Five Minutes With Minesh Agnihotri

minesh

Minesh Agnihotri gave up a career in prosthetics to follow his dreams and open his very own restaurant, Indian Summer. We spoke to Minesh about the popular Brighton hotspot, which is now celebrating its 15th anniversary – as well as his proudest career moments, favourite midnight snacks and the inspiration behind his career change.

What inspired you to become a chef?
I would say my mum was my inspiration. She has always made amazing authentic regional Indian food, which encouraged me to start doing this professionally.

What has been the proudest moment in your career?
We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to cater for the Indian cricket team in Hove over four days. I was able to meet some of my childhood legends, which was amazing.

What is your favourite midnight snack?
A proper cheese sandwich!

If you weren’t a chef, which career would you like to pursue?
Before I had the restaurant, I was actually working in prosthetics. If I hadn’t decided to become a chef, I would still be pursuing that career.

What’s your favourite dish on the menu at Indian Summer?
Well… that’s a hard one! However, I think has to be Masala Dosa, as it was my family’s favourite dish growing up. My mum would soak the batter, and make it as a treat for our birthdays. Masala Dosa is a South Indian pancake with potato. It’s best served with coconut chutney and Sambhar, which is a South Indian dal.

Do you have any tips for aspiring chefs?
Cook with passion, know your customers and always try to be honest about your cooking and philosophy. Also, use fresh ingredients, keep it simple and always be you.

How would you describe your style of cooking?
My style of cooking is authentic regional Indian cuisine, married with innovation and some European styles of presentation.

What provides you with inspiration for the dishes on the menu?
Our chefs come from all over, so we use each other for inspiration! We also constantly research and practice, and regularly attend trade shows to expand our knowledge. We are generally also always looking for ideas when we visit other good restaurants and cafes.

Do you have any role models?
Vineet Bhatia is a great role model for me. He runs an amazing Indian restaurant called Rasoi in South London.

What food takes you back to childhood?
That has to be the street food from India when I was a kid! One of my favourite dishes was Batada Vada, a potato dumpling served with coriander chutney. If I have this now, it reminds me of waiting for a train in Jamnagar, Gujarat, as a child.

Tell us more about your culinary background…
I was inspired by five different Indian chefs we have employed over the years, who helped created my culinary style. I would like to think I understand the different styles of Indian food, so I incorporate these into my cooking.

To find out more about Minesh and Indian Summer, click here.

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