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cyrus todiwala

‘When it comes to food, Indians drive you nuts’: Cyrus Todiwala

Cyrus Todiwala, chef patron of The River Restaurant at the Acron Waterfront Resort in Baga and Cafe Spice Namaste, Mr Todiwalaʹs Kitchen, and The Park Café in London recently conducted a Acron Master Class session on food at Fortune Acron Regina in Candolim. Mumbai born-London based celebrity chef chats about different cooking styles, why Indians are hard customers and his experience of cooking for the Queen of England.


Tell us about your recent Acron Master Class cooking session

The response received for the Acron Master Class conducted at Fortune Acron Regina was phenomenal. We achievedcyrus todiwala more than just a demonstration and a class. We also got great feedback. We had nearly 100 chefs coming from across Goa including some people who I had trained 20 -25 years ago. It was like a get together with chefs who I had seen 30 – 40 years ago and who have now become famous and in their own right. The whole aim of this was to share knowledge. Initially, when I started my journey in cooking, chefs did not want to teach us. However, I believe that we have to teach young people or else the creativity and success of our operations will not get bigger and better.  

Wasn’t it difficult to choose to be a chef? When did food take your fancy? 

As a child, I was always interested in food, and helped in cooking. Eating together was a ritual in our family. My interest began ever since then. The food that was cooked for me was sometimes made to suit me as I suffered from asthma, and my body could take only certain foods. Also, my dad was friendly with people from different communities. So, we got exposed to many types of foods. Food was always the epicenter to us and that’s where the interest started to grow even though cooking was not considered a good enough profession for a young person to take, particularly a Parsi. 

Where does food get the highest respect? And why? 

Food gets the highest respect in Italy and France. There is no two ways about it. These people live to eat. I feel, Indians give the least respect, unfortunately. We treat the cooks and waiters shabbily; we don’t respect them; we complain and create havoc. In every establishment around the world, when an Indian goes for lunch or dinner, the cyrus todiwalachefs get nervous. If you tell me that the Queen and prime minister of England is sitting and there is a table of Indians over there, I will be more worried about the Indians than the queen and the prime minister. This is because the Queen and the prime minister will never complain but the Indians will surely drive you nuts. 

In Britain, there is a deep respect growing for the profession and the food. Respect is growing for the cooks and the dishes you produce. In France and Italy, there is a lot of respect for the chefs and waiters. The people enjoy the food, delve into it and take interest in the food source. This is because the environment in which you sit and eat and the source from where the food came from, both are equally important, as these are directly related to one’s health. They either make it or break it. 

Your plans for next year? 

My plans for next year are going to be much bigger because so many chefs have already emailed me saying that they want to get involved and they want me to start something bigger like an academy. It is going to be tough, however, I have promised to keep all options open.

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