Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

Face-to-face with chef Kaizad Patel


By Prachi Sibal

“It’s laced with a flavour of mint and coriander, and a little hint of other spices that go into our regular cooking,” he explains with careful attention laid on every spice, its procurement and the means of cooking. Chef Kaizad Patel, who was in town to start Jashn-e-Khordan, the Parsi food festival at GRT Grand, pays no less attention to details in his food than an artist to his piece of art.

Into the fourth generation of catering Parsi food in the family, he has a degree in culinary sciences and a background of having worked in the orders of The Trident Oberoi and The Ritz. “Ive tried all sorts of cuisines, and I always knew I’d come back to Parsi cuisine,” he says, proud to be taking his cuisine into a land he has never been to before. “This is the first time I have come to Chennai and I like the response I have received,” says Kaizad.

Having lived a passion in cuisine, Kaizad decided to go back to his roots and join the catering business his family has run in Mumbai over generations.

In Chennai with a team of three cooks, he has managed to create an elaborate spread, while the chefs at Copper Point watched in amazement. Seetharam Prasad, director- Culinaire, GRT Grand admits, “We have a lot to learn from him. He is only 31 and driven towards his passion. The festival has been an experience for the entire team.”

Parsi cuisine is a hefty main course with a variety of meats. A vegetarian himself, he has taken Parsi cuisine into being a delight for fellow vegetarians.

“Parsi food is all about the flavours, sweet, sour and rich, all interwoven, and has its inspiration from all the cultures Parsis have been influenced by,” he says.

Perfection being his forte, he insists on supervising every creation and keeping it authentic, minus the little twists in the way its being served. “I let people take their freedom with the way my food is being presented. Custard has probably never been presented the way it’s been done here, with carved grapes and a piece of kiwi fruit on top of it,” he says with a laugh.