Overseeing this resort’s kitchens is a labour of love and passion.
With a quarter century of kitchen experience under his toque, this executive chef still has the same passion for food as when he started out.
A Kolkata native, chef Janardan Das is responsible for the impressive catering operations at Al Areen Palace & Spa. Before coming to Bahrain he was with Ritz-Carlton at the Sharq Village & Spa in Doha for several years and also worked at various other five-star properties and he is a senior member of the UAE Culinary Guild.
On the choice of a culinary career, he says:
“I have basically been a foodie since childhood. I cannot think of anything other than food!
I thought cooking would always keep me smiling because that’s my passion. I believe that: ‘Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life’.”
He is not much impressed by superstar cooks saying: “Honestly, I am not inspired by any celebrity chefs, though they are very talented and professional. I am inspired by an old lady who sells tea for her living beside my house back in Kolkata. There are hardly any people who don’t stop and have a cup of tea from her. Later, I discovered it’s not the tea which makes money for her. The secret of the recipe is her attention to detail for her customers and, above all, her language and behaviour. I guess language and behaviour are equally important as talent in our industry.”
A keen gardener, chef Janardan adds: “I love to use all the fresh herbs grown in my own kitchen garden. It gives you a different pleasure when you use the herbs from your own garden. I love to use different types of oils like extra virgin olive oil, fresh mustard oil etcetera, which always enhance giving a different touch to your dish.”
The recipe chef Janardan shares is not on the Al Areen menu but can be made on request.
Grilled salmon with braised fennel, wilted spinach, butternut squash puree and truffle lemon butter sauce
• 200g salmon steak
• 30ml lemon
• 40g butter
• 5ml truffle oil
• 300g butternut squash
• 40g fennel
• 5g salt
• 3g pepper
• 20ml olive oil
• Cut the butternut squash into big chunks with the skin on. Roast it over medium heat until very tender. Let cool a little. Scoop out the flesh and discard the skin. Put the flesh in a mixer blender and make a puree. Season according to taste and set aside in a hot place.
• Season the salmon with salt, pepper and lemon and grill for five to six minutes. As it becomes cooked add a little butter over the top and set aside. Braise the fennel and quickly wilt the spinach.
• Put the butternut squash on the plate and place the grilled salmon over it. Arrange the braised fennel and vegetables. Garnish with baked cherry tomatoes if desired.
• To make the truffle lemon butter sauce reduce lemon juice and water in a pan over a low flame. Pour in soft butter gradually and whisk until it reaches a smooth texture. Season with a dash of truffle oil.