were keen on serving authentic and high-quality stuff,” says the chef who has also worked on flight kitchens.

Alexander, who has been working abroad for a long time, has come up with a mint-fresh menu for his stint at Taj. He calls it east-meets-west recipes where every item is prepared and presented with a local twist. “Here 60 per cent of guests are Europeans, so the food we prepare is predominately western. But I have tried to blend in local culinary elements, so that the final output is both authentic and innovative,” he says.

He makes you taste some of his roasted pumpkin soup, a rich, soothing concoction with a smooth texture. “It’s a classical English soup, but here I have used coconut milk instead of dairy cream,” he says. So there are dishes where he has replaced sea bass with a local dish and used Indian wine for a typical rack of lamb. Another surprise is risottos made using bamboo rice, a very appealing tweak to the Italian dish in fact. “It’s all about blending in a new flavour without ruining the authenticity of the dish. So far, all our patrons are quite happy about the freshness quotient they find in their favourite dish,” he adds.