Sarkar’s first stateside restaurant concept, ROOH, opened in early 2017 in San Francisco. Meaning soul or spirit, ‘ROOH’ brings the spirit of India to the dining experience and for its excellence in doing so, the San Francisco outpost has been widely lauded. Standout recognitions include a three-star review from The San Francisco Chronicle and the Golden Gate Restaurant Association’s 2017 “Best New Restaurant” award. Soon after ROOH gained its popularity on the west coast, Sarkar opened his first Indian gastro bar called BAAR BAAR in New York. Since then, ROOH has opened in New Delhi, Chicago, Columbus, and Palo Alto.
Sarkar has received multiple awards including Times of India “Chef of the Year” (2016) and Elite Magazine’s “International Chef of the Year.” He holds an impressive culinary background—in late 2014, Sarkar launched the now famously recognized TRESIND in Dubai. After working more than a decade with Michelin-starred restaurants in London, Sarkar became head chef at Automat London in 2007. He later assisted with the opening of Almada in Mayfair—making it one of the most exclusive hideouts for celebrities—and carried out his nitro experiments with food at Temple & Shian Events at the Whistling Shop.
After working as the chef de cuisine at flagship restaurants of the renowned Olive Bar and Kitchen in Delhi and Bombay for over three years, he opened India’s first artisanal cocktail bar called EK BAR in 2015. The concept was voted Conde Nast Traveller UK’s “Best New Cocktail Bar in The World” (2016), amongst other awards.
What is your culinary philosophy?
My guiding philosophy for building New Indian cuisine is based on my travels and personal stories. I want to build a more evolving and contemporary understanding of the diversity and the complexity that encompasses foods from India. Concepts that enhance the understanding of ingredients, techniques, and flavours that many regional cuisines showcase is exciting to me. It’s time to put Indian cuisine on the global map in these new forms.
What is your greatest inspiration and how do you incorporate this into your cooking?
I grew up eating a variety of regional food, absorbing its flavours, many of which are still etched in my memory. Over time, I have married my understanding of regional flavours with the techniques and sensibilities I’ve developed over the course of my professional career. Propagating “progressive Indian” or “New Indian” cuisine comes from the desire to hero regional food and showcasing our pan-Indian diversity while using the techniques learned in professional kitchens across the globe. It’s the confluence of my past and present – how far I have been able to come as a chef to push the boundaries of this cuisine, while the core inspiration emanates from my younger days.
If you could take a plane to any restaurant in the world, where would you go and why?
For now, it would be NOMA because of the originality, excitement, and in-depth understanding of Nordic cuisine which is ever-evolving.
What is the most memorable meal you’ve ever had?
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