A new batch of Mumbai’s International Chefs prepare for a roasting.

Ian Kittichai, Head Chef, Koh

Name: Ian Kittachi Restaurant: Koh Cuisine: Thai

Hailing from Thailand, Chef Kittachi is a man devoted to his ingredients. His dishes arive courtesy of influences from across the globe and capped off with Thai flavors, spices and herbs. Look out for his signature offerings, such as lamb shank slow-cooked for 12 hours.

What’s the craziest order you’ve received? “Some people who are spice intolerant expect me to do a Green Thai curry without any chilies. But one guest asked me to do a Som Tom without Papaya and I did it with tender coconut shreds instead, it went down well.”  

What’s the weirdest ingredient you’ve cooked with? “Lamprey, an eel-shaped fish with delicately-flavored but fatty flesh, it’s a challenge to cook but even harder to eat!” 

What’s your ideal song to cook to? “Music helps to keep you in the flow of cooking so anything soft and soothing works. I have yet to find if spatulas make good microphones or if my kitchen can be a dancefloor.”

Jihad El Shami, Head Chef, Mabruk


Name: Jihad El Shami Restaurant: Mabruk Cuisine: Lebanese

Lebanese chef Jihad El Shami ensures that hygiene and organization rule in his kitchen. “No one appreciates a meal cooked by someone with a sweaty brow and hair loss issues” he declares.

Cooking song? Classical tunes by Fairouz, a female singer from Lebanaon.

What is the best dish you’ve prepared? Fakhed with Riz (A leg of lamb with rice).

You have 12 hours to live, what meal would you have? “Has to be Tabbouleh, a Levantine salad traditionally made of bulgar, finely chopped parsley and mint, tomato and spring onion, seasoned with lemon juice and olive oil.”

Who is your cooking inspiration and what dish would you serve them? My grandfather, he was a complete foodie who loved the Samkeh Harrah (Lebanese Garlic Fish)

Thomas Wee, Head Chef, Spices

Name: Thomas Wee Restaurant: Spices Cuisine: Chinese and Japanese

Seven and a half years into his Indian culinary expedition, Chinese chef Wee has developed a cooking creed centered around health conscious and nutritious cooking.

Weirdest ingredient? “I’ve cooked with wild animals such as Deer, Python, Flying Bat, Squirrel and Turtle.”

Any kitchen injuries? “I was new in the kitchen and fell on a slippery floor right onto the BBQ griller.”

Best thing since sliced bread? Asian rice and noodles!

12 hours to live, what meal? To be honest I don’t think I would have the appetite to eat anything.

Mama Villie Van, Head Chef, Ocean

Name: Mama Villie Van Restaurant: Ocean Cuisine: Pan-Asian

Chef Mama is credited as one of the pioneers of Thai food in Mumbai, being in the city for over 19 years. Her cooking aims at creating authentic and ethic cuisine.

Best thing since sliced bread? The pressure cooker, it makes cooking so much easier.

Your best dish? Panaeng (Meat in Spicy Coconut cream).

Your cooking inspiration? My grand mother, I would serve her my personal version of the Tom Yam Goong (Spicy Shrimp Soup).

What do you think about Mumbaiker diners? They are a spicy lot, over the years their taste buds have evolved but they always want quick service, spicy food, and lots of gravy.