KINGS OF THE KITCHEN
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- Published 5.06.10
|Nitin and Anuj Madan. Pictures by Rashbehari Das|
Just about everyone in Calcutta must have had their fill of treats from Chicky Madan’s kitchen by now. The family-run catering concern has been serving its traditional masaledar north-Indian dishes and pop picks from Calcutta’s other favourite cuisines since 1945. The business, started by Chicky Madan, is now in its third generation with the junior Madans, the youngest being 25-year-old Anuj, leading the team of chefs along with father Nitin (Chicky’s son).
“We have established goodwill in the market and this has upheld our reputation amongst club members,” says Nitin. Brothers Uday and Anuj, both ex-hoteliers, have built on their experience by incorporating professionalism into the business. Before the younger Madans joined their father, Nitin opened a restaurant called Chicky’s at Dover Road in 2005. Though the restaurant had to be closed due to manpower constraints, with their outdoor club catering arm going great guns, the focus soon shifted to the social hubs of the city.
The newest feather in the cap of club ventures is The Saturday Club, where the Madans will be exclusive caterers for the soon-to-open eatery, The Family Nook Restaurant. Chinese, Thai, Italian and select Mediterranean delicacies will be on the multi-cuisine menu. The kitchen is already up and running, serving to members wherever on the grounds they happen to be lounging. “The response has been pretty good so far. Even after the restaurant opens we will continue to serve everywhere in the club. That way members can enjoy a meal in their favourite corner,” says Anuj.
The Chicky Madan chefs are not new to the Wood Street address, having fed the famished hordes at the Inter Club Sports Carnival, and also being one of the empanelled members on the Club’s party caterer roster. Saturday Club president Utpal Singh Roy finally approached the Madans to man the kitchen full-time after a satisfying meal at The Tollygunge Club’s Tipu Sultan Room.
The Madans have been running the Tolly Club restaurant since 1996, starting out with their signature Indian items, adding Chinese and Thai options in due course. Chicky’s momo counter also has pride of place in the Shamiana, where the steamed dumplings are a hot favourite for evening tea or a pre-dinner snack. “We started out as the club’s first outdoor caterers in the early 70s and the Tolly connect has been very strong since then,” says Nitin. Just about every big club night — Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, weddings, corporate events, private parties — has featured a Chicky Madan menu. Winter is the busiest season.
“For us, club catering has never been a venture in raking in the big bucks as our food is priced at very nominal rates. It is really about relationship building and customer satisfaction, which is our primary concern,” Nitin adds.
Other clubs in the Madan kitty include RCGC, CC&FC, The Calcutta Racket Club and Calcutta Rangers Club. Not just private parties, but many sporting events are also big in their portfolio. It is mainly for these large parties that the Madans have strayed from their north Indian staples to dabble in cuisines such as Lebanese, Arabian, Mexican, Bengali and Rajasthani.
To run a catering company on such a scale (a team of 30 people) is an exercise in logistics as much as anything else. There have been times when Chicky Madan Catering has been serving it up at four different clubs on the same night. “We had to take turns in supervising our teams all through the night, but we managed just fine,” Anuj signs off with a smile.
Chicky Madan Catering has long been associated with north-Indian food — kebabs, tadka dal, tandoori chicken, paneer butter masala — but with changing customer demands they have tried their hand at various other cuisines as well. Next time you drop by The Tollygunge Club or The Saturday Club, try out some of these best-seller items:
Tipu Sultan Room in The Tollygunge CLub
Bang Bang Chicken: Cubed chicken cooked in a mixture of three speciality sauces.
Veg Dim Sum: Steamed dim sums stuffed with finely chopped vegetables and served with hot garlic sauce.
The Saturday Club
Veggies Delight Pizza: Capsicum, sliced tomato and mushroom on a bed of cheese and pizza sauce.
Devil’s Crab: Flavoured crab cakes made from seasoned crabmeat.
Green Spaghetti Grandeur: Spaghetti in white and green spinach sauce.
Shikha Bhargava, 24, MEMBER OF TOLLY
“I find the food authentic and my personal favourite is the Crispy Konjee Lamb which tastes great with the Vegetarian Pan-Fried Noodles.”
20, MEMBER OF SAT C
“When I heard that The Saturday Club was getting a new food stop,
I decided to give the Veg Yakitori a try and it was pretty awesome.”
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