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IT’S FOOD THAT ONE CAN’T RESIST: PAWAN BISHT

In conversation with chef Pawan Bisht of One8 Commune. From regional dishes packed with flavour to desserts that delight the sweet tooth, One8 Commune has everything you could possibly want!

Noor Anand Chawla

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Sushi.

Risotto

.

Dimsum

.

Pizza.

It’s food that one can’t resist. What sets the one-eighth Commune tribe apart is the fact that it holds an indefinable charm, with a great ambience and vibe.

The good folks over at One8 Commune, which is the brainchild of cricketer Virat Kohli, have curated a menu to cater to each and every palate. Every flavour served to patrons here is finely crafted to ensure they receive a world-class culinary experience. The Daily Guardian Review speaks to Chef Pawan Bisht about the popular new brand he is helming. Excerpts from an edited interview.

Q. Please tell us about your vision for one8 Commune and the genesis of the brand.

A. With values firmly rooted in sustainability, we maximise the use of fresh and local ingredients in our preparations. Over 70 percent of our menu is vegetarian, and we relish the challenge of making even the flavour of a sinful steak taste great in its vegetarian avatar. By maximising the use of grains and millets in our preparation, we are playing with the status quo, and attempting to prove that experimental simplicity can be delicious too.

Q. Please tell us about your latest address at Punjabi Bagh, New Delhi.

A. We all know that if there is one thing that Virat Kohli is known for, it is the fact that he is uniform in everything that he does. This quality is evident in the brand one8 Commune as well. The moment you step into one of eight Commune’s new Punjabi Bagh outlets, you step into a world that brims with perfection, panache, and style.

 Those who have visited one8 Commune have praised our signature dishes like the Black and Fiery Chicken and the Mushroom Googly Dimsums the most. I have also tried to experiment with new dishes like Korean Chicken and Bamboo Cashew Nut Tofu, among others.

 With the opening of one8 Commune in Punjabi Bagh, we are excited to serve our customers with an elevated dining experience. The hybrid culture at one8 Commune makes you dine at your best and party at your best too. It’s the perfect place to spend a wonderful evening. From regional dishes packed with flavour to desserts that delight the sweet tooth, one8 Commune has everything you could possibly want!

Q. Tell us about your method of curation.

A. When I am designing the menu, I think about my personal drive and the support of my parents. I have also met some great chefs along the way, who have been my mentors, colleagues, and friends and have inspired and motivated me. Apart from that, I have a passion for cooking and creating, which has really kept me going. A lot of inspiration comes from Chef Vernon Coelho.

A typical day in my life consists of me shuttling from one restaurant to another. I try to visit at least two of the eight communes in a day, see what’s going on, conduct food trials, get guest feedback and speak to my team. Then I plan my next menu where we incorporate what is in season along with what the guests want, which again has to be factored in keeping the logistics of the kitchen in mind. We also actively conduct market surveys and supplier meetings to get the freshest and best quality ingredients at the correct rates. This is followed by food trials and tastings, recipe standardization, and then we launch the new menu.

Q. What would you say is the USP of your food? 

A. It’s food that one can’t resist. What sets the one-eighth Commune tribe apart is the fact that it holds an indefinable charm. With a great ambience and vibe, we are serving world cuisine at its best. We have something for everyone. Furthermore, I believe my clean, minimalistic, and delicious cooking style lets my ingredients shine. I love cooking with fresh herbs and local, fresh ingredients.

Q. What would you refer to as your signature dish?

A. I believe my signature dish is the mushroom and truffle oil dimsum, the red and white quinoa salad and our signature French stews that we have just launched in the new menu.In fact, the mushroom and truffle oil dimsums, and the red and white quinoa salad are some of the highest selling dishes from our menu as well. These ones are also Virat Kohli’s favourite dishes, so we know we are on the right track!

Personally speaking, my favourite piece of equipment to cook with is the grill. I love my meats, both when it comes to eating them as well as to cooking them. I feel that if you have a good grill or a hot plate in your kitchen, you really don’t need much more.

Q. Any advice you would like to share with the world, being such a popular chef yourself?

A. I believe that molecular gastronomy is overhyped and done to death! I feel it really does not add anything of value to a dish.

Instead of following fads like this one, I believe it is more important to make meal time memorable and special for my guests by bringing a smile to their faces through my food.

Noor Anand Chawla pens lifestyle articles for various publications and her blog www.nooranandchawla.com.

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