Chef Chalise’s fantastic fusion

  • Chef Kumar Chalise takes us through a delicious non-menu meal.
- Gaurav Pote, Kathmandu

Jan 11, 2016-

For over two years now, M&S has sampled a multitude of delightful dishes from big and small commercial kitchens. Most often we’re limited to what’s on the menu and only on rare occasions do we get to truly appreciate these unique professionals, their passion for cooking and the ideals that drive them to actually do what they do every day.

We arranged a meeting with one of the first corporate chefs in Nepal, Chef Kumar Chalise for €a quick chat over a five-course scrumptious meal. 

About the chef

Chalise took up cooking as a vocation in 1995. He was a business graduate interested in food but with no formal culinary training. Today, he is the first corporate chef and consultant in Nepal. He’s authored Nepali and foreign papers, along with two culinary books: A Step of Culinary Arts and 1000 Recipes Guide. 

With his brief training from the prestigious Swiss School of Tourism and Hospitality, coupled with his experience, he has paved his way towards the position of a Senior Chef. 

Currently, he is engaged fulltime at GATE College as a Chef of Cuisine Arts, spearheading the kitchen and vocational department.

What We Had

Amuse-bouche — Salmon Capers

Chef: “Tasting menus usually involves five or more meals that are served separately and eaten slowly. They, however, aren’t so popular in Nepal. We hardly have time to frequently treat ourselves to such dining arrangements.” 

Served on artsy bent spoons, the chef keeps presentation stunningly opulent. An incredible mix of diced olives, gherkins, cooked salmon, fresh lettuce and pickled capers, are all neatly packaged into bite-size single serves. He manages to use different tastes, without merging any of them, to create a single dish.

Pumpkin Puree with 

oven toasted bread

Chef: “Nepali restaurants should start following à la minute cooking instead of precooking. This takes up some service time but the end result is fresher and toothsome.”

Seasoned with nothing but  salt, black pepper and nutmeg, and later spiked with lemon juice, this heart-warming and homely soup is simmered from the purée of seasonal veggies: cauliflower, beans, carrots and parsley. On the side, oven-toasted white bread with shredded yak cheese becomes a crunchy, juicy biscuit exuding a cheesy aroma. 

Ground Apple Salad

Chef: “Salads are prepped in two ways: simple and mixed. Simple salads have one ingredient with dressing, and mixed ones have at least four different ingredients: base, body, dressing and garnish.”

Every slice of the freshly picked apples from the kitchen garden at GATE College are as crunchy as they are juicy, lending the salad a sweet fruity texture. Using a base of fresh, crisp lettuce, the chef adds a splash of vinaigrette dressing for the acidity punch. The garnish is diced tomatoes and olives, mixed lentil sprouts.

Grilled Mutton

Chef: “Fusion food combines the best in culinary options, bridging the gap between many regional cuisines; it’s profitable for the restaurants too. Through fusion food, Nepali chefs can also experiment and promote Nepali culinary art internationally.”

With perfectly cylindrical, sautéed potatoes, carrots and thinly sliced cucumber, this fare has a massive chunk of secondary cut mutton grilled in a Nepali style to add a local essence to it. Nepali herbs lightly season the meat, which takes a lot of effort to slice but is surprisingly tender. There is also a demi-glace of brown stock of roasted bone— crushed, boiled, seasoned — added to brown sauce, boiled again and reduced to half.

Chocolate Cream Puff

Chef: “Western commercial kitchens have sophisticated machines that do amazing things with food but in our part of the world, we avoid new technology and expect manual labour instead.”

An elegant way to go about eating this fancy dessert is to break it into smaller portions with a dessertspoon. But the best way, however, is to toss the spoon aside, quickly pop the two cherries into your mouth, smear a little cherry syrup around the chocolate-stuffed puffs and eat them whole. The puffs are warm and tender, and coated with chocolate and topped with a slab of white chocolate and a helix of caramelised sugar.

 

Published: 11-01-2016 17:36

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