Just like our DNA, every human on the planet has the most unique taste buds; and, as subjective as it gets, getting a meal right every time is one of the hardest jobs in the world. However, rarely do we get to meet a chef who manages to steal praises from the most reluctant patrons. For a certified kitchen maestro, who still prefers to be called as a “‘curious and accidental chef”, a culinary exploration of Chef Jatin Mallick’s gastronomical creations is worth waiting in the line for.
Serving the most unique food textures and delectable combinations on a platter, the chef and co-owner of Tres, epitomizes a lifelong dedication to culinary excellence, shaped by his father’s advice to excel in all endeavors. With over two decades of experience, he navigated premium culinary establishments in India and abroad, earning recognition for his adventurous approach to flavors and innovative cooking techniques. Commencing his culinary journey at age of 21 years at The Academy of Culinary Education, he swiftly rose to become the country’s youngest executive chef at 27, marked by stints with renowned chefs like Gordon Ramsay. Beginning his working experience as a Chef trainee with Taj Group of Hotels, he went on to working with other top hospitality brands like IHG and DLF and later in Europe for honing his skills. Post his European stint, he returned to his homeland and co-founded Tres with Chef Julia Carmen Desa in 2012, viewing the venture as a continuous learning process akin to raising a child. While his culinary expertise spans global cuisine, his particular fondness lies in Spanish, Indian, Coastal, Italian, and Pacific Rim flavors.
Tres, a global contemporary cuisine restaurant at Lodhi Colony, New Delhi.
In an exclusive chat with The Luxe Café, Chef Jatin Mallick talks about the latest buzz in the food world and from the chef’s kitchen. Excerpts:
Congratulations on completing 10 years of Tres, please tell us some of the milestones achieved in the past decade.
The name, “Tres,” symbolizes three, great food, great beverages and great ambience. Celebrating a decade of Tres is a gratifying journey in a fast-paced industry. The enduring support from the people of Delhi has been overwhelming.
What inspired you to start your own business, and what challenges did you overcome?
The inspiration stemmed from the need to showcase culinary talent and the potential of local ingredients. Challenges included wearing multiple hats – chef, business owner, marketer – and navigating legal complexities in India.
What drove you to become a chef, and what signature dishes have you mastered?
The passion for food and instilled the love for good food and my father’s guidance on excellence in whatever profession I take fuelled my journey of being a chef. I’ve mastered techniques like cooking meat and respecting ingredients and creating sauces, rather than specific dishes.
“If I don’t enjoy eating it, I won’t serve it. Adding diverse textures and balancing flavors became a natural extension of creating dishes I personally relish.”
How did you conceptualize the innovative amalgamation of textures and flavors in your dishes?
The concept evolved from a simple principle – if I don’t enjoy eating it, I won’t serve it. Adding diverse textures and balancing flavors became a natural extension of creating dishes I personally relish.
What are your favorite ingredients, where do you source them, and any exclusive dishes created?
Unique ingredients like Goan kukum, Nepalese Timur, and Uttarakhand’s white beans and Bhatt ki dal, Gahat, Kalari from J&K inspire me. These local elements contribute to dishes like grilled fish with Coorgi Kachampuli.
Your take on sustainability in the food business and its impact on quality and pricing?
Sustainability impacts pricing due to transportation costs, but sourcing locally ensures freshness and relatability. As chefs, we should innovate with local, seasonal ingredients, balancing quality and cost.
The best compliment received for your cooking and from whom?
Numerous compliments, but being considered for Michelin star was a great recognition that stands out.
Your established success as a chef/restaurateur; what’s your next goal?
Scaling the brand higher and opening a new outpost. Providing platforms for emerging chefs to showcase their talent and contribute to the development of cooking culture in India by mentoring the younger generation.
What are some of the latest food trends? When it comes to Global contemporary cuisine – what do you think is picking up in India?
Loads of South American and regional Indian ingredients are picking up as contemporary global trends. While in India, people are going for wholesome flavourful dishes done in nutritious and sustainable manner with ingredients in focus.
What’s coming up next from your kitchen for your patrons? A new menu or some brand new concept in the pipeline?
A vibrant new menu is in the works, introducing a fresh concept that will be revealed soon. Stay tuned for exciting culinary innovations!