Interview with Tushar Tondvalkar

Vancouver is home to some of the best chefs in the world, many have worked for the top chefs and restaurants around the world as well as around the city. Dishing with the Chefs is a series of Interviews with some of the top chefs in and around Vancouver.

Chef Tushar Tondvalkar

Tushar began his culinary career attending culinary school for a 3 year program in Mumbai, India in 2007. After 1 year in the program he was sent to do his 4 month internship to Busch Gardens amusement park in Williamsburg, Virginia where he cooked in one of the German style restaurants/bakeries. He had a choice of where he could go for his internship, he wanted to go to the USA. After he completed his studies in 2010, he returned to the USA for a 1 year internship at the Red Jacket Resort in New Hampshire. After this year, he returned to India where he learned about a 1 year hospitality program in Canada, he then applied and was accepted to this post graduate program in Hospitality and Tourism Management in Niagara Falls (food costing, menu development etc). After he completed his studies he decided to move to Vancouver, this was in 2013. In February 2013 he worked at Cactus Club English Bay before joining the Fish House as its Sous Chef, a position he held for 1-1/2 years before the restaurant closed. After this he got a stag at Bauhaus Restaurant with Chef Stefan and worked with him for 6 months. After this he went to Blue Water Café for 1 year as Chef de Partie 2015-2016. Tushar moved on to work at West Oak as Sous Chef, creating new dishes there for almost a year. He saw a video through Instagram of an internship that was being offered by notable Chef Gaggan in Thailand, he contacted him, applied and was accepted. He than travelled to Bangkok and worked at Chef Gaggan’s two Michelin star restaurant for 2 months with another month at Restaurant Gaa, his other restaurant which had one Michelin star. He returned to Vancouver in February 2018. Hearing from his friend Shreyash was planning to open a new Indian restaurant, he accepted his offer to become head chef which he did starting at Mumbai Local in downtown Vancouver in August 2018.

You can follow Chef Tushar Tondvalkar on Instagram @never.trust.a.skinny.chef

You went to Mumbai recently and tasted food made by your friends moms, Why?

I wanted to learn from home cooks not the restaurants, it is where the most unique Indian dishes are developed. I first learned about Koli cuisine (also known as Fisherman’s cuisine) where they eat rice roti; I also learned about Gujarati cuisine, the state of Gujarat, in western India which is primarily a vegetarian state due to the influence of Jain vegetarianism; they don’t use onion, garlic, ginger in their cooking, I learned from my girl friend’s grandmother. I then travelled to Rajasthan and learned Rajasthani cuisine from two families.

What type of Rajasthani dishes did you learn?

Laal Maas (famous goat dish) and Dal Bati Churma are the most famous dishes from the state. I also learned how to make stone ground chutneys and roti by cornmeal in a charcoal pan.

 

What are your favourite ingredients to cook with?

Turmeric

Coconut

Goat

Okra

Eggplant

What are your favourite cuisines to eat?

Vietnamese

Thai

1st dish:

Murg Malai Kebab

Murg Malai Kebab

Chicken

Gnger garlic paste

Green chili

Kasturi methi

Cream

Salt

Chat masala

Cilantro stems

Inspiration:

From a restaurant in Jaipur, MM Khan (near Hawa Taghal)

What is your favourite food to eat after work?

Burger

What are you favourite restaurants in Vancouver outside of where you work?

Crowbar

AnnaLena

Elisa

Hawksworth

What do you like to do in your Off time?

Be in nature

Camping

Cooking on campfire

Hiking

 

2nd dish:

Stuffed Eggplant

Stuffed Eggplant

Bulb eggplant

Mustard seeds

Cumin seeds

Onions

Tomatoes

Ginger

Garlic

Turmeric

Chili powder

Coriander powder

Cumin powder

Malvani masala

Caramelized coconut

Salt

Inspiration:

Malvani cuisine and my grandmother

Who are your Mentors?

Chef Curtis Demyon

What Challenges you in Cooking in an Indian restaurant?

How to put a great looking dish up, usually curries which are known to be plated in a bowl. Now I am roasting and using other techniques for plating my dishes.

What is your favourite Food city around the world?

Mumbai

3rd dish:

Moong Dal Ke Kebab

Moong Dal Ke Kebab

Green moong dal

Ginger

Garlic

Cumin

Chilli powder

Onions

Cilantro

Salt

Turmeric

Inspiration:

Chef Yugank Chopra

What is your second favourite Food city around the world?

Bangkok

Tell me about Tasting Menus and Why you Love them

It is more challenging to deliver a message to a tasting menu that it is for just regular dishes. Each region or state of India has a different cuisine and dishes and would be a tasting menu on its own.

Beer or Wine?

Beer

Which dish off your Menu at Mumbai Local would pair well with Beer?

Kombadi Wade (chicken dish)

Stay tuned for the next chef in the Dishing with the Chef series.

By: Richard Wolak