Kimberly Rozario is the Junior Sous Chef of the Bakery and Pastry at Taj Bangalore. In conversation with Explocity, she talks of the perks of being a woman in the kitchen which has been deemed to be a man’s place. According to her, there are no drawbacks.
Do you believe you are in a man’s world?
I joined a man’s world that is slowly changing into a world for everybody. Now there is a lot more openness and opportunity. It’s because there are lot more catering institutes and parents also now feel hotels are safe industry for their kids. Parents don’t just want their kids to be doctors and lawyers. Cooking shows have also contributed to this change.
Is being a woman chef any different on the job?
The number of men will outnumber the women in any field. But it’s fairly an open environment for women to make their mark as well. It’s more what they think- do you want to make your mark as a woman or make your mark as a chef. It’s your job and your decision.
What led you to becoming a chef? Why pastry?
I’ve grown up loving food. Cooking it and eating. My parents knew this as well so there was no question and they enrolled me into culinary school right after school. I’m from Aurangabad and IHM Aurangabad has one of the best schools for culinary.
My mom played a huge role. She didn’t stop me even as a kid. If anything she encouraged me by first giving me small tasks in the kitchen till I was 10. Then I pretty much handled the whole kitchen and made full meals and hardly let her cook.
I do love the hot kitchen, the intensity there. Pastry needs precision. Right from the beginning. You can’t fix the dish in the later stages. So now that skill can help you in hot kitchen too. The breads and baked items take long to make so it requires patience and you wait to see the product and your precision paying off. Pastry is more a work of art than hot food. Croissants for instance take so long to make and to make it right. But it is so easy to eat. I like the joy of getting it right.
Do you believe there ought to be more female chefs?
There is definitely scope. Right now I have just another lady I work with. I’m hoping for more. Schools and colleges should encourage girls to join the industry.
Why / why not?
I believe there should be a balance. The equation of men and women should come together. Women bring the emotional touch whereas men are more thorough. So the women become the approachable ones because they don’t judge you or think you are weak. Women chefs learn to be thorough from the male chefs. Women end up being the more empathetic ones, not just as a chef but in other departments in the hotel too.
What is your favourite dish to make?
There are so many. I love making chocolates, Bonbons and croissants.
What are you first? Chef or creator?
Always a creator first. Not just in cooking but everything that I do.
What do you like cooking the most?
At home? A comforting chicken pulao.
What do you like eating the most?
All time favourite is my mom’s Roast Beef.