Executive chef Asit Kundu with his organic herbs in Ranchi on Friday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
If you are a Simon and Garfunkel fan, you’ll hum to “parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme”. If you are a foodie, you’ll look forward to a flavour platter at the capital’s Hotel Capitol Residency.
Executive sous chef Asit Kundu last week planted organic herbs in 400 pots on the luxury hotel’s rooftop to add authentic flavours to continental dishes this winter.
Along with these herbs, Kundu who is already using basil, celery, black cherry tomato, broccoli and Chinese cabbage, is also awaiting a harvest of fennel, bay leaves and lettuce.
Kundu, who’s a fan of garden-fresh flavours like any chef worth his signature touch, swears by herbs.
“They make a world of difference. They lift an ordinary dish from the normal to the sublime,” he exulted.
“There is nothing like using fresh ingredients and it doesn’t get better than picking the choicest of vegetables and herbs from our own garden. There’s a world of difference in grilled chicken and different soups. I also use celery and parsley for garnishing,” added the young chef with the green thumb.
He expects all the herbs to be in full bloom by January.
“You’ll taste the difference in the New Year,” he said.
He also added that the hotel earlier used to purchase all herbs from New Delhi.
“It was a costly affair, flying the herbs down here. But we couldn’t compromise on taste. Then, I took the initiative and went the organic way right on our terrace,” Kundu said, adding that the seedlings were procured from Telco nursery.
Interestingly, gardening has been Kundu’s childhood hobby.
“This passion drove me to start the kitchen garden over here, with focus on organic food. This is also popular with our guests,” he explained.
He added that connoisseurs of continental food in the capital looked forward to the herbs in their favourite dishes.
“Our guests are a knowledgeable lot. They’ve been exposed to eating joints in the Indian metros as well as abroad. They look for the authentic touch,” added the chef who has recently also penned Top Chef, a recipe book of signature dishes.