“I was fixated to the idea of learning and practicing how to cook for others to express myself ” Niyati comes from a family of gastronomes where everything revolves around food. She adds “I remember an incident when I was a little girl, a cold December morning at the Tsukiji market in Tokyo and I was walking around the bustling market with my father, we went to a quaint sushi restaurant that was flooded with people and my father insisted on making me try the fatty tuna (o-toro) nigiri along with everything that was best in season. Seeing the skillful work of the chef, serving each of his customers with utmost love, respect and pride with which he was also handling the food and the ingredients really astounded me, keeping in mind his attention to detail for ingredients in terms of seasonality. I was fixated to the idea of learning and practicing how to cook for others to express myself the same way so many people who I knew or who I observed did. I realized that it was an art form, an ability that had the power to make people happy. Since then I knew this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.” She was in love, she found her passion, and nothing else mattered more. After that she was engulfed in the world of food, ingredients, cooking. She saw the same things in a very different light. She would borrow cookbooks from the library and steal some from her mother’s collection, read culinary encyclopedias written by the masters of the gourmet world, would research on ingredients and cooking techniques in different places, explore and try more food of my own country being so diverse, flavorful and vibrant. She realized how strong the language of food is from the humble warmth of a meal made by a mother to an incredible gourmet experience presented by an expert chef, all of this has touched lives in some way. Something in her changed for the better, it was the fact that she understood the deep ingrained truth that food is sacred, it is more than just nourishment and finally she entered the kitchen and never looked back.
WG May 2019 -