Four chefs share the stories of how the pre-service meal often is their play ground for culinary ingenuity, a showcase of their philosophy – and most important team bonding!
Of the many royal tales known to scion Chef Mujbeer Rehman, the one he loves reiterating to his guests often is how the khansamas or Bakwal (senior cook) back in time would find their protégés to take over: With a staff meal.
"While there were separated chefs designated to cook for the staff and the soldiers (since the kitchen staff was counted as part of the foot soldiers), there were times when a Bakwal would cook a special dish and ask his staff to gather around the caldron for a quick taste. Each of them would have a bowl and the Bakwal would ladle a spoonful.
"It was the one occasion where the hierarchily-strict kitchen would loosen up with each staff getting his say without the fear of being lashed or fired. It was these meals that often became not only a way to bond, but also the canvas that helped the khansama to work on his newer dishes with important feedback," adds the chef who saw his grandfather use a similar tactics to find chefs worth of their ladle in the kitchen.
Interestingly, not much has changed since then as staff meal continue to be the canvas for chefs to bond, encourage their staff to do well, and in that process create new dishes. Here, some of the best chefs talk about why staff meal is the most important service they cook for regularly.
By: Madhulika Dash