Hot Air Chat with Shaikh Mujibur, BayLeaf, Bangalore

Located at the heart of the city, BayLeaf is your perfect idea for an fine dining experience and brings the delightful spirit of fine dining to the fore. Be it a special occasion calling for a get together with your close ones or a casual hangout, the ambiance and the impeccable service leave a lasting impression on you.

We were delighted to have the full time attendance of the Executive Chef at BayLeaf, Mr Shaikh Mujibur, for a healthy round of food chats.

Bay Leaf_chef

1) How do you describe your style of cooking?

Basically I believe in Indian and tandoor items. These are still vast and hugely unexplored, so there are a lot of hidden flavors and combinations out there. I also specialize in desserts, mostly Indian, which the families love and adore.

2) How do you keep the kitchen running in chaotic situations? How do you calm everyone around you?

Sometimes discipline is the key to most of the biggest problems you face. I try to maintain discipline. And staying calm at the same time also makes team control their aggression and work peacefully. I try to make sure nobody feels so much pressure. I join them in the hustle if required.

3) What was your inspiration getting into this profession?

I have been in this industry since 16 years. Cooking and cooking good, was in the blood from childhood. My father was an executive chef in the Oberoi Grand in Kolkata. We learnt everything from him. My two other brothers are currently in London, also in the same business.
Cooking helps me feel good, feel of service. When I see my customers smile after having a bite, that’s the ultimate reward for me.

4) What is your signature dish?

There are quite a few. Not really unique dishes but some which I have lent my own unique taste and flavor. One of them is Angari Murg. Another popular dish is Tehekta Ginger, where Tiger prawns are stuffed with aromatic spices and then charcoal cooked.

Then there’s Sharabi Jhinga, where Tiger prawns are marinated in vodka and then baked with tandoori spices. This is one of the favorites among the young audiences and also ladies.
I also prepare an unique Sweet platter containing Ras malai, Pan kulfi, and Hot mini Gulab Jamuns combo.


5) Is there one secret ingredient or spice you love to cook with?

There is nothing secret. I don’t like to have a special ingredient and keep hiding the formula for long. I cook with simple, readily available, Indian spices. We make our own spices with fresh ingredients here at BayLeaf. This gives good aroma and flavor to the food.

6) What is the most interesting or fun experience you’ve had while in restaurants?

Once upon a time a few food scientists from America visited Saudi Arabia, at Laguna, when I was there. I offered them one of my finest dishes, Sikandari Raan. They were very happy on tasting it, and felt that this dish could have a few more variants.
Talking with them made me learn a few tricks and also they got to learn a little more about Indian cuisine, which was a good feeling.

7) One cuisine you would love to experiment with?

I’d undoubtedly experiment with Indian cuisine. Because it is so vast and has lots of spices, aromas and ingredients. You’d be buried in the variety of flavors, if you know what I mean.


8) Name any other chef who inspired you at the start. And who is your best food critic?

There was this Chef Radha Krishna, who was the corporate chef at BayLeaf. He keeps his team united and always in discipline. He cooked the Zafrani Murg pretty well. The aroma will pull us all into the kitchen.
He used to say, one who cooks Zafrani well, he can cook most of the dishes well. Probably that’s true.

9) Favorite places to eat when you’re not at the restaurant?

Most of the time I have to stay up till late in order to serve the visitors. But sometimes I go to MG Road. There’s Tandoor restaurant, where I love the starters and the seafood recipes.
Plus there’s the variety in street food in Bangalore that’ll always have more than enough options for you, if you’re a foodie. You just have to know the good places.
Bangalore is a good city. Full of shade and all cultures and colors of India seem to merge here.

10) Who did you experiment your initial recipes on?

As I started cooking in teenage. Made my father taste the recipes. Learnt everything from him. Whatever he said to improve, I did it blindly. Slowly down the line I learnt the meaning of his tips.

11) One thing unique about your favorite city in India.

My personal favorite is Kolkata. And there are a lot of things unique, not one, like the Howrah Bridge, the Rasogolla, etc. It’s a classic city.
You can spend hours boating and nothing about the world seems to change.

12) Any advice you would give to budding chefs?

Believe in your passion and work for it. Rest all will fall into place together. Passion drives your inner soul and nothing else.

After a good round of talks and sumptuous food at BayLeaf, we’re satisfied with the treatment we got.
P.S. Try the Golgappa Shots. They’re innovative and tasty.

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