November Chef Of The Month: Roshni Gurnani

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Chef Rosh PicNovember Chef Of The Month: Roshni Gurnani

I really have a great time interviewing various interviewees for the Chef of the Month. I am always excited to listen and learn about the various experiences of the featured chefs. This month, I interviewed Chef Rosh Goulidei.  . She is the first female Chef of the Month. While interviewing her, her passion and excitement for her craft is contagious. She has been a contestant on FOX Network’s “Hell’s Kitchen,” and The Food Network’s “Chopped,” in which she won first place! I was able to catch up with her to see what she’s been doing since her appearances on the shows and what new things she’s cooking up!

EWE. I have read you have cooked everywhere:  five-star hotels, various restaurants, and colleges.  What is your favorite cooking environment?

RG. I don’t have a favorite cooking environment. I have really enjoyed working at hotels. I always learn so much from working with an international staff. Even though I have to work long hours working at a hotel, I love serving and building relationships with guests.
But to be honest, I just love cooking, and it doesn’t matter where or what. As long as I’m doing what I love, I can be anywhere.

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EWE. Does the culinary scene in the USA differ from the culinary scene in Canada, and how?

RG. Yes.  I am originally from Toronto. The winters are very harsh, so being a chef, you have to know sometimes during the winter season you will not have certain products (i.e. strawberries).  And while cooking and creating menus for the fall season, you have to base the menu off of weather.  And you have to be prepared to get thrown curve balls. Your shipment of food may be delayed, and you still have be able to prepare your menu with no worries. It is challenging, but it’s exciting and you learn a lot.

EWE. What is your favorite dish to prepare, and why?

RG. I have dishes that people love for me to cook. But, personally, I don’t have a personal favorite. What I really enjoy is hanging out with friends. While everyone is saying there is no food and nothing to cook, I am able to prepare a four-course meal with food in the fridge and make something out of nothing.

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EWE. If you were scheduled for the electric chair tomorrow, what would be your last meal?

RG. Mom’s beans and rice. Red kidney with exotic spices over plain white rice: rajma. That is my comfort food. Words can’t describe how much I adore my mom’s rajma. And if i was going through an ordeal like that, there is nothing more I want to have than comfort food.

EWE. Why did you decide to tryout for “Chopped”?

RG. After spending countless nights screaming at the television about what ingredients other contestants should try, I decided to attend a casting, and they gave me an opportunity to showcase my talent. I am passionate about cooking, and I felt like being on the show would be fun, to say the least.

EWE. Were you surprised that you won?

RG. I was not surprised, but I was excited. I don’t want to sound prideful, but with any competition, you come to win. I came to win, and I accomplished my goal. I gave 100%, tried my best, and I won. I was happy to win.

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EWE. What is your biggest accomplishment so far in your career?

RG. The biggest accomplishment has to be my parents’ acceptance of my career choice. I come from a strict Indian family, and being in the culinary field was frowned upon and not really a respected career choice.

After fighting and going back and forth with my family regarding my career choice, there isn’t a greater feeling than having my family’s support. Not only were they nervous about my traveling, it meant the world for my family to accept my decision and be proud of me.

EWE. What can we expect from Chef Rosh in 2014?

RG. I am currently a culinary teacher at Art Institute of America. I am really enjoying myself. Teaching is something I have never done. I work with people who have no prior culinary experience. I am teaching the students everything from beginning to end. It’s so rewarding to help people with so much passion and such a strong desire to learn.

The fact that I am able to teach them about food and how to improve their skills, it is a wonderful feeling. I feel truly fulfilled when people come to me and tell me about getting offers for their first job or landing a great internship. To know that I had a part in that makes me feel great.

I am currently running a special on the website Living Social. You can hire me to be your personal chef for the day. I will come to your home and prepare a meal for you and your family. This has been fun because I have gotten a chance to meet really cool people.  I am also working with a non-profit called Recipe For Success. I teach kids to cook and introduce foods to them. Some food they would never try, but I want kids to learn to experience a wide variety of foods.

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EWE. If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?

RG. I would love to have Anthony Bourdain’s job. I have always wanted to travel the world and learn about other cultures and cuisine. I have always had a special interest in smaller villages that aren’t showcased with the mainstream food of the world. I would love to travel and work in smaller spots of the world that other chefs don’t get a chance to go.

Follow Chef Rosh on Instagram @Chef_Rosh

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