This Eid, Chef Altaf Hussain has become a better person
Chef Altaf Hussain believes that he is trying to be a better person by fasting and observing Ramazan. The Master Chef at Hotel Royal Orchid, Chef Altaf Hussain brings his traditional Lucknowi flavours to Tiger Trail. In conversation with Explocity, Chef Altaf Hussain talks of working with his mentor from the early age of 12 and how it defined him to make his career choices.
What does Eid mean to you?
Eid is the biggest festival for us. We have a wonderful time with my family, while becoming closer to god. It gives me a better appreciation for what I have. After one month fasting, I try to be a better person in all aspects, be it health, spiritual or mannerisms.
How do you celebrate Eid at home?
We keep 30 days Roza (fast). Fasting during Ramadan is the main pillar of Islam. During this month, we fast during the daylight and break after sunset prayer, a large feast known as “Iftar” is shared amongst all members of family and friends. We celebrate Eid by giving hugs to family and friends, also we give Sawaiyan to everyone.
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Lucknow and lived there till I turned 16 years and after that I moved to Delhi and Uttarakhand to master my skills in culinary art.
What led you to becoming a chef?
I started my career with an apprenticeship at the age of 12 with Ustad Azeez Handi in Lucknow. I then moved to Delhi for about two years. While in Delhi, the owner of Grand Solti Plaza tasted my food and immediately offered me a job in Kathmandu at the Grand Solti Plaza, where I worked for close to eight years.
How long have you been a chef?
It’s my 26th year going on now.
What do you enjoy more? Cooking or creating?
Cooking is creating and I love to do what I am passionate about in my life. For me the ultimate happiness is, someone enjoying the food I cooked.
Do you feel there is virtue in preserving the authenticity of cuisine?
Definitely yes. Because culinary art is something that can be experimented with in any way and I believe today’s trend is being more out of the box than common. But still my beliefs hold on to authenticity, and probably that’s the only reason when guests try my food they appreciate me for the authenticity of cuisine.
What dish do you like eating the most?
I love my Indian cuisine but my favourite would be Kebabs.
What’s your least favourite dish?
Any dish with mushroom. Not a fan.
How long have you lived in Bangalore?
Seven years now.
Do you like it here?
Yes, I like it. Mainly because in Hotel Royal Orchid, Tiger Trail we believe in authentic Awadhi cuisines only.