“Passion for great food is a pathway to a fulfilling life….”
Sarah Todd became a household name to fans of MasterChef Australia 2014. Ten years of travelling the world as a model gave Sarah a deep appreciation for new cultures. From the many places she has called home, Sarah amassed recipes and cooking practices that she’s distilled into a simple, easy-to-follow collection of timeless preparations suitable for the novice, as well as experienced, cook, mastering traditional French cooking methods that she has adapted to her more relaxed culinary style. With a solid belief in the value of fresh, quality ingredients, Sarah promotes a balanced approach to food that embraces a little bit of everything we love to eat.
The celebrity chef Sarah Todd was interviewed by Sagrika Sanjay from Food Marketing & Technology-India to understand her journey in a far away land……
Q How would you define your love for Indian food?
Indian cuisine is as diverse as its culture and states. The food is often packed with bold flavours that leave one wanting more; it has the uniqueness of creating a comforting and welcoming feeling for all.
Q Your show My Restaurant in India was a big hit. How would you define your journey from Australia to Antares in Goa?
My journey has been both chaotic and exciting. It has taken me a long time to understand the way things work in India. Being a foreigner who doesn’t know the local language and opening a restaurant for the first time in another country, has been challenging and highly rewarding. I feel I have now arrived at a point that I love and have embraced the Indian culture.
Q Deciding the hotel menu is a big challenge. What did you keep in mind while selecting your menu?
My main thoughts boiled down to being able to deliver flavour whilst staying true to my style. Through multiple experiences of Indian food, I made various adaptations to dishes that I love in order to deliver a menu on different levels.
Q Do you prefer fresh local ingredients or supermarkets stuff?
Obviously, local ingredients all the way! Local produce is always fresh and pays homage to the area which helps showcase the best local ingredients of the state.
Q You showcase the seafood and flavours from around India; what new variants you add to give it a unique twist?
At Antares this season we have created a new dish called the South Indian seafood chowder. We have used traditional methods but with replaced herbs with spices from the sub-continent such as mustard seeds, curry leaves and substituted cream with coconut milk which makes a very unique and popular dish at Antares.
Q As a chef, what is your vision when it comes to delivery of food to the customers?
I truly believe in quality produce prepared simply and respectfully to the ingredients served at an affordable price.
Q You are classically trained in French Cuisine. What are the new French Food trends to follow? How much of your restaurant is of French cuisine?
The biggest trend in food currently is simplicity. Gone are the days of super refined plating and dry ice. It’s all about quality local produce prepared simply with a great punch of complimenting flavour.
Q What difficulties restaurants face when it comes to the management and service?
Training, the element that takes the longest is adequate training and building a work culture with the staff. Also educating and training the staff about new dishes which are not traditionally served in an Indian restaurant.
Q How would you link the customer appeal to the presentation of the food? How important is this factor?
The first sense when dining is sight and this instantly connects to the other senses so plating and ceramics are the most important to entice the diner.
Q How restaurants fulfil the modern need of eating habit of the people? What changes do we see in India?
I feel that restaurants in India are going to possibly experience two changes, the first being a lot more accents from the local flavours as well as more specialised international cuisines rather than huge menus offering a little bit of everything from around the world.
Q What is your idea of comfort food?
Comfort food is a key globally but differs from country to country and palates. For a restaurant to deliver comfort food it has to be presented in a refined manner whilst staying true to its nature.
Q Any future ventures you are looking in India?
Yes, I’m currently working on my next project in Mumbai about to launch in the coming weeks.