I first met Shubham when he was working at Wasabi by Morimoto at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Delhi. I had the privilege to be dining with Marryam H Reshii who was, shall we say, ‘researching,’ for the Times of India Food Awards. Needless to say, all those elements combined to ensure that we had a truly wonderful evening. I next met him during a wonderful stay at The Lodhi, Delhi, he had moved to Yokoso and I had the opportunity to have some really good chats with him. The restaurant scene in India is now unrecognisable from 20 or even 10 years ago when, outside of hotels, there were very few dining options. It has been an exciting time foodwise in India and the opportunities for chefs like Shubham to follow their dreams, no longer a dream.
- Who you are (naturally!)
An inquisitive person who has more ‘why’s’ to ask than ‘because ‘ to answer. Humble, considerate and empathetic being who believes in little joys of life and joy of feeding. A believer of “yukti yuktaṃ pragṛhṇīyāt bālādapi vicakṣaṇaḥ
raveraviṣayaṃ vastu kiṃ na dīpaḥ prakāśayet.” (The wise should learn to accept wisdom from anybody, even from a child. Doesn’t the small night lamp light up things which the sun cannot?)
- What inspired you to join your business?
The idea of togetherness always has one thing in common which is food or its preparation, from making pickles or cooking family feasts or meals have always caught my attention. The notion that everyone has different palate and satiate everyone’s palate with your creativity is what got my interest established for cooking. The joy of feeding, what nature has to offer, how food and food habits change every few miles inspired me to do what I fondly do.
- An anecdote which epitomizes your India?
Unity in diversity, a place where different cultures co-exist in a land of multicoloured landscapes ranging from tall mountains to fertile plains, from desserts to mangroves and pristine lakes to the salty oceans. Difficult situations have unified us.
- One thing that you can’t live without?
My support system, my family and the special people in my life who have been with me through my highs and lows.
- One thing that you hate?
Pretentious people, there’s nothing more tiring than being the person you are not.
- If you could change one thing about India what would it be?
Over population, we are being prone to something of whose solution seems far sighted.
- Who is your greatest inspiration?
My family, sounds cliché however they are the ones who makes you find the best in you.
- What is your favourite quote?
Whatever you are, be a good one.
- I have noticed huge changes in India over the last few years but what is the biggest change you have noticed in India over the last 10 years?
Risk taking, we have over the years seen a boost of confidence amongst India’s workforce regardless of their age. The idea of being self-reliant and work towards your passion has been flourishing in India.
- What do you think are the biggest challenges India faces over the next ten years?
Climate change impact, India’s landscape is prone to severe outcomes of the climate change. Delayed rains to increased Air quality index are the repercussions of the disrespect to Mother Nature.
- Which is the destination at the top of your bucket list?
Explore the unexplored India and then Japan.
- What is the one place you visited that you have NO desire to return to?
The touristy places of Himachal Pradesh, they lack authenticity of the actual beauty of the place.
- Book or Movie?
Movie, books only if they have recipes in it.
- Just for fun! I am doing a survey to find India’s most popular breakfast, what is yours?
Stuffed Parathas with white butter and masala tea.
- In retrospect, what is the one thing you wish you could have told your 20 year-old self?
Though I am still in my 20’s, but I would say don’t be hard on yourself, just follow your heart and everything will fall in place.