Introducing Indore Marriott’s Pastry Chef, Sikandar Mohammed, who draws his dessert inspiration from his dad, a Masterchef himself. We mostly spoke about his creative cooking and presentation skills over the Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse, he made for me, on this very day. As you may have already noticed, this one right here is nothing less than a Michelin-star dessert. 10-minutes into the conversation and I figured that Chef Sikander’s real-life childhood stories are certainly sweeter than his desserts.
With a child-like smile on his face, Chef Sikander, reminisced his early years, when his Dad baked him incredible desserts for holidays. He says, as a child, he endlessly observed his dad’s excellent cooking and plating skills. Even though, what amazed him most, was that special smile on his father’s face, every time he prepared something special for the family. Without a doubt, what Chef Sikander learned while growing, is what eventually inspired him to cook and serve better than the best today.
Chef Sikandar completed his hotel management from Pusa, New Delhi. After which, he straight away, followed his dad’s steps, to become a Masterchef. That began with learning and testing cooking skills, at top hotels in Russia, Dubai, Qatar, Oman, and Riyadh. After securing collaborative culinary skills, Chef Sikander finally moved to India and then to Marriott Indore.
In an exclusive chat, Chef spoke to me about, how taste, colours, and presentation affect the very palate of a customer. By all means, the finger-licking delicious, Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse was a living example of his work. What I ate today, was a finger-licking delicious dessert, trailblazing the way for a never-ending appetite. Even though, what impressed me most, was that Chef Sikander secretly gauges his guest’s reactions to the dishes he prepares. He says, “each smile is as precious as a Michelin Star.” Well! That’s certainly passion at its best!
Q: What is your favourite food to eat?
A: I enjoy eating Chinese and Indian cuisine the most.
Q: Why did you choose to become a Chef?
A: I have always loved trying different cuisines. However, what ultimately inspired me to take up this profession, was my Dad’s passion to create fascinating cakes at home. I chose to become a pastry chef, because, I truly want to design elegantly buoyant and customised cakes.
Q: What is your favourite cuisine to cook? Why?
A: If you are asking me other than desserts, then, I’d say Indo Chinese fusion. Which, by the way, is very delicious.
Q: Give me an example of a meal you would prepare for me?
A: I’d cook you a flavoursome Indo-Chinese meal which will include a Sweet corn soup, Chicken fried rice, Manchurian of your choice, Egg fried noodles, and Darsan with Vanilla ice cream.
Q: What do you do to ensure the quality of the food going out to customers?
A: As soon as, I receive the raw material, I check the labelled dates to know if the product is good to use. Time to time, I also train my staff to prepare and present meals in a more effective way. Above all, I always ensure that all meals leave the kitchen, at the right temperature.
Q: Tell me about an accomplishment that you are most proud of in your career?
A: Of all my accomplishments, the closest to my heart is the one, when I first cooked an Indo-western Rasmalai mousse dessert and served it to my father. He loved the taste and so did all the guests thereafter.
Q: Tell me 3 things that you consider to be your strengths?
A: Bakery, Pastry, and Sugar work
Q: How much do you really love cooking?
A: Cooking is my ultimate passion. It is an art of preparing food with love, fresh ingredients, and well-thought presentation.
In the end, Chef Sikander said, “Creativity and having the power to make people smile, is the key to my success.”