Chefs Who Share is a platform where young Chefs share their passion for food and creativity. Akhil is one of these young Chefs with big dreams to make his mark on the culinary world. We spent a few minutes getting to know him a little better.
Growing up, I was always around my granny. She would call me to the kitchen to help her stir and chop, and that’s what started my passion. Eventually, I began to take over and make the dishes myself. It became a big part of me. My granny was so proud of me. That’s why I studied Hospitality Management at high school and chose to study at the International Hotel School. I love cooking. And my granny is definitely my inspiration.
Gordon Ramsay! Although I am a softie, I just really like him a lot. I also enjoy George Calombaris from Australian MasterChef. He’s very critical and very funny at the same time. I get a lot of inspiration from him. I actually met him personally at the Good Food & Wine Show. I was his assistant and he was so down-to-earth.
It was tough actually – I used to get teased a lot! My friends used to tell me I would be the wife when I grow up. I didn’t let it get to me – nothing could distract me from my passion.
On any given day there is a lot of stuff that I struggle with – things that go through my mind. I have a lot going on, but when I am in the kitchen my focus is on my food. It comforts me; makes me feel happy.
I would say desserts and curries. I am good with playing with spices. Initially, I used to shy away from desserts, but now I actually enjoy it – I want to make desserts!
Funny and happy – with an occasional anger problem (Laughs). When I do get angry, they will tell me to take my long walk to freedom. So, I will go outside, calm down and then feel better.
Oh yes. If it’s not right, I will send it back. My friends laugh at me, they will ask me: "What’s wrong with the food this time?"
Anything to do with prawns. Growing up, my family was obsessed with prawns. Over time I have learnt how to make a lot of different dishes with prawns and it’s become one of my favourite dishes.
I have really enjoyed working in the test kitchen here at Unilever Food Solutions. It allows me to be creative and play. In time, I’d like to come back here and continue working in the test kitchen.
I used to be very awkward and shy. I am a much more happy-go-lucky guy now. I’ve realised that it is best to be happy. When I see people are stressed or angry, I try my best to make them smile and relax. In a previous job they actually called me “Smiley”. I am a happy person, and I like everyone to be happy around me.
Me or my mom. But we often fight, because when she cooks, I am always telling her what to do. She will scold me and then I will scold her. She will tell me to back off in her kitchen and then I will laugh at her. We do play around.
But I will never just make something traditionally. I always like to spice my dishes up, be creative. My family enjoys it!
I would say my granny. She was very close to me and was more like a mother. She actually looked after me from when I was small until I got to Matric. She passed away in my last year of college and did taste some of my stuff. But at the time I was still finding myself and now that I have a clearer picture of who I am, I would love to get her opinion on my cooking.