Chef with an exceptional competency


The world culinary is both sciences as well as art. Chef, please tell us what inspired you to enter this sector?

CHEF DEVWRAT: Yes, that is a true world culinary is both science and art and many times driven by instincts.
My mother was Home science lecturer, and I always observed her, while she used to make different dishes at home. I used to love it. No one from our family is in this profession. All are in the teaching profession. My interest was always in the kitchen because of my mother and granny. But, I chose this field because of my father Shri Anand Vinayak Jategaonkar, who is my inspiration, not only in choosing this sector but in general in leading a particular way of life. He was a well-known Marathi literature write, A great mathematics professor, A great father and a close friend, artist, poet, a good cook and a guide. He always inspired us (me and my Brother) to follow the heart no matter what profession you choose. He also taught us to work on improving self, skills and knowledge, and not to run after positions and income. He always said ‘Make yourself competent, rest will be taken care automatically’.

Sir, a Warm Congratulations to you for achieving a Guinness World Record for making the largest margarine sculpture in the year 2017. In your opinion what are major aspects that helped you to hold such a prestigious record?

CHEF DEVWRAT: As I am working on the Guinness world records project for 4 years, and it took a long time to get things organized. I visited elephant caves 3 times to observe all the detailing of Trimurti. I created a miniature model earlier using 60 kgs of margarine at home. My home AC was on continuously for one and half months. I was not getting the finances, but I did not give up the idea. I was obsessed with this project. In between, my father passed away due to cancer. Once I had told him that I will do this project had to fulfil that promise.
My company TFS supported me, and the project was planned at Domestic Airport (Santacruz). While making the sculpture, it collapsed 3 times in front of public view. The technique and temperatures were not right (it was done in the air-conditioned glass cabin). My team of chefs helped a lot and they were there throughout. Lots of difficulties I faced during that time, but I did not give up. Process of Guinness world records is very detailed and challenging. I think the aspect which helped me is not to give up in any circumstances. I did not keep the option of losing. I was ready for reattempt if this attempt was not accepted had already planned the reattempt in case of non-acceptance by GWR.

Chef, what is the exact reason behind your “​Trimurti​”, which is the largest margarine sculpture and what kind of problems you had faced while making it? 

CHEF DEVWRAT: While attempting for Guinness, I wanted to portray Indian culture and philosophy through my art.

‘Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh’ is an eternal principle, which is a base of Indian culture and philosophy. The beginning, nurture and distraction is inevitable and is applicable in any era any civilization. It is the core of Indian philosophy and culture. I had visited elephant caves 3 times, where this stone sculpture is carved .every time I visited I was amazed by the detailing and the different expressions on faces of sculpture and thought of creating the same sculpture in Margarine. For me it was not about the only world record, I always thought my sculpture should have a meaning a story, a philosophy behind it.

The guidelines of Guinness were very strict, the sculpture has to be done in public view, it has to be without outer or inner support, the minimum quantity used has to be 1000 kgs. I had to follow all the guidelines and attempt started.

When I started making actual sculpture for Guinness, dimensions and weights were completely different. Three times sculpture completely collapsed, and I had to do it again from scratch. It was incomplete view of the public (Through Glass). The fourth time I used ‘Brick’ technique which is used in the construction of buildings. Margarine bricks were joined and then faces were carved in it. The detailing and all the elements including snakes, sculls etc. were handcrafted. My team of chefs (Vinayak, Mahesh, Sachin, Ramesh, and Heramb) were involved from day one and supported me a lot.

Along with an astonishing chef, you are a fantastic Culinary Artist. So do both qualities complement each other and how?

CHEF DEVWRAT: For a chef, cooking techniques and culinary artistry go hand in hand, as while presenting any dish, that instinct, that artistry is required. Then only you can make the dish outstanding. Of course, the dimension of culinary Artistry is very vast. Being a culinary Artist, it helps me as a chef, but more than that, it allows me to express myself through my sculptures.

Sir, a Warm Congratulations again for winning the silver medal in “​International​​Culinary Olympics​” in the year 2012. Chef, what was the reason behind your “OhCindrella​” sculpture, which helped to bag a silver medal in your pocket? 

CHEF DEVWRAT: We all had heard the story of Cinderella since childhood. I had participated in national competitions at that time. During that time wanted to participate in the culinary Olympics. I thought the Cinderella story is very interesting and there are many aspects to the story which can be done in details .i had captured a moment when Cinderella comes running out of the castle, and her shoe slips. The sculpture had all the detailing including serpent and eagle fountain, chariot, trees, castle, lampposts, prince (who came running behind Cinderella etc.). Taking that sculpture to Germany was a real challenge. I had made a complete enclosed wheel trolley with a toolbox. When I think of it now, how I managed to get it there, I sometimes think, it was madness.

With the evolving trend in the dining sector and an increase in the competition. How important is Food Styling, Food Artistry and the ambience in the hotels? 

CHEF DEVWRAT: In the dining sector, there are many options available, but those with unique concepts, presentations, and ambience are always preferred. Food styling and food Artistry is always an important edge which puts you ahead of the competition.

Chef, please tell us about your entire journey till here and the kind of hardships you had faced during this? 

CHEF DEVWRAT: My native place is ‘Akola’ a comparatively small city at Vidharbha Maharashtra. During those days there was not much of awareness regarding the profession. My father was a professor of Mathematics and mother was Home science lecturer. We are a family in which most of the members are in the education field. No one was in the hotel industry. I used to help my mother sometimes when she is cooking at home or whenever she used to practice the recipes (which she used to demonstrate to her students at collage)at home. During 12th when I was thinking of different career options, my grandfather was not happy with Hotel management particularly and questioned whether I want to become ‘Bawaarchi’(a cook). My mother and father always supported me and told me to do what you want to do, which will make you happy. At first, I had gone to take admission at Shegaon Engineering college, but that time father asked me, are you sure about your choice? Will it make you happy in the long run? That time I said No. Then decided to take admission at ‘Institute of Hotel Management and catering technology, Pune’. I did 3 years diploma from that college. First-year was tough for me, but interest in fruit and veg carving and food Art, helped me sail through those days.

After completing the course I joined cicada de Goa(5-star hotel at goa. I worked there as a DCDP for 4 years. During the first year, my job was only to get the raw materials on a trolley, peeling potatoes, onions, carrots etc. and cleaning and cleaning. But from the second year, there was a lot of learnings. I won a superchef competition held in Cicada de goa. Then after 4 years, I decided to start my own restaurant at Jalna. I started a see-through kitchen concept restaurant at Jalna. I failed. It did not work that well remember getting vegetables every day for my hotel on my bike. I had to sell off all the equipment’s and crockery etc. then I decided to go on the ship. I worked with Queen Elizabeth 2 (one of the best cruise ships in the world) for 5 years. Then I came back to India. Worked with Radisson Hotels at executive chef and currently working as Executive chef with TFS at Domestic Airport. I think the headships are unending in this field, but hardship becomes a learning process if your approach is that way towards it.

Chef, please tell us about how ‘​Maharashtrian Cuisine’​ is different from other Cuisines and also tell us about your TV show called “​AamhiSaareKhavayye​” on Z Marathi?

CHEF DEVWRAT: I think Maharashtra cuisine is a unique cuisine with different varieties as per the regions in Maharashtra, still, it has got a common thread binding all the regions. The use of ingredients might vary as per region to region, still, there are some common similarities. Also, there is a detailed study by our ancestors when it comes to food preparations in different regions as per the season. The seasonal food preparations are invented taking into consideration the nutrients/energy required as per that season. Maharashtra Thali is supposed to be the most balanced food which provides all the essential nutrients, protein, fibres.

I am associated as Chef with the culinary show on Zee Marathi called’ AmmhiSare Khavvaye’ from last 10 years. I demonstrate easy to make, quick, national as well as international recipes on the show. 

My focus is also on using ingredients which are very high nutritional value but are not used frequently in our kitchens. Apart from this focus is also on healthy recipes for kids.