Cheer the Chefs

#TroublesomeDuo: Chef Ashay Dhopatkar and Chef Neha Lakhani


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A lot of chefs are highly passionate about their work but chefs who are fun loving pranksters too, are not quite common. Such rare chefs not only are perfectionists, have the ability to make awesome food but also rev up the jolly vibe around them.

Meet Chef Ashay & Chef Neha Lakhani, apart from being gastronomic geniuses, they also share great passion for cooking & baking and are extremely high-spirited too. Being chefs with vast international experience, they understand the demands & pressures of the culinary world so they came together to be a team and called themselves “Troublesome Duo”. They are a team who not only knows how to create gastronomical wonders with perfection but they love to keep the environment around them more energetic, happy & cheerful without compromising on work ethics or required discipline, enabling them to face the daily work challenges with a much more positive attitude.

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Chef Ashay Dhopatkar: Born and raised in Mumbai, India. A well educated chef who graduated from Institute of Hotel Management, Goa and has a Diploma in Culinary Arts from Hammersmith and West London College. Apart from this, he has done his MBA in Hospitality from University of Wales. Now he is Chef De Cuisine / Consultant, an entrepreneur, member of Experts Chefs panel at NDTV, Member of Chefs Table Saudi Arabia, Member of Indian Federation of Chefs Association. This young, handsome chef is a cool heartthrob & quite a chirpy person too.

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He has had the opportunity to work with some of the Legendary Culinary Greats and top Michelin Star Chefs like Austrian Chef Herbert Berger, 3 Michelin Star Chef Raymond Blanc of “Le Manoir Aux Quat Saison”, 2 Michelin Star Chef Shane Osborne of “Pied a Terre”, another 2 Michelin Star Chef John Campbell of “The Vineyards” apart from doing a brief “Stage” with world renowned Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay’s Savoy Grill at hotel Savoy where he was introduced first time to a multi-faceted kitchen and live interaction with the guests. He has also worked with Celebrity Chef Mark Hix at Tramshed in Shoreditch.

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After gaining wide experience with some of the culinary giants in the industry worldwide, Chef Ashay came back to India to share his experiences, create wonderful recipes with his vivid inspirations & imagination. He treats us all to sumptuous modern European food with classic French techniques which is his line of expertise. He is an ardent promoter of local produce. He has worked in the capacity of Head Chef at A Ta Maison but now at this point in his career, he started Troublesome Duo with Chef Neha Lakhani.

Chef Neha Lakhani: An Accounting & Finance graduate turned baker, an entrepreneur, teaching faculty at Le Cordon Bleu, India/ G.D Goenka School of Hospitality, an expert panelist at many new channels in India, awarded for her excellence in career and in culinary industry by The Indian federation of Culinary Association. This pretty chef wears many hats.

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Initially, she started working with her father, assisting him in his business but soon realised that she wanted to choose a line of work where she can be creative & innovative. Having baking as an interest already, she decided to join Le Cordon Bleu, Canada to pursue her interest and to enhance her baking skills. After graduating from the patisserie school, she made up her mind to take up baking as her profession.

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She had been trained under Chef Christian Faure and her biggest inspiration comes from Celebrity Chef Antonio Bachour. She is an artist who can spin gorgeous looking, incredibly delicious desserts and she has a knack of pampering people with her culinary magic. She feels that French desserts are much more fun to work with as they they are more balanced and she can play around with ingredients with low-calorie options to work with. She has currently paired with Chef Ashay to start the Troublesome Duo together as a team.

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To get a better insight into this young, energetic, innovative & highly talented “Troublesome Duo” Chef team, take a look at the questionnaire below:

Q:  Why did you choose to become a chef?

A: Chef Ashay-  I grew up near the first hotel management school in Mumbai, and always fancied wearing the chef whites!

Q: What inspired you both to start the “Troublesome Duo” venture together? 

A: Pastry & savory food are two inseparable yet diverse fields of the culinary arts – they both demand a distinct temperament of the chef! so we decided to pair these two elements and start the Troublesome Duo & since, when it comes to food we always take the trouble to right what’s wrong, and whip up all sorts of trouble in the process .. (pranksters that we both are! ) the name ‘Troublesome Duo’ just happened!

Q: Who are your role models in the industry?

A: Chef Ashay draws inspiration from Chef Marco Pierre white & Chef Neha’s role model is Chef Antonio Bachour.

Q: What is the most challenging thing you have done in your line of work so far?

A: Everyday brings along a new challenge and brews up some trouble. We take every service and assignment as a new challenge.

Q: What has been most rewarding moment so far?

A: Chef Ashay: The most rewarding moment has to be when Chef Mark Hix, came walking into my school kitchen demanding to know who had made the soup, and when I raised my hand, he said well done – when you finish schooling, come and see me!

Chef Neha: It was when I was teaching the students at LCB! It was an overwhelming feeling giving something back to the place that taught you so much.

Q: Which are the top 3 ingredients you love to cook with? What is your line of expertise? In which manner Troublesome Duo is different from other food services?

A: Chef Ashay: Eggs, butter and sea salt! The three pillars of great cooking!  The Troublesome Duo are the one stop solution to your Culinary troubles. We are young but experienced, strong headed but get the job done and get it done well!

Q: Being great chefs yourself, which chef would you like to cook with?

A: I would like to cook alongside Chef Marco Pierre white while Chef Neha would like to cook alongside Chef Antonio Bachour.

Q: How important is plating & presentation of a dish or dessert?

A: Plating and presentation is extremely important! However, presentation should be in cohesion with the dish – everything on the plate should be there for a reason.

Q: What advise will you give to the new comers in the industry?

A: There is no substitute to hard work and perseverance! No matter how many times you fail, you have to get up and fight back.

Lifestyle Questions:

Q: Which cuisine is your personal favourite? Which dish do you like to eat the most?

A: Chef Ashay: French! A classic bouillabaisse with an extra dash of Pastis.

A: Chef Neha: A simple classic Opera cake.

Q: What is your fitness mantra?

A: It’s hard to follow a rigid fitness schedule but I’d suggest a little bit of workout when you can find the time and drink lots and lots of water.

Q: Which is your favourite fashion brand?

A: Chef Ashay: Ralph Lauren & Tommy Hilfiger ; for Chef Neha H&M.

Q: Which is your favourite travel destination?

A:  Chef Ashay: Anyplace where I can do a bit of sport fishing and guzzle a pint of lager!!

Chef Neha: It’s Paris.

Q: What do you like to do in your spare time & what is your hobby?

A: Chef Ashay: I love reading and fishing whenever I can!

Chef Neha: Totally love watching movies & collecting pastry accessories.

We are so proud & happy that we have such young enterprising chefs with undying gastronomic passion, possess incredible culinary skills and have been blessed with the wealth of vast knowledge & experience, gained while working & training with some of the top chefs across the world.

With their own individualities, food philosophies & innovative minds, they make together a perfect team. As “Troublesome Duo” they bring forward some of the best global experiences in the culinary world, which are sheer delights for one & all. If you are a foodie, then look out for the Troublesome Duo food tasting events.


Post by: Parul Khanna / Appy Bistro

Picture courtesy: Chef Ashay & Chef Neha

Contact: Chef Ashay Dhopatkar / Troublesomeduo: +91-9971862602

Email: chefashaydhopatkar@gmail.com

 

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