Chef and F&B director of Bastian Hospitality, Kelvin Cheung’s name bring three names to mind – Bastian, One Street, and Whole and then Some. Cheung’s food is known for being organic, versatile and mind-bogglingly delicious. Coming from a family of chefs, his love for food has taken him to Canada, the United States, Belgium, and finally to India.
Here, he talks about food, his journey as a chef, and why consuming local produce is the way forward.
What is the ethos at your restaurants, Bastian and One Street?
“At Bastian, it is to serve and highlight the best seafood that India has to offer with global flavours that complement the seafood as well as offer lots of vegetarian options in a comfortable setting. One Street serves American contemporary food that I like to eat before, during, and after drinking.”
Where did your interest in food come from?
“My family. I am a third-generation chef and food has always played a central role in my life.”
Are there any ‘healthy’ dishes you offer on your menu?
“I’d have to list our entire lunch menu and most of our dinner menu for this. We have an entire section of vegan bowls, known as ‘Bodhi Bowls’ for lunch. We offer a ton of gluten-free options, and some of my favourites include the Salmon Jalapeño; Snapper Ceviche; Tahini Bowl; and Edamame Hummus from Bastian, as well as the Kale Caesar; Lamb Burger Pro Style; and Jalapeño Burger Pro Style from One Street.”
An Indian chef you admire?
“Chef Manu Chandra [of Olive Bar & Kitchen, Monkey Bar, The Fatty Bao and Toast & Tonic].”
A non-Indian chef you admire?
“Chef Sean Brock [former chef of McCrady’s in Charleston, South Carolina].”
Apart from your own, do you have any favourite restaurants?
“Dakshinayan! The dosa and chutneys are always on point.”
What is your stance on seasonal, artisanal, organic produce?
“I definitely recommend it. It’s always better for you and the environment to eat organic and seasonal food. The carbon footprint is lower and the nutritional content is higher. What’s not to love? We work with many local farmers to source as much organic, local produce as possible.”
What is the last meal you had?
“Dinner at a family friend’s house in Pali Hill. They always make the most delicious vegetarian food and if I’m not able to sneak away, they send it home. I have the best friends! I paired it with a fresh Maharashtrian garlic chutney from another friend that leaves you with dragon breath all day, but it’s so worth it.”
Which is the last meal you ordered on Scootsy?
“My wife actually ordered a Bodhi Bowl from Bastian last week with no salt for our baby. He loves his cauliflower rice!”
Where did you train to be a chef from?
“I went to Kendall College in Chicago and it was one of the most memorable experiences in my life. It gave me a good glimmer of the 18-hour days and life of a chef.”
Which restaurant would you recommend for a first-timer to the city?
“Shree Thakkar Bhojnalaya, because it’s the best that I’ve had here so far and the hospitality is fantastic.”