Chef Devashish Dcosta is a private Yacht, Chef with over 23 years of rich culinary experience. He has worked with renowned hotels in India like Holiday Inn, Crown Plaza New Delhi, Intercontinental New Delhi, Imperial Hotel New Delhi and many more before joining the bandwagon of Traveller Chefs with Cunard Cruise Line, M/Y Amevie and the Biggest yacht of the world- M/Y Azzam.
Food bytes: Sailing Cuisine with Chef Devashish Dcosta:
1. What is it to be Boss of the Kitchen on a Luxury Super Yacht? Is it challenging or adventurous?
Chef D.D: Well it’s similar to the idiom “With foot in two boats”. It’s challenging as one needs to cater to these floating chateaus with world class food & service that is nothing less than outstanding.
Similar to home chefs, Yacht chefs have to wake up first and retire at odd hours.
The schedules are hectic and it’s quite a task to manage provisions. Very often sourcing vintage wines, to exotic groceries to luxury flower bouquets on short timelines takes a toll on us.
And my job is also to take away the stress associated with sourcing ingredients, managing top notch quality and delivering top of the line service on board in any part of the world.
Travelling and hip hopping on various ports is the adventurous part of my job. It gives me access to a unique variety of ingredients and exotic groceries that enhance my culinary skills and aid me in displaying food that is culturally cult.
2. As a traveller chef, how do you manage to break monotony in food and keep it world class?
Chef D.D: Food on a private luxury yacht is expected to be an exquisite culinary experience throughout. To ensure my holders and the guests are on a culinary adventure during their yacht stay, I endeavour to create an elegant masterpiece that is beautifully presented and delicious too.
For me, it’s a challenge which I relish always; they keep my adrenalin rush intact. I can’t plan a set menu; I just sketch out a basic idea of what I am going to make in my head and then prefer shopping fresh ingredients available on each island. My secret to innovation lies in exploring the local food. I believe there is enough to learn from ones culture and Platte which has done well for me so far.
3. Give a preview into your day’s schedule on board?
Chef. D.D: My day ideally starts at 6 am in the morning. I am a God-loving catholic and believe in starting my day by thanking the almighty for the beautiful life he has given me. I freshen up and pray before donning my chef cap and get into the most humble yet exciting job of cooking food with utmost love and nutrition.
Our schedules are not fixed as they are dependent on the timetables of our owners and their guests. Ideally it’s a set pattern of breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The sweat and the thrill lie in devising the menus and sourcing ingredients accordingly as the food has to be fresh.
Adding on, storage and space is another challenge on a yacht. Hence, we have to rely on fresh produce bought on ports or from local vendors who come to us when we anchor our ships.
4. Do you get a chance to explore destinations; wander through local markets and indulge in sightseeing?
Chef D.D: Yes I do. Not all days are bad; there are times when the owners are not on board and we have the time to disembark on different islands and ports.
That’s when I pick up my backpack and head off and put my wanderlust desires to rest. Most of my adventures are exploring local art and food. I am a great fan of artefacts and my collection keeps growing with each destination that I get to travel.
I am known to be a people’s person and my job gives me the chance to bond with different cultures; some best memories from my travel adventures are those spent with local people talking about food, sipping wine and singing with them too. It isn’t bad to get paid to travel after all! I feel I have an edge over people from different backgrounds as they say “Food has a language of its own”.
5. What is your take on the job of a Traveller Chef, especially, for our young chef readers who dream to travel the world and earn lucrative salaries too?
Chef D.D:Yes, indeed it’s a great job exploring the world and getting handsomely paid too.Yet, all aspirants of this profession should not forget that the greatest challenge for any Yacht Chef is to cook with minimum resources and tools,keep improvising & innovating with each meal and handles erratic work hours. So if you have the passion, then sea is the limit. Go sail your dreams.
6. How has your experience been in expanding your culinary repertoire? Can you share one of your favourite recipes that you created on board?
Chef D.D: My experience has been enriching and satisfying. When I look back, I feel immensely proud of my talent and skills which have helped me sail through the tides of erratic pressures and limitations. What I relish most is the amount of knowledge and opportunities that I got during these years to learn explore and invent dishes and recipes that are not part of any circumlum but are my own.
One such recipe from my most memorable encounter is
“Honey Glazed Jerk Chicken with Truffle Cream Spaghetti”,
One of my favourite creations from my food travel diaries in Corsica. The dish is made with an influence from Jamaican Jerk Chicken blended with different spices bought locally in Corsica. It’s a blend and fusion of Italian and modern cuisine.
The dish was made for my holders on eve of their “Special celebration”. Their applause and smile post serving and relishing my cuisine was the biggest reward for me.
I am glad to share the recipe with the readers of the blog.
Honey Glazed Jerk Chicken with Truffle Cream Spaghetti
|Chicken Breast||– 100 gms|
|Chicken Thigh||– 100 gms|
|Olive Oil||– 15 gms|
|Chilli Flakes||– 1 Tsp.(teaspoon)|
|Worcestershire Sauce||– 1 Tsp.|
|Honey||– 1 Tsp.|
|Lemon Juice||– 1 Tsp.|
|Crushed Black peppercorn||– 1 Tsp.|
|English Mustard||– 1 Tsp.|
|Salt To Taste|
|Butter Unsalted||– 10 gms|
|Plum||– 4 pieces|
|Spinach||– 200 gms|
|Cream||– 50 ml.|
|Salt Pinch to taste|
|Crushed pepper Pinch to taste|
|Al Dente Cooked Spaghetti|
– Marinate the chicken in 10 gms of Olive Oil and all the rest ingredients except plums.
– Cut Plums in two equal halves and add to chicken.
– Set aside for an hour.
– Post an hour of marination; Cook the chicken in a pan with little bit of Olive Oil, add chicken stock or red wine (optional) and cook in oven for about 5 minutes with plum halves.
– While the chicken is getting cooked; take the stems of the spinach and wash it well for 3-4 times.
– Cook the cream in a pan and reduce it to half before adding spinach to it. Season it with Salt, pepper. Now take it off the heat and put aside.
– Put cream in a pan and reduce it to add Spaghetti with fresh grated parmesan, butter and truffle oil. Season it with salt and pepper. Mix well and then set aside.
– Place the Cream Spinach in the middle of the serving plate. Scoop the spaghetti besides the cream spinach. Now place the chicken on top of the spinach along with glazed plums.
– Serve it Hot.
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