This Mumbai Chefpreneur Believes in Taking 'Right Feedback' from HRs, Architects
This Mumbai Chefpreneur Believes in Taking 'Right Feedback' from HRs, Architects

Having housed itself in Bandra’s heart four years ago, Eddie’s Bistro & Bar is the brainchild of Nishant Mitra, Head Chef and Head of Operations at the restaurant. Chef Nishant Mitra started his journey long back in 2004 from one of the oldest and iconic names ‘Leopold Café & Bar, Colaba.

Deriving inspiration from his travels to various local restaurants at destinations like Spain, Italy and France, his forte is deconstructing a single ingredient into different dishes and recreating a sphere of whole new flavours. 

Nishant is also an entrepreneur; he is armed with multiple skills from handling construction, maintaining staff, menu purchase, license issues. He feels having your own venture is a whole game of responsibilities that he enjoys thoroughly.

Chef Mitra’s innovative palate will leave you spellbound inside out, his formula of mixing health with savour in the form of his new ‘Flavor Travel’ menu each dish closely designed and curated with his kitchen team.

Walking in the culinary industry at the age of 15, Nishant grew up in a family with an army background. Nishant was bitten by the hospitality bug and he enrolled at the IHMA (Taj School of culinary arts), went on to work at Taj Lands End, Mumbai and Dish hospitality.

In Pics: 14 Famous Chefs Name Their Favourite Dishes

He is also the winner of the best new entry-level Times Food awards 2015. He started his entrepreneurial journey with a bed and breakfast concept called ‘Drifters Inn’ in Manali.

In an exclusive interview with Restaurant India, Nishant Mitra, Head Chef and Head of Operations, Eddie’s Bistro speaks about what it's like to be a chef and entrepreneur.

A Slice of Nishant Mitra’s Culinary Journey

I was not good at school, of course (laughs off), and hated to study. I started a summer job with Leopold Café just to make some extra cash and be engaged; it was a 10th standard summer break. I had just approached the owners. I knew English and had knowledge of Computers. People from Taj would visit Leopold a lot. I got introduced by them and got to know about the culinary institute in Aurangabad, where one can pursue Honours in the culinary degree. I discovered, then, that kitchen is nice and engaging. It requires a lot of practice. You are feeding people. Once you are in the kitchen and the work starts, you cannot stop feeding people; you can’t deny anyone. That’s how I discovered the love for kitchen and restaurants.

Must Read: 10-Step Checklist To Open A Bistro In Mumbai

What is it like being a chef and an entrepreneur?

It's like starting alone then creating a family step-by-step and it catches along. 

Your cooking style?

Freestyle European. I am quite open about my cuisines. We don’t follow trends; last year Quinoa was a rage, we didn’t go along with it. Instead, we like to do a lapsi or millet, which is more Indian.

What are the essentials that need to be taken care of when managing the kitchen of a restaurant?

Water usage, gas or electricity usage, proper garbage separation and hygiene.

Your idea behind the menu-planning for Eddie’s Bistro? 

It involves more childhood memories, dishes which are forgotten or good old cooking styles. 

What should be the element of uniqueness in the food menu? How do you like to impress your consumers when it comes to food? 

We keep things simple and work around smartly. That’s what makes our menu unique. I don't know about impressing my guests but, at Eddie’s, we are totally honest about our love for food. 

Travelling is a major part for me absorbing like a punch. I like to go around like any other chef and discover. But when I come back I start working on how to introduce what I learnt keeping my people on the mind; we are serving Indians at last. I focus on how to keep both things alive in the same dish.

I don’t generally take reviews or feedback from the people who are in and around the industry, like critics, bloggers or other related people; they are very ahead. I like to talk to GMs of hospitals, architects, musicians, HR managers or artists – they give me the right feedback. I get to know what is their palate. Our taste and palate go beyond, for example, I like runny eggs, a lot of Indians may not like it. People like HRs or the general managers tell me what kind of flavours they love – they might like Spanish but won’t like raw fish. Then we like to incorporate such suggestions in our menu.

Eddie’s is a very neighbourhood-friendly bistro. It’s not a very high-end restaurant; people come from all the directions. Even if someone comes to me and tells me that he wants to have southern Kochi colonial food, I would work on getting those flavours.

Keeping health, hygiene and price on the mind, five tips and tricks to design a menu for a bistro in India

- Be honest with menu

- Keep it simple

- It should be Seasonal

- Environment-friendly products

- You Must be Team leader

Your signature dishes

Fig chutney, goat cheese olive, Vol Au Vents, Creole spice pasta pops. 

Tip to aspiring chefs

You need to understand it is not the love or passion about food but you must value things what you have in life. Like value whatever you get to eat, don’t crib about it or be choosy. You need to be really open about all these ingredients. Nowadays, there are many chefs who want to use heavy ingredients, expensive things, Japanese knives, etc, but they might not know the worth or the return of it. I would say start from basic and then only you can be a good chef. You need to be open-minded, for example, that you don’t need tomatoes from Italy to make the best sauce. You should know how to treat the tomatoes to make a good sauce.

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