Wednesday, 26 June 2013

School of Cooks

The students and teachers of batch 1 at OCA post a lovely lunch.
I am an admirer of Sabyasachi Gorai, or Chef Saby as he is known among the restaurant going crowd in the NCR. Even though he has global exposure, there is a part of him which remains quintessentially the boy from Asansol. So when Saby invited me to come and have a meal at the newly opened Olive Culinary Academy inside the Mehrauli Olive, I was curious enough to accept.
Chef Saby, hands on as always.
First things first, the spiel according to Saby. The Olive Culinary Academy offers a one year course pretty much concentrated on culinary skills. You get five hours of kitchen every day. That's twenty-five in a week. It's not a cheap proposition at 2 lakhs a pop, but then you're getting an 'international accreditation' and more importantly in my view a six-month solid work session at Olive followed by a certificate from Olive. Buoyed by the propaganda, and surrounded by the efforts in the kitchen by Batch 1A, I was hungry and expecting good things.
Enough funda, now for the meal. The students are a mix of those who have worked in hospitality to mature students to those wanting to do something fun (and having the means to do so).
The meal about to begin!
The meal was a mix of students and teachers and the outstanding dish of the day was a ratatouille which was perfect in its balance and flavours and softness of the veg. It showed care and intelligence in cooking. Other elements of the meal needed minor tweaking, like the creme brûlée for instance. I'm sure the students with their intensive sessions in the kitchen will be able to perfect their techniques. I was also very very happy to see the bread made by the students, being an absolute zero in the baking section myself.
The students have a lot to live up to, since they have taken over the greenhouse, an area where I have enjoyed many fab meals while Saby was at the helm of things at Olive, Mehrauli.

What I was happiest about though was to see a bunch of students who were confident, alert and aware of what was happening around them and I think a huge responsibility lies on their shoulders as they're also the academy's brand ambassadors. A good meal and a fun interactive session. I'm hoping to be invited again, because the only way is up and the food is already pretty good.


  1. Am an admirer of Saby as well...His students are really lucky people... never mind the 2 lakh tag. Observe him talking to his chef force for a while and you are certain that anybody training under him will shine on!

  2. I am an admirer of Chef Saby as well. Bad that they have an upper age limit otherwise I would have been training under him right now :-)

  3. I was lucky enough to try lunch cooked by the students 2 weeks ago - their bread was outstanding, the pasta was tasty and the chocolate dessert a dream. It was hard to believe it was their first week. OCA is a great idea that deserves support and praise. Well done Chef Saby.
    I wish every student all the best - take this opportunity and make the very best of it.
    I'll definitely be back :)