Culinary maestro in the making

2018-06-06 06:02
Nasteesh Naipal.

Nasteesh Naipal.

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TO spend time with Baking Masters winner, soccer star and culinary maestro Nasteesh Naipal, is to be inspired by what a young man from a humble background can achieve if he follows his goal with dedication.

Nasteesh’s story begins in Greytown, where he was born and spent his primary school years until the family moved to Durban.

While growing up, the young Nasteesh was introduced to the art of cooking by his six aunts, whose catering for various celebrations in the Greytown community is legendary.

After matriculating, Nasteesh followed his passion and enrolled at Icesa College where he completed his Chef’s Diploma.

As part of his training he served a six- month internship at the Southern Sun Elangeni Hotel in Durban where, on completion of his formal studies, he secured a permanent position.

While serving his internship in 2014, this enterprising trainee chef entered the Baking Masters Competition where he was shortlisted as one of the top 10 Up and Coming Young Chefs.

His creations of a chocolate brioche and a Mossbolletjie bread won him this competition and set his feet firmly on the staircase to success.

Success, however, never comes without sacrifice, effort and lots of hard work.

In the catering field, hours are long and invariably one is working while everyone else is out having fun.

As a person who loves a challenge, Naipal decided to learn the skills to become a pastry specialist.

“By nature I am not a very patient person and to be a really successful pastry chef one has to have endless patience, so I decided to take on this challenge,” he explained.

After two-and-a-half years in the Elangeni kitchens, it was time for a new venture.

He took up a position with eThekwini Caterers working at Sunset Lodge where he gained invaluable experience in catering for elderly people with special dietary needs.

In his free time, ever the entrepreneur, Nasteesh took on private catering orders supplying cakes and desserts.

The next challenge was to make his debut internationally where he became part of the Etihad Airways team based in Abu Dhabi who were responsible for the airline’s catering catapulted from a five to a six-star award. It was during this time that Nasteesh learned to produce and tastefully present bulk quantities of food.

Cooking daily for eight airlines meant that, depending on the menu, two tons of onions and 400 litres of cheesecake mousse among other ingredients would be prepared.

From Abu Dhabi, Nasteesh went west to take up a position at the Ocean Edge Golf Resort at Cape Cod where he honed his skills preparing seafood, catering for high society weddings, birthdays, banqueting and fine dining.

From Cape Cod he took up a position as a griller in Wisconsin at an African-themed restaurant, Nelson’s Brewpap Griller, where American football fans congregate after home games.

While working at Nelson’s, Nasteesh prepared a steak for none other than Johnny Depp who sent compliments back to the kitchen for grilling “the perfect steak”.

While back in South Africa, Nasteesh is the resident chef at Aheers Multisave where he is responsible for preparing a range of delicious meals and delectable confections.

“South African cuisine has such a diverse flavour, products are superior and the spices available are limitless making the food line here tops,” he enthused.

His future plans: “To expand his chain of Munchies Galore fine dining pop-ups and open a fine dining restaurant in Florida Road, Durban.”

“My father was my role model, my sister helped me with my education and my mum taught me never to take anything for granted. Follow your dream,” was Nasteesh’s message of encouragement.


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