The Wordrobe’s founder Sophie Ritchie gets up close and professional with Dayashankar Sharma, Head Chef at Grand Trunk Road in South Woodford
When it comes to cooking, Dayashankar Sharma is all about ‘quality, simplicity and passion.’ We sat down with him to find out more about what it takes to reach the top – and why he can’t resist his mum’s home cooking.
What inspired you to become a chef? Where did you train?
My mother’s cooking has been my utmost joy and inspiration to this day. Being the only son in the family, she thoroughly spoiled me and always cooked the food I enjoyed the most. She spent lots of time in the kitchen making sure that everyone in the family was well fed and healthy.
My genuine love for food continued to inspire me, eventually leading me to select my career path and eventually attending catering college to complete a Hospitality degree. It was here when I was fortunate enough to be selected as Kitchen Trainee to the Oberoi Group.
This was the first time I acknowledged that my understanding of technique surpassed that of those who joined with me at that time, which spurred me on to continue and keep learning as much as I could.
Do you have any culinary heroes?
My first hero is my mum, closely followed by my very talented wife. Professionally, there are a few legends in India, but at the very top of my list is chef Satish Arora; the highly acclaimed chef in India and around the world, definitely my guru!
Describe your cooking philosophy in three words
Quality, simplicity and passion.
What’s next on the cards?
To continue putting my best efforts into Grand Trunk Road being recognised with the highest accolades; AA Rosette, Michelin Guide and Wish. I want us to be the first Indian restaurant outside London to have one Michelin star.
What food takes you back to childhood?
Home-cooked vegetarian food, always shared with friends
What’s playing on your kitchen soundtrack?
Usually, I find that soft instrumental music keeps everyone relaxed; it helps with handling the pressure and remaining focused
What’s your favourite comfort food dish?
My mother’s Kadi parkora & rice vegetable dumplings cooked in yoghurt sauce served with steamed basmati rice.
Name us three of your favourite restaurants
Qulion, Cinnamon Club & Zuma.
What has been the toughest challenge of your career so far?
I have been quite lucky throughout my career, When you work hard and plan ahead of time, I find that things always fall in place when they should.
What would you say to aspiring chefs?
Approach the kitchen with open mind and be VERY prepared to work hard, long hours. Do one thing at a time and learn it to perfection, while remaining true to your Passion for cooking. Shortcuts are never a good thing, they keep you from getting to the top!