Being a Pastry chef is like being an Engineer


Please tell us what inspired you to become a chef?

Chef Keshav Yadav:- My interest in cooking started from the age of 12 when I used to help my mother in the kitchen. We had a family of five and my mother and I would cook chapatis, dal, curries and sweets for the entire family. This was a daily ritual for me after I got back from school.  I was always fascinated to see how the chapatis would fluff up on the flames and I think that is when I realised how much I really enjoy cooking.

We made our own fresh butter as we had our own buffalos and I was fortunate to see the entire process from milking the buffalos to having our own artisan butter with the paranthas.

What attracted you to Pan-Asian cuisine?

Chef Keshav Yadav:- Having worked at the Fatty Bao, I had previous experience of Pan Asian ingredients and  cooking. Before joining 1Q1 I was working at Brooklyn and I was keen to resume my work on Pan Asian desserts and learn more about the Nikkei cuisine which is an interesting mix of Peruvian and Japanese cuisines.  My pan Asian experience also gave me good and valuable insights on the use of some of the other typical ingredients like kaffir lime, pandan leaves, raw papaya, ginseng, galangal, matcha and fermented ingredients and condiments like kimchi, kombucha, miso etc.  To me, these ingredients held a special appeal and I liked to experiment with them in my desserts.

What is the best part of being a pastry chef?

Chef Keshav Yadav:- Being a pastry chef is like being an engineer on a project. One gets to confer with the senior kitchen execs on menus and ideation and the pastry chef is instrumental in building the desserts based on the theme of the menu.

Personally, for me as a pastry chef, one of the dearest aspects is creativity. I enjoy making desserts from unusual ingredients and presenting them in a contemporary style.

Unlike other kitchens,  the pastry kitchen works on accurate planning and predictions. Also, the art of pastry, while it is an exacting science, lends itself to great creative expression. Being a pastry chef also surrounds one with an aura of mystery. My colleagues often ask me, how I made something and it’s a pleasure to share my knowledge with them. A pastry chef is always respected and loved by the team.

Please tell us about your responsibilities in Windmills Craftworks?

Chef Keshav Yadav:- At Windmills Craftworks, the pastry department caters to 5 restaurants and as such my responsibility is to ensure that all quality standards of preparation and presentation are followed by the team. To this effect, I train my team in presentation techniques and styles so that they are able to accomplish the task easily.  The pastry department also uses many premium ingredients and I keep a check on the inventories and costs so that the overall operational viability is kept intact.

Where do you think is the baking industry in India heading?

Chef Keshav Yadav:- The bakery industry India is growing leaps and bounds. A lot of international players are coming in with ready to bake frozen goods of high quality.  Product innovation is at its best. It is also opening up to a whole world of flavours and it is heartening to see this growth as it helps and aids the growth of an industry that has been performing far from its potential. We have also seen Indian and International equipment manufacturers bring in a change and I’m sure this will help move the cause forward.