Chef Manish Mehrotra on his new book Advertisement

Chef Manish Mehrotra on his new book

...and why he doesn't believe in keeping (culinary) secrets

By Sara Shah  January 25th, 2016

Manish Mehrotra, head chef at the Indian Accent Restaurant in Delhi, is responsible for giving us khandvi ravioli and chicken tikka quesadillas. Now, after the roaring success of his electrifying menu, Mehrotra has launched a cookbook called The Indian Accent Restaurant Cookbook. 

He won’t call it a recipe book
“It tells people what Indian Accent is all about. It talks about all its different aspects, like the food, its taste and the way it is made, which combine to form what I’d like to call the Indian Accent experience. The way I have styled the food, and the way Rohit [Chawla] has captured the images is our way of showing people that Indian food is going global. Each and every recipe in the book comes with a little story about why and how we created it.”

He’ll happily choose cooking over writing
“The thought of creating a cookbook struck me two years ago. But it only just got published because I have never been much of a writer. I find cooking a hundred times easier than writing. Also, all our dishes have been photographed against a black background – all the recipes had to be styled in a way that would look good against the background, which was also tough.

He doesn’t believe in keeping (culinary) secrets 
“Over time a lot of Indian recipes were lost because our grandmothers, mothers and iconic Indian chefs refused to share their recipes. This is why Indian cuisine is not where French cuisine is at on the global stage.”

He has his favourites
“Since I have a background in pan Asian cooking, I have always used oyster sauce in a lot of my dishes. I also like using a lot of coconut and Parmesan cheese in most of my dishes. You will find these in some of the recipes as well.”

The Indian Accent Restaurant Cookbook (Penguin Viking), Rs 3,499