“If a big city like New York couldn’t hold me, I highly doubt Hyderabad can.” People always told me that if I were to ever come to Hyderabad, I wouldn’t leave the city. I didn’t believe them, but now I do.
I was born in Delhi. Since my father was in the government services, we used to move around a lot. And finally, we all came to Hyderabad to settle down. But I didn’t stop there. I did my hotel management degree from Delhi and I was almost instantly selected for the biggest chain of hotels in India. I had to move to Mumbai in 1978 to work with them and continued it for 5 years after. I then got inspired to learn about continental cuisine. I practised under a well-known celebrity chef. He taught me everything there is to know about the continental cuisine.
After working with multiple other restaurants in New York, Calcutta, Jamshedpur, and other big places and becoming Vice President to numerous restaurants, from an executive chef to owning a restaurant now, I’ve come a long way. I moved to Hyderabad for good in 2009. My family lived here, so I couldn’t have been happier to be back.
Hyderabadi cuisine took a special place in my heart when Nawab Sahab, who I fondly call ‘baba’ today, introduced me to the real taste of Hyderabadi food. We became good friends ever since. We even went to villages and cooked for the entire village and had fun partying with them. A lot of classic dishes such as Khatti Dal, Tallawa Ghost, Bagara Chawal, and Dalcha are becoming a rarity. We need to bring them back. It’s time. When I imagine Hyderabadi cuisine, I imagine a big banquet hall, with a big buffet from Kebabs to Biryanis to Salans. I feel a lot of authentic Hyderabadi food is losing its quality, because it requires a lot of effort and is time-consuming in preparation.
Hyderabadi food is the Food of the nizams. And it speaks with ‘Pyaar’. Pyaar se khilana, zabardasti se bhi khilana, lekin khilana zaroor. Ye chakho, ye bhi chakho. It speaks about their passion towards cooking and their love for food.
It’s beautiful, mesmerising.
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