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In Conversation with Chef Akshay Nayyar

Chef Akshay Nayyar,
Kopper Kadai

Kopper Kadai, by Chef Akshay Nayyar is a modern rendition on the heritage cuisine of India. Chef is a household name in the Middle East as the host of Middle East’s biggest reality TV food show “Foodshala”. The menu at Kopper Kadhai has great dishes with innovative presentation styles. Explocity catches up with chef.

You have worked under some great chefs like Marco Pierre White. Tell us about the experience?
Working under such chefs has been a phenomenal learning. It not only developed me as a better chef but also as a more polished professional. Culinary dynamics and constant readjustment are two things which I feel one can learn after working under such trend setting chefs. Standardisation of product and importance of training is something which I feel is the backbone of such restaurants and I constantly strive hard to walk these talks.

What inspired the menu at Kopper Kadhai?
Eating Indian food for youth has gone out of fashion over the past few years. People are moving towards other cuisines. This fashion became a matter of pride and that is the time when Kopper Kadai was born.

At KK, every dish has a story to it. Food is extremely authentic with recipes dating back to even 1930s, at the same time playful presentation was primordial for us. Indian food traditionally was more of home cuisine which then got loaded with lots of oil and fats. At KK food is comfort food.

We researched many recipes: from my great great grandmother's kitchen and my inspirations from Indian culture. We have created many recipes which do not even exist in this world. Kiari Kebab No. 4, Ganna chicken, Mastava, Murg Seera, Challi Kolmi Pasht are few to name.

What's your fav dish on the menu?
My favourite is Mastava "Slow cooked pounded lamb and almond curry". I just love the texture of lamb in this recipe and tastes best with our pankhuri roti. Lamb is pot sealed and cooked with almonds, lamb stock, whole spices and chilies for 18- 20 hours and then flavoured with saffron and mint.

What other restaurants or chefs in bangalore do you look up to?
Bangalore is a hub for foodies and restaurants. As a chef I never look up to a restaurant or a chef but the only thing that interests me is what food they serve. The quality of ingredients all the way to its presentation. For me even a street kiosk having a que of more than 30 people only by just selling a tasty wrap is an inspiration. What I grasp from famous and renowned chefs is their attitude, discipline and work culture.

One must set their own standards, create and develop their own signatures.
Kopper Kadai, JNC Road, Koramangala, Bangalore