Chef Sasha Fernandes Tells Explocity Her Easter Plans. She is the Sous Chef at Ottimo in ITC Gardenia. In our conversation, Chef mentions that the genius of a true chef is to strike a delicate and often elusive equilibrium between the fondly familiar and the element of surprise.
How do you celebrate Easter at home?
Easter at home always starts with attending the Easter midnight mass, after which friends and family meet outside the church for coffee and cake and share the joy of Easter. The next day is spent indulging in a feast that more than makes up for the 40 days of lent when we were abstaining from meat. I look forward to my mother's delicious renditions of the Goan Sorpatel, Chicken Xacuti and shellfish pulao amongst others. Bibinca and Dodol are the favourites amongst the desserts, after which all the children would look for the homemade Easter eggs my mother hid around the house. In the evening it is time to watch the traditional "tiatr" which is a live play performance followed by meeting neighbours and friends.
What’s your favourite Easter dish?
My mother's home made Easter eggs were the highlight of Easter in my childhood and even today they are the most eagerly anticipated Easter gift from my mother. They remind me of all those times when the smell of rose water and cashew nuts would fill the air and my mother would allow me to pick my favourite coloured egg which she then covered in a delicate floral lace of royal icing.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a secluded little hamlet in Goa, where the smell of warm bread and the smoky aroma of wood fires was always in the air and the sounds and scents of the sea were never far away.
What led you to becoming a chef?
I come from a background that flaunts its cuisine routed in culture and food as a hedonistic expression of the joie de vivre that is the true Goan spirit. The idea of bringing happiness to your plate and creating memories through dining experiences is alluring and has always inspired me.
How long have you been a chef?
It has been five years since I joined this industry but many more since I heeded the call of this spellbinding craft... I have always been a cook.
What do you enjoy more? Cooking or creating?
I think cooking is always an expression of creation. It embodies conjuring a work of art by engaging all your senses and a willingness to step into the realm of instinct. I believe that every hand, whether it follows the set steps of a recipe or the caprices of an inventive mind, lend a tinge of their soul to their food-when cooking as a labour of love- creating art in its most tangible form.
Do you think there is any virtue in preserving the authenticity of a cuisine?
I believe that cuisine is one of the most intricate visages of a culture- a palpable map that shows the myriad forms of who we are and where we have come from- the true gems become an expression of childhood memories and a legacy of recipes, however the genius of a true chef is to strike a delicate and often elusive equilibrium between the fondly familiar and the element of surprise.
What dish do you like eating the most?
I have always been a great fan of the seasonal bounty nature offers us and this season it is the mango that has captivated my whimsy.
What’s your least favourite dish?
Food should nourish the soul as well as the body and be a personification of the true balance of the senses. Fast food corporations don't always live up to this ideal.
How long have you lived in Bangalore?
I have lived in Bangalore for the last four years.
Do you like it here?
Bangalore is a city where culinary adventure awaits you amongst a background of green and in the shade of trees it will always hold a special place in my heart