Exclusive Interview of Chef Pratap Chahal on his unique new Soho co-venture Flavour Bastard- a restaurant that celebrates London as a global city. It’s the restaurants version of London on a plate! By Asian lite news FnB columnist and restaurant reviewer, Richa Grover.
Take vibrant flavours from around the world; remove rules and traditions, add a bit of mischief & creativity and you have Flavour Bastard — a story that’s meant to be about flavours running away from home.
The cuisine is a blend of various influences: classical french training, Indian heritage, and an expedition to 35 different cultures across the globe, collecting recipes and inspiration along the way.
RG– How did the name of the restaurant Flavour Bastard come about and what does it stand for ?
PC- We were thinking about what to call it when someone said that it’s not a traditional cuisine but a bastardised version of many cuisines as it’s so full of flavour but doesn’t really have ‘parentage’. Flavour Bastard was born!
RG-Where does your menu get its inspiration from ?
PC- From a multiplicity of factors like my extensive travels around the world, my Indian heritage, French training and living in London.
RG– You have been on extensive food travels as you mention, where and when was the idea for such a unique restaurant conceived?
PC- I’ve been cooking this style of food for about 8 years now so when I met my business partner, Vic, he wanted exactly something like this and the rest as they say is history!
RG– Do you have specials and seasonal dishes or is there always a fixed menu at flavour bastard?
PC-We have both – an a la carte menu that changes with the seasons and a daily changing development and chef’s choice menu.
RG-Do you think experimental and fusion food trend is on the rise and the market cuts across age groups or is there a particular age segment of diners that gets attracted to a brand like flavour bastard?
PC- I think both styles are on the rise and even our style which is a little more cross-cultural than fusion. The human race is constantly evolving through inter-racial relationships and the influence of immigration – all for the better, so we feel that food too should evolve as a result of these factors. It’s definitely starting to cut across age groups a lot more now than it did, say, 10 years ago.
RG– How did you conceptualise the restaurant, tell us about the decor deciding process and who’s done the interiors?
PC- Oh for that we went to the professionals. We wanted a restaurant that was cosy, stylish but not sterile and definirely not with any cultural/ethnic stand out features. Our designer is the award-winning Afroditi Krassa who has done an incredible job of giving us a stunning restaurant.
RG-Has working in various famous kitchens of big restaurant banners equipped you to be better prepared for being an entrepreneur?
PC-Absolutely. I also ran my own business, That Hungry Chef, for the last 5 years where we provided private chef services, fine dining catering, supperclubs, popups and food consultation services, so that helped massively as well.
RG– Did you always want to be a chef and have a restaurant or did you dabble into the profession as an extension of a hobby? What piece of advice and encouragement would you give budding chefs ?
PC-No actually! I didn’t know what I wanted to do – I have a BA in English Literature! I have always had a passion for food and cooking and my parents suggested I be a chef when I didn’t want to do anything that any of my friends were doing! Best advice EVER! Advice for aspiring chefs? Being a chef is about much more than cooking good food – the biggest part of being a chef is about working extremely long hours, sacrificing your personal life to a great extent, learning to follow orders and take the occasional humiliation and verbal abuse, but most importantly, learning and having the foresight to never give up pushing yourself. It’s also a tiny industry so be nice to everyone as word always gets around!
RG– Do you have any other projects in the pipeline that you are working on apart from and along with your work with the restaurant ?
PC-Not at the moment.