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Komal Panwar

Blogger & Singer

The Chef To The President Of India Reveals JWB The Secret From His Mom’s Kitchen

  • JWB Post
  •  November 1, 2016


How many chefs does it take to change a light bulb? 16, and of different descents!

When I reached Rambagh Palace all shabby with Photographer Akshit, I was pretty sure I was supposed to behave in a sophisticated manner, because, yes sire, it’s scary to talk to 16 grand chefs of the world’s most exclusive gastronomic society, ‘Le Club Des Chefs des Chefs.’ The name itself sounds so suave, right?

I carried my newly-acquired-humor in my pocket (thank you, 9GAG) and presumed it would be my only chance at surviving. I sat there, in the Suvarna Mahal, occupying the chairs in the center, and that’s when the chefs came pouring in. Akshit and I loosened up when one of them said, “We eat, we cook, we sleep. Heck, I want to sleep right now.”

Phew, thanks for breaking the ice, chef. Enter the Rambagh Palace General Manager, and founder CCC Gilles Bragard, who joined Mark Flanagan (The Great Britain) and Christian Garcia (Monaco) in the panel. All the chefs were wearing vibrant and colorful turbans!

Mr. Bragard introduced himself and the CCC, “When I founded the CCC, my ambition was to pay tribute to the chefs of the heads of the state: these legendary figures who work behind the scenes. Every year since 1977, I have sought to bring them together across the world to give them the opportunity to experience the gastronomy of the host country and discuss the major trends in cooking with fellow chefs. As they are aware of the role that these chefs play in the international diplomatic relations, heads of state have been quick to support our Club by officially receiving every one of our meetings.

The grand chefs introduced themselves, and I had to ask Mark Flanagan a question everyone would ask him. Trust me, had you been there you’d do it, too.

Me: Hi Chef Mark, what should I eat to get your beautiful accent?

Chef Mark: (Laughs) Well, I’ve stayed most of my life in London, and that’s probably why I’ve got this accent! You could maybe try some local food in London, maybe the Fish & Chips, and you’d get what you’re looking for.

Blimey, I think I got it! Right, Akshit?” I asked him.


After I met Christian Garcia, Chef to the Prince of Monaco, I could, hands down, tell you that he’s the coolest chef I’ve ever met.

Me: Hi Christian, if you were to make someone fall in love with you, what love potion would you prepare for them?

Chef Christian: I’d like to work with the local vegetables/ products of the country, and it’s very important for us to do that! I’d prepare you a cold soup to begin. Maybe with some spices, followed by Sea Bass with fresh tomatoes, olives, and then I’d make some Lamb curry for you. Maybe some Passion fruit for dessert.

Wow, thank you, Chef! Guess what?! He gave me a rose, too! Aaaaaaah! I guess I’ll have to visit Monaco, the place with such perfect gentlemen! *Wink*

I moved on to talk to Chef Cristeta Comedord. She is a Filipino-American chef who has been the White House Executive Chef since 2005. She is the first woman & first person of the Asian descent to hold the post.

Me: There are very few lady chefs across the world. How would you inspire women from around the world to take it up the profession in this male-dominated industry?

Chef Cristeta: First of all, gender should not be an issue. It’s all about your expertise, how you deal with people, and how your temperament is! Because, you know, we’re under so much pressure all the time. It’s not like we’re biased against any gender. I’m just following someone else’s footsteps. I’m the third female member of this club. So, yeah, my goal is, not just to be a role model for other women chefs out there, but for all the aspirants in general.

That’s a great answer, Chef Cristeta. I think it’s important for us to eliminate the gender quotient, and slowly things will begin to get easier.

When I met Chef Montu Saini, who is Pranab Mukherjee’s Executive chef, he explained how the entire process works at the President’s office.

Chef Montu: I’m definitely under a lot of pressure since there is a hierarchy that is followed. I’ve to make sure that the fifty people who are preparing food are doing it all right. Before the food gets served, I’ve to taste everything and make sure it matches the optimum quality and meets the taste of the President.

Yes, Chef, that does sound like a lot of pressure. Chef Montu also shared a secret that he stole from his mom’s kitchen.

Love. Everything you cook, just add your love and compassion to it, and there’ll be nothing more delicious.

I think it is essential that I always have chefs around me. They are really the happiest people in the world.

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