Bistro Vadouvan; based in Putney, South West London, is the first solo venture for Chef-patron and Michelin-trained Durga Misra. The menu delicately mixes elements of Middle Eastern and Asian spice with classical French cuisine, creating mouth-watering and original dishes which balance great flavours with a delicate, contemporary feel. Chef-patron Durga’s inspiration comes from his Michelin-starred background, having worked with the likes of Eric Chavot, Joel Antunes and Pascal Proyart and ensures each one of the Bistro’s dishes is unique, perfectly balanced and utterly delicious. We were lucky enough to interview Chef-patron Durga and find out about his inspiration and passion for food.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Where does your love of food come from?
I accidentally got into a cooking school and fell in love with the profession almost instantly. My boyhood dream had been to join the army and I think that the discipline which attracted me to that was also the magnet that first pulled me into the kitchen! But the propelling force, which keeps me going, is making somebody smile when they have the first mouthful of my food. The surprise element, the wow factor and the joy when they take spoonful of all the flavours, savour them and watching how it can brings out different emotions in people is really fantastic. I always try to bring that element of “je ne sais quoi” in all the dishes we serve, to always surprise and delight with something different and delicious each time.
How did you start your career in food?
My career took off in India in 1998 but I guess it really started when I joined Eric Chavot in 2004 in the 2 Michelin star Capital Hotel, Knightsbridge. He fed me with the basics of cuisine Francaise and taught me the finer details of flavor combinations and subtleties which have helped me later build my repertoire .
What would you say has been your greatest food-related accomplishment to date?
Creating the dishes for bistro Vadouvan! It’s been an incredible journey – for the first time being the person actually creating, defining and deciding on each dish. It’s a lot of pressure but unbelievably rewarding – especially now that we can see the customers really enjoying them and appreciating the effort we have made to bring out different flavours.
What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?
To be honest everything has been a challenge as I am a novice as a businessman and it’s all been a really steep learning curve! But I am really fortunate to have a business partner and great friend in Uttam Tripathy who has a lot of experience in running a very successful restaurant already with Potli in Hammersmith. His good judgment and calm business ability has really helped me in every step. I’ve also been incredibly lucky to have the support of my former mentor Eric Chavot, who has been quietly providing guidance and words of wisdom to help me develop the food side – not just creating dishes that taste great but that work for the restaurant, within the kitchen we have!
What is your favourite meal and why?
It’s always difficult for a chef to pinpoint one favorite meal. But as summer is here, I would love to start with a gorgeous salad of asparagus and broad beans, for a second course I would love a bowl full of broth, maybe with some pasta or noodles and for dessert a chilled peach soup with Elderflower sorbet.
Name 3 ingredients that you cannot live without?
Olive oil, maldon salt , lemons
Who’s For Dinner with you? Who would you invite for a meal of a lifetime with you and why?
I am basically a chef’s chef and I live, eat and breathe cooking, so I would have my Dad who has always been a massive support and a great admirer of my cooking along with a table of the chefs whose cooking I really love. My dream-team table would have Pierre Koffmann, Eric Chavot, Bruno Loubet and Raffael Duntoye sitting round eating and discussing the food.
Bistro Vadouvan is located at Brewhouse Lane, Putney Wharf, Putney, London SW15 2JX www.bistrovadouvan.co.uk