The prestigious Michelin Guide to Restaurants and Hotels has awarded a star to the Golden Peacock, the authentic Indian restaurant at The Venetian Macao, for the second year in a row. Kerala-native, Chef Justin Paul who heads the kitchen at the Golden Peacock believes in a non-compromising approach while delivering quality By Steena Joy
What kind of Indian cuisine is served at The Golden Peacock? And from which regions of India?
The Golden Peacock is committed to bringing authentic Indian cuisine to Macao, and our chefs come from throughout India. We prepare dishes from all over the country, and we strive to deliver healthy concepts by using organic products.
How do you source the ingredients to maintain authenticity of the recipes?
Most of our ingredients are imported from India, helping us prepare authentic Indian dishes, and we also use some local vegetables for their freshness.
Which are the popular Indian dishes most demanded by your guests?
Some of our most popular menu items are Choosa Khass Makhani, Lamb Rogan Josh and Dal Son Mor.
Do you see a lot of Indian guests at The Golden Peacock?
Yes, we have many Indian guests at The Golden Peacock. And we can also see increasing numbers of guests from Macao, Hong Kong and from all over the world.
What inspired you to be a chef?
My father is a great cook and I was always inspired by the way he takes genuine care and attention in making his preparation special. I’ve never seen him getting tired of making food and he is one who has always enjoyed treating friends and families at home to his delicacies. To be frank, when I was deciding on a career, becoming a chef was never so popular a choice and was not considered a career option at all; but somehow, I always enjoyed cooking and I am fortunate that I chose to study hotel management to learn that side of cooking. Since then, it has been a never ending journey filled with exploration and learning.
A brief about your career story.
My previous culinary positions include regional chef at Veda Fine Dining Restaurant in Hong Kong; senior cook I at the Hyatt Regency in Hong Kong; chef de cuisine at Jashan Fine Dining Restaurant in Hong Kong; chef de partie at Goa Marriott Resort in India and commis I at The Leela Palace Goa in India where I won a Best Employee Award in 2002.
In your learning years, which chef was your role model/ inspiration?
Chef Wolfgang Eberle, my executive chef at the Leela Palace Goa – a Kempinski resort has been my inspiration. His commitment, creativity and the level of positive energy he carried throughout the day – with high attention to detail and a non-compromising approach when it comes to delivering quality – was something which always inspired and influenced me.
Any advice for aspiring chefs?
My advice is very simple: keep focused and persevere through the tough times. This profession demands a lot of hard work and sacrifices on your personal time. All you need to do is keep pushing yourself with an absolute passion and a non-compromising approach with attention to detail. It will definitely lead you to success.
How do you see the popularity of Indian cuisine in international markets?
I strongly believe Indian cuisine is definitely getting more popular in international markets, and considering its popularity and its acceptance, soon its presence will be felt in all corners of the world.
Do you have any plans to write your own cookbook?
Yes, I do have plans to write a book soon about authentic Indian culinary art presented in a modern manner.