Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

Meet Chef Delzad Khurshed Avari whose signature dish is the barbecued pulled pork

Chef Delzad Avari’s pulled pork is one for all seasons: it can be cuddled between breads, bundled in rotis or tucked in with rice.

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Delzad Avari, 30, wanted to cook since the time he couldn’t reach the stove. “I was brought up in a typical Parsi family, which loves their food and alcohol,” he says. So much so, that it was the family business 60 years ago. Between 1937 and 1963, Aden (in today’s Yemen) was a British colony and a trading powerhouse, and functioned like the Dubai airport: it earned its coin through duty-free shopping. Avari’s grandfather ran a food-hall there, selling everything from alcohol to biscuits to cold cuts. Even today, two showcases in Avari’s house are filled with memorabilia from that time: dozens of bottle openers, a horse from Courvoisier brandy, Johnnie Walker statues and Tiger beer glasses.

Article Ekta Mohta|Mid-Day

35812671_10157528738218047_7119004783855271936_n“In that atmosphere, there was no doubt that I would become a chef.” After Avari did his grand diplôme from Le Cordon Bleu in culinary arts in London, a string of high-profile workstations followed, including at Gili Lankanfushi Maldives, where he was chef de partie, and he learnt “the core of cooking good sauces, with stocks boiling for 16 hours.” And later, in Trinidad and Tobago, first at Hilton and then at Krave, a fine-dining restaurant, where he was “exposed to cooking large cuts of meat: whole striploins, rib-eyes, pork loins, smoked briskets. We would smoke the brisket for 12 to 14 hours.” After relocating to Mumbai in 2017, and cooking for pleasure, Avari started his own catering service, Del’z Kitchen, two months ago. The heart of his menu is the shoulder of a pig.

“My signature dish is the barbecued pulled pork. I make my own barbecue sauce. I think the only proprietary items that I use in it are soya sauce and ketchup. I make my own spice rub as well. I cook the pork in the sauce for around seven to eight hours, so when it comes out of the oven, it is literally pulling apart.” From 2-3 kilos, Avari sells 10-12 kilos a week today. “So, I decided, why am I doing just pulled pork? There’s a million things I could do. I started doing whole-roasted chicken, chicken legs, lasagna, pork chops, chicken breast stuffed and wrapped with bacon, buffalo tenderloin, buffalo bulgogi — if you ask my clients, they’ll tell you that it [his bulgogi] isn’t chewy at all — and a whole lot of sides like silky mashed potatoes and roasted potatoes.”

The side dishes, in fact, may be the only herbivorous items on his menu. “I don’t mind cooking vegetarian, [in fact] it’s easy to cook. But, I’ve been born and brought up around meat and I’ve dealt with fantastic produce from all over the world. In a Parsi house, even French beans or dal will have chicken or pieces of mutton.” At the same time, Avari isn’t betrothed to his menu. “If someone wants something different, I can do it for them, like someone asked me to do a keto version. Now I’m also looking at introducing a Christmas menu: chicken stuffed with dried fruits, slathered with herbed butter, with options for sauces: mushroom gravy or giblet gravy with liver or fresh cranberry sauce.”

Since sauces are Avari’s bread and butter, a Christmas meal from his stove is a mighty fine idea.

To place an order, call Avari on +91 88798 10224.