Story & photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet TM
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Andaz Hotel’s Head Chef Hameed Farook gives an exclusive interview to the inquisitive and inspiring Travelling Gourmet…
MADRAS is where affable and energetic Head Chef Hameed Farook hails from. India’s ‘Curry Capital’ is now renamed Chennai. Now based in the absolutely spiffing Andaz Hotel which is Hyatt International’s luxury boutique hotel brand, Chef Hameed cooks up a gastronomic typhoon in “1901”! “1901” is the signature fine dining restaurant with high ceilings and a huge dome . Dine here to savour creative dishes that are classically prepared, beautifully executed and delivered with finesse and panache. Undoubtedly “1901” is one of my favouite restaurants in London.
The Travelling Gourmet: Why did you become a Chef?
Chef Hameed: Since childhood, I had a vision of cooking..I love my Mum’s cooking. When I grew up, I attended International Hotel Management School in Hyderabad. I was lucky enough to win the All India Chef’s Competition…later I worked at the Grand Hyatt Mumbai & on P & O cruise ships..which was very exciting.
The Travelling Gourmet: What do you like most about being a Chef?
Chef Hameed: The food amazes me! And you can create art. Food is one of life’s necessities. I’ve trained with 3 Michelin Star Chefs and London was my dream destination since 2005…
The Travelling Gourmet: What’re your favourite ingredients?
Chef Hameed: To eat, seafood…I’ve a flair for lobster. I like Tasmanian Lobster and fresh fish. I like Vetivier.
Chef Hameed explained when he saw my puzzlement, “It is a root with an earthy flavour. I like to combine flavours!”
The Travelling Gourmet: Do you do molecular gastronomy?
Chef Hameed: I do molecular gastronomy in a small aspect…it’s a different route, I incorporate some components into a dish, but NOT the main component. My inetention, to bring in new flavours to incorporate into European cooking.
The Travelling Gourmet: Tell us about the really yummie food in “1901”…
Chef Hameed: Firstly, the food in “1901” is locally sourced, all sustainable and mostly in and around England…except for Scottish Salmon and Welsh Lamb. We use all top quality productsAll top quality stuff. We have been awarded 3 Rosettes by the AA.
The Travelling Gourmet: I simply adore your selection of fine and unusual British cheeses on your Cheeseboard. Please tell us more about them.
Chef Hameed elaborated with a happy chuckle: We have 12 to 15 varieties at any one time. There is Innes Log from Staffordshire, Berkwell hard cheese from the West Midlands, Montgomery Cheddar and more…
The Travelling Gourmet: Who is your hero in the culinary world?
Chef Hameed: I don’t have a particular hero but I get inspiration from many chefs.
The Travelling Gourmet: What’s your favourite spice?
Chef Hameed: I love Cinnamon & Cumin…like I can make Cumin foam. One ingredient I must have is Saffron.
The Travelling Gourmet: Do you like to cook with wine?
Chef Hameed: I love to cook with wine like Gewuerztraminer. It adds a lot of flavours, textures and notes to the dish. I carefully select quality wines. I don’t use “cooking wines”!
After the enlightening interview over a hot Cappuccino in Andaz’s cosy Champagne Bar, Head Chef Hameed brought me on a VIP tour of one of the hotel’s most intriguing secrets. I was amazed and my flabber was absolutly gasted by the sight of the mystical Masonic Tample! It was only discovered during remodelling and renovation of the hotel. The temple had being hidden away behind a secret door for years…If only walls could speak, what terrific tales they would tell…
More people eat salted peanuts than Oscietra caviar…but when you have the chance, go for the Caviar! Enjoy! 🙂
40 Liverpool Street
Tel: +44 207 961 1234