Before becoming Head Chef at the much-loved Greystones restaurant, the Delhi-born Dinesh trained at the Pusa Institute Of Technology, making his way here via the kitchens of some of India’s most-renowned hotels – including The Oberoi, The Imperial, The Vatica and The Hyatt – as well as a stint in chilly Norway.
Where the bitter cold helped aclimatise Dinesh for his move to Ireland, joining Jaipur in 2003. With his wife and 2 children – aged 4 and 6 – back in India, Dinesh dedicates pretty much every day of his life here to Chakra’s latest menu.
And that got GG to wondering – just what is a typical day for Chef Dinesh in these lockdown days…?
8am: Wake up shower and pray (I am a devout Hindu).
8.30am: Call my wife and 2 kids in India; my son is 6 and my little girl is 4. It is hard to be away from them all the time but thankfully with whatsapp we can spend some time together.
Afterwards I go for a walk and clear my head, and think about my family and our conversation. Then I start to plan the day ahead, such as what special we can put on the menu, what was the best selling dish, and what new dishes and flavours we can introduce to our customers?
12pm: I arrive at the restaurant, switch on the ovens, start my shift with a nice hot elaichi (cardamon) chai. I get into my chef’s gear and make a checklist of what we need to prep for our menu for the coming night. Every day I allocate a station to each of the chefs – some go on starters, some on tandoor, some deserts. We try to mix them around so they learn all the different functions and dishes of the kitchen.
12.30pm: All the staff arrive, observing all the Covid procedures. We are very fortunate that unlike other restaurants, we have a large kitchen – so, social distancing is not an issue for our chefs.
1pm: Deliveries come in and I personally have to check them all, from meat to fish to veg, making sure that they are compliant with health and safety and they meet our own very high standards in freshness and quality. If it doesn’t, it goes straight back onto the truck.
1.30pm: Every restaurant has their own blend of spices which are the base of their unique dishes. I am very particular about my blends; I make them myself from my own trusted suppliers.
2pm: All prep for the starters – such as making our batters, our doughs, our marinades, our deserts – needs to be done before the service begins at 5pm.
4pm: Just like with our customers, the best way for our staff to get to know each other and to experience our menus is to eat together, whilst maintaining social distancing at all time. The kitchen preps a meal – biryani and dal are the team’s favourites – and we sit together to eat and discuss the world around us, what’s happening in our lives and, most importantly, our shared love of food. After we clear our meal away, we start on the evening.
5pm: Service starts and the madness begins. Every dish is individually prepared by order. Some have special requests, some have allergies and some are not even on the menu, but we cater for all of our customers’ many tastes. It is my job to ensure that all orders match the meal that is prepared. It is also my job to ensure that each dish meets the very high standards that we have worked so hard to achieve. I am the last person to check the order before it leaves the kitchen.
During Covid, even though the restaurant is closed, the kitchen is as busy as ever, with deliveries and the click-and-collect service ensuring all orders meet the same high standards as we would if the restaurant was open.
10pm: After the madness we make the orders by phone and by email from our suppliers for the next day. We also prep some of the bases of our dishes for the next day.
11pm: The paper work is completed – such as our health and safety checks (HACCAP) – and we deep clean the kitchen from top to bottom. Make sure everything is labelled properly and stored at the perfect temperature.
12.30am: Home in Greystones. I love to sit down with a nice glass of wine or cold beer and catchup with my friends and family again, telling them all about my day in Chakra and my life in Greystones.
Be the holy, talk about dedication. And devotion.
And being the kind man that he is, Chef Dinesh has supplied two of recipes below, for GG readers to make and enjoy at home…
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