World Chefs: Kapur reaches for fresh culinary expressions

Tue Dec 7, 2010 8:50am EST
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By Richard Leong

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Ravi Kapur believes the time is ripe for chefs to take cooking to the next level and to go beyond using seasonally, locally-grown meats and vegetables.

Kapur, the head chef at the modern American restaurant Prospect in San Francisco, says what will set chefs apart is their creativity and making dishes that are all their own.

The 33-year-old Hawaiian native, who is a partner at Prospect with Nancy Oakes whom he worked with at the Michelin-star Boulevard, spoke to Reuters about his new restaurant, the future of cooking and being his own boss.

Q: Has your Hawaiian background influenced your cooking?

A: "The influence of the gathering around the table and dining together is very important. Cooking together is also important. Being exposed to a variety of Asian cuisines from a young age has allowed my palette to be sensitive to those things and understand where they come from. I do have a lot of dishes with Asian components in them."

Q: What is it like being an executive chef and co-owner at a restaurant for the first time?

A: "It's a lot of pressure, I won't lie, to feed 250 people a night. You are trying to satisfy as many people as you can. When you have a 40-seat restaurant, you have a much higher chance of doing that. You are training your crew to embrace your vision and uphold your standards. It's definitely the hardest undertaking I've taken on."

Q: What is on the menu right now that reflects your culinary point of view?   Continued...

<p>Ravi Kapur is seen in an undated handout photo. REUTERS/Todd Parsons/Handout</p>