Connector April 2023

CONNECTOR.AE 50 CONNECTOR.AE 51 Dining Around Dining Around Chef ’s Corner: Nagbushan Shenoy Food has the power to make everything better, be it a relaxing meal while hanging out with friends or for an early morning coffee pick-me-up. Chefs are the masterminds that contribute to the success of a restaurant, and Chef Nagbushan Shenoy, Head Chef at Republic Adda Bar and Lounge, DoubleTree by Hilton Business Bay, is a great example. Born and raised in Dubai, Chef Nag started his culinary journey in 2012 and has since been making his name known in the industry. Having won the Hilton F&B Master Award MEA and the Culinary Master 2019, Chef Nag never settled and kept working his way up the culinary ladder. In 2022, Chef Nag decided to create his own legacy and opened Republic Adda Bar and Lounge, which took inspiration from his roots in India, with a modern spin added to it. The restaurant celebrates Indian culture with decor sourced from local businesses in India, giving it a unique touch and aims to bring people together over food with sharing style dishes. Keep reading to find out more about Chef Nag’s journey in the culinary field. How did you get started in the food industry? I was always interested and curious about the kitchen. By the age of 10, I would spend most of my time in the kitchen at home. I am the only chef in my family. I used to watch a lot of cooking shows on TV and always wanted to be a celebrity chef. I started my first role as a chef in an Arabic kitchen at The Ritz Carlton DIFC back in 2012. Being born here in the UAE, I was always interested and have shown a keen interest in Arabic cuisine. What is your earliest cooking memory? Back when I was in 4th grade, I was taking orders for food and drinks from my uncles and aunts who used to visit us in the winter in Dubai. When we stayed in Jumeirah, we had a villa and used to have a barbecue every weekend. I remember I used to act like a popup restaurant chef, and used to clean, marinate and cook the meat and seafood. I used to get great feedback, and that would just push me to make better dishes the next time. What is your favourite dish from your country? I have two, one has to be ‘pathrode’, which are layered colocasia leaves, with masala stuffing made of rice and spices and then steamed. After steaming, it can be served as is or even pan-roasted, which you do not get here. It is a family recipe that runs deep and can never be recreated except by a few in the family. The second has to be ‘chicken ghee roast’. My roots are from Karnataka, this is a loved dish all over. My ancestral home is just a stone’s throw away from the restaurant where this dish was created. What is the one go-to and easy snack you love making for midnight cravings? Cream cheese parotta Oman chips wrap! I am a 90’s born in Dubai, and it is nostalgic. I believe that every kid born in my time in Dubai would agree to the same! You cannot beat the simplicity, depth of flavours and textures in the snack. What is the one raw ingredient you cannot cook without from your country? It has to be ghee, which is a fat that you can actually make at home. We used to make our own ghee by churning butter milk, removing the butter and cooking it off slowly until clarified over a wood fire. That nutty and pure taste just takes dishes to the next level. Try dunking a piece of stollen in ghee, it will change your world. What is the best dish you have prepared with ingredients sourced from Waterfront Market? I love using local fish from the Waterfront Market. There are so many underrated fish that people are not aware of because all people know is salmon, seabass and seabream. You should try local fish like biya, fasker, sultan ibrahim, and naizer, and my favourite is red hamour. The best dish I made was a banana leaf-wrapped fillet of red hamour, cooked in an iron skillet, served with spinach rice and saffron and sumac cream sauce, all sourced from Waterfront Market. What is the best dish to try at your restaurant? The blackout samosa, it is a unique way to put a world-renowned snack such as a samosa into a completely different perspective, I would like to say it is ‘traditionally, non-traditional’. It has got your traditional butter chicken gravy enclosed in a traditional samosa pastry, but it is made of charcoal flour, which is completely non-traditional in Indian cuisine.