Some chefs knew they were destined to be chefs the moment they start cooking. Some stumble upon it by chance. And, some knew it the moment they held a spatula, be it while mom is cooking or granny is cooking. Balcony Stories got an opportunity to interview the young Chef Anthony Tamang from Gawky Goose. His food at Gawky Goose is overly acclaimed. Be it the Pull apart garlic bread or the Mangalorean fish fry, he doesn’t settle for less.
Below are the excerpts…
Was food a big part of your childhood? How did your interest in cooking begin?
My grandmother used to cook for us and I always enjoyed eating what she used to prepare. Not only did it taste good, but she always looked so happy doing it. When I helped her, I also enjoyed it, because I like to cook.
Have you toured India or any other places for food exploration?
Oh yes, I have. I really like traveling and during my travels in South India, the local dishes and ingredients that I explored, learned about are unmatchable.
How does fusion food inspire you?
I find it exciting to mix two or more cultures. Occasionally, the flavors mix, and sometimes they do not, but you gain a deeper understanding of the different cuisines.
How would you describe the food scene in Bangalore?
There has always been a culture of experimentation in Bangalore, where people like to try out new things. Among the evolution, there are some iconic restaurants that can never be forgotten. Its ethnicity is preserved even while street food is served in fancy restaurants. Over the last few years, the Bangalore market has opened up to different cuisines and is eager to experiment with more.
What is your process for selecting a new recipe or dish at Gawky Goose?
Trying out various recipes in my kitchen is something I enjoy doing. I am always researching and experimenting. Keeping in mind the type of clientele, how much time will be required to prepare, and, most importantly, what will make the dish stand out, are the factors I consider. Our competition is becoming more aggressive every day, so it’s not just important to attract new customers, but also keep the old ones.
The food world has a lot of rightful arguments about cultural appropriation and cooking food from cultures other than their own. What are your thoughts?
I see food as an opportunity to experience tastes from different cultures and bring people from different backgrounds together.
Over the last few years, has kitchen culture changed much?
The answer is yes. That’s a given, isn’t it…
What has been the biggest influence on you?
The people, traditions, methods, and ingredients at my every workplace have influenced me.
The work you do involves a lot of creativity, regardless of what you call it. How do you stay inspired?
Thanks to my friends in the same profession and the internet, it feels great to find some creative chefs to follow. It’s fun to interact with each one. Through research, experimentation, and learning, I develop my own way of cooking.
Could food be a therapeutic tool as well?
In a way, cooking serves as therapy for me. Rather than getting stressed, it just calms me down and transports me to another world.
What is your culinary guilty pleasure?
Mac n Cheese with lots of cheese is a go-to always.
What was the first dish you ever made?
Despite my best efforts, I managed to make a decent chicken curry.
Which of your career achievements has been the greatest to date?
Being a chef has been my greatest career achievement.
Let’s talk about Gawky Goose, what’s your vision for the restaurant…
Gawky Goose is liked and appreciated by everyone who walks in. We have so many frequent visitors who are more like friends now. All I want for Gawky Goose is to make it an International Brand.
Have you incorporated any elements of your heritage in the menu and dishes?
However, I have derived my recipes from ingredients and techniques from my heritage rather than introducing new dishes.
Which is the Bangalore local food you really enjoy?
There are dosas, idlis, tale mamsa saaru, and donne biryanis to name a few.
When you have an off, which are the restaurants you go to and chill at?
It’s not important to me to stick to one restaurant or cafe; I enjoy trying different foods at different places. There is always something here in Bangalore, to try.