Nadeem Siraj


"Ever since I was a child, cooking has always seemed magical, an art form"


What made you want to become a chef?
Ever since I was a child, cooking has always seemed magical, an art form...  like the way different ingredients are combined, giving rise to different dishes - each of them richer than the last. That inspired me to become a chef.

What is your first memory of a dish that made you dream?
Dal Gosht - a dish my mother made; a lentil with lamb curry that I loved and wanted to learn to make.

Who has influenced you in your cooking style or philosophy?

My mother, obviously. I sat in the kitchen and watched as she made different dishes with distinct flavours every day using the same pots of spices. It was magical for me.

What inspires you? or Where does your inspiration come from?
The products from the market. When I see good fish, meat or vegetables, I want to make them into an unforgettable dish.

What is your favourite culinary method or technique?
Classical cuisine, of the day-to-day type, where I seek the best qualities and add ingredients from other countries.
What is your favourite ingredient?
Turmeric and ginger.

What is your favourite cooking utensil?
 The wok.

What material do you prefer for your pans and saucepans?
Stainless steel.

What would you like to change about the cooking schools?
I think the cooking schools should not just teach recipes for cooking, they should teach how to use imagination, using the products correctly. Of course, they should make the most of the culinary culture of other countries.

Your advice for young chefs.
Do not view the profession as a job but rather as a passion because it requires dedication and time that you cannot spend with your family and friends.

What do you look for when you hire someone for your restaurant?
Evidence of that passion, their ambition and their creativity.

How do you motivate your team?
Instilling that we are the best and yesterday we did well, but today we are going to do better.

What would you like to change in the catering industry?

That restoration is not just a business, that it is a way of breaking down barriers and bringing people from around the world together through cooking.

What do you do when you have difficult guests?
I try to be even more pleasant.

Where do you like to get away to relax?
The sea and cooking at home.

What pushes you to keep on going?
Satisfaction with what I am doing and making people happy through food.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
My oven-cooked Tandoori lamb chops.

What is your favourite restaurant?
´Tse Tang´ at the Villamagna Hotel in Madrid.

Which current chef do you most admire and why?
David Muñoz, who, in addition to being a good cook, is an artist and has great passion for what he does.

How do you think restaurants should be classified?
As Classic food or Creative food. I make classic Indian and Pakistani food, although I also add new techniques and mixtures of ingredients.