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Meet Chef Zafar, Executive Chef at Leela Palace

He talks of his interest of food, influence of which he got from his family that has been in the the business. Aside from his passion for food, he is a coin collector and photographer. Read more as Chef Zafar talks of his likes and dislikes.

Where did you grow up?
I was born in Sholapur in Maharashtra and then moved to Chennai for schooling. And post that I have kept moving to different locations for education and work.

What led you to becoming a chef?
My parents wanted me to be a doctor, but soon realized it was not for me. I looked out for something which I would enjoy doing. As I hail from a family which has been into restaurant business for a long time now, I decided to become a chef. Honestly which better profession than a profession which pays you to eat and taste.

How long have you been a chef?
It’s been 17 years now.

What do you enjoy more? Cooking or creating?
Well both go hand in hand but if I were to select one I would go for cooking for sure. Honestly speaking cooking is what I have done most of my life and it’s been an activity which is associated with happiness.

Do you feel there is virtue in preserving the authenticity of cuisine?
Absolutely. Preserving authenticity of a cuisine is very important. As we all know every dish has a history and a culture behind it. And when we go deep into finding out why a particular dish was made in a specific way, you would discover that it was done for various reasons what include, seasons, availability, and geographical location, occupation of people around etc. Hence it’s very important we pass this on from one generation to another.

What dishes do you like eating the most?
Well it depends on many factors around. Would like to grab a burger or pizza when out with friends and family. Tandoori kebab on a cold evening, sandwiches or a salad for lunch when at work, a fine dining tasting menu to celebrate an occasion, street food and junk on my off day…the list goes on.

What’s your least favourite dish?
For some reasons I stay ways from Rajma and curd rice.

How long have you lived in Bangalore?
It’s been 3 year now.

Do you like it here?
If I would not like it, I would not be here.