Great British Menu 2021 chefs: Ashwani Rangta, North West heat

The  Staff Canteen

Group Executive Chef at Gupshup Restaurant in Manchester, Ashwani Rangta, is one of four chefs competing for the North West on Great British Menu 2021.

Series 16 of the competition starts on Wednesday 24th March on BBC Two at 8pm, The North West heat will be on Wednesday 5th May, Thursday 6th May and Friday 7th May. All episodes are available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

Competing against Kirk Haworth, Dave Critchley and Dan McGeorge, Ashwani scored lower than his rivals for his starter and fish course and was thus sent home after the first day of the North West heat.

Biography

Ashwani was born in Northern India, and though his father was a hotelier, meaning he grew up staying in lavish hotels and eating delicious food, the chef says he inherited his love for food from his mother.

He pursued his dream of cooking professionally in his home country, attending catering college in his hometown of Shimla, a small town in the Himalayas.

He spent the following years working in five-star hotels around the country, then was appointed chef de cuisine for Asha's Wafi hospitality, cooking at the ITC Gardenia hotel in Bangalore, before moving to Manchester to launch the ARIL Group's British operations in 2016, and taking on his current position at Gupshup Restaurant in August 2019.

Dishes

Starter

'Paradox,' a tribute to celebrated mathematician Alan Turing, consisted of 'mock duck' shami kebabs made from soy stuffed with yoghurt, chestnuts, chilli and cginger, served with leavened bread coated in black truffle and mushroom salsa, mango and beetroot chutney, morels, mint and mustard chutney and elderberry purée. The dish was served in a cloche of smoke with pineapple murabba on the side and topped with lemon verbena. 

Deeming the dish to have too many elements as well as noting some textural issues, veteran judge Tom Aikens gave the dish a score of 5/10.

Fish Course

Ashwani's fish course, 'Joule's Jewel,' was a nod to physicist James Prescott Joule and how his discoveres affected our understanding of the transfer of energy between stores.

His mint and chilli marinated halibut was barbecued and served with Jerusalem artichokes, mango and waterchestnuts, vanilla beet discs and beetroot purée, pandang and nasturtium leaves. 

Unfortunately, a crucial element of the dish was going to be a chemical reaction using baking soda and salt, but it didn't work. 

Veteran judge Tom Aikens gave the dish another 5/10 score.

Full name

Ashwani Kumar Rangta

Nickname 

Aashu for family and Ash for friends

Age/DOB

37 years

Place of birth / residence

I am originally from Shimla, a beautiful town in Northern India and currently live in Manchester

Relationship status / children

I have been married to Richika for nine years

Height

5'8

Type of chef (restaurant, hotel, development chef, etc.)

I'm currently the executive chef of a restaurant and events company

Favourite type of cuisine

Indian food  is my all time favourite but currently I am exploring Japanese cuisine (specifically ramen and sushi)

Path to becoming a chef

I did a bachelors degree in hotel management and catering at IHM Kufri Shimla, and then did a two-year kitchen executive training programme at ITC Hotels in India.

Past and present place of work

First, at the ITC Mughal  Peshawari restaurant, where I learned the basic of Northwest Indian frontier (tandoori) cuisine, then at ITC Maurya in Delhi. I did my understudy at Dumpukth and Bukhara, both among the best indian restaurants in Asia. Bukhara has featured in the top 50 best restaurant in the world. Then I worked at the ITC Grand Central Kebab n Kurries restaurant, where I got my first posting of junior sous-chef. I was then transferred to ITC Gardenia, which also had a KnK restaurant and where I was a sous-chef for three years.

Then, I was offered the opportunity of opening Ashas restaurant in Manchester, so went to Dubai to do research and development, then moved over to the UK.

Currently I am the group executive chef for Gupshup Restaurant and silverfoxevents.
 

Personal and professional mentors / role models 

In my initial years I was mentored by chef Mayank Kulshreshtha and chef Gaurav Singh.  In my personal life my mother and father and my wife Richika are my biggest support pillars.

Guilty pleasure dish

Ramen from Shoryu

Best / worst thing about being a chef

The best is that you are able to create new dishes and ideas and bring smiles to your guests. There is no worst thing as such. 

FeeEings  stepping onto the GBM set

I am really excited to be part of series 16 and will put my best foot forward.

Thoughts about the 'British Innovation' theme this year

Science and innovation is a brilliant theme; it's challenging also and believe it will bring best out of me.

Plans for the future

I have lots of ideas with regards to food and innovation and hope I will be able to implement all of them.

 

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 6th May 2021

Great British Menu 2021 chefs: Ashwani Rangta, North West heat