A budding entrepreneur, Tanuvee Agarwal is the founder, CEO, and head chef of Atticus, a modern catering brand. The cream of the crop, she has studied culinary arts in Switzerland, where she was first exposed to the Michelin dining culture. It led her to working in renowned restaurants across the world, including Atelier Crenn in San Francisco, and Gina in Switzerland. Read on for the inside scoop on the food industry!

What first attracted you to the food industry?
There is no specific experience or moment as such that drew me to the food industry. Since childhood, being taught to appreciate different cuisines and dining styles, to actually cooking them, the kitchen always played an integral part. Andthat, I guess, slowly became my passion.

What inspired you to found Atticus?
The inspiration behind Atticus was to create a new food trend that is sustainable and globally attuned. Those who order with Atticus are exposed to a new palate – an amalgamation of global food trends, seasonal Indian produce, and sustainable practices.

Studying Culinary Arts in Switzerland must have been quite the experience! Tell us some interesting things you learned there.
Studying at the Culinary Arts Academy was invigorating. With an unparalleled level of exposure, we were taught about everything from culinary basics to avant-garde techniques and food science. The four main lessons that were key to my growth were:

Work ethic. From something as basic as dressing right to punctuality and respect, I learned how to groom myself as an individual, employee, and employer.

Organisation. Mise en place is key in a chef’s world; it’s what makes or breaks us.

Global viewpoint. For any venture to succeed, it’s important to be globally attuned.

Working under pressure. The kitchen is a high-stress, fast paced, and physically and mentally taxing environment. You need to learn to cope in any situation.

What’s your favourite cooking memory?
Holding the knife when I was five years old for the first time. I had to prepare an evening snack for my sister and myself– fruit and a glass of milk. Instead of listening to my mum and pouring the milk, I tried cutting a peach with a flimsy knife. It wasn’t the smartest idea. I cut myself quite deep and had to be rushed for a tetanus injection, but no one could deny that I had cut the peach beautifully!

And your signature dish?
Tacos. My go-to is a fusion with Korean-influenced, slow cooked lamb Baracoa, star fruit salsa and a homemade soft taco shell.

Tell us a bit about Cocktail Dinatoire.
Cocktail Dinatoire is the French art of dining, which consists of a meal based on canapés (bite-sized appetizers). From appetizers to mains and desserts, every item can be eaten within 2-3 bites. We introduced this concept with the hope that by making everything bite-sized, people are more likely to have it, as they won’t be restricted to a table and chair.

How has the industry changed over the past few years? And what do you think is the future of food?
The industry has changed for the positive – chefs are now given due respect and credit for their work. In India specifically, the food industry has evolved to be more inclusive of global food and alcohol. And today, more people are well-travelled and want to bring that exposure to the country. I’d say the key trend to look out for in 2020 is the usage of plant-based proteins as an alternative to meats.       –as told to Devanshi