Not only does Campton Place boast two Michelin stars, but Chef Srijith Gopinathan is the only Indian chef in the nation to have this honor. His innovative take on Cal-Indian cuisine fits nicely in the Taj Campton Place Hotel and complements their take on Cal-Indian hospitality. Don’t expect six different types of naan, but the Indian inflections on California cuisine create some of the more memorable dishes in the Western Hemisphere, such has his signature spice pot.
Chef Srijith gave us a look into what inspires him, his favorite types of cuisine, and his first memory as a chef.
Renzell: Let’s start at the beginning. What was the first dish you learned to cook?
Chef Srijith Gopinathan: I remember making my first dish at 6 years old. However, I can’t take much credit for it since I was mostly stirring a pot with a long wooden ladle under the watchful eye of my grandmother. We made savory rice porridge with green lentils and grated coconut for 25 of the farmers harvesting paddy (rice) for us.
R: Describe an average day at Campton Place.
SG: I spend most of my day thinking about food, and the rest collaborating with my team, developing recipes, executing the dishes, and plating the finished product.
R: What inspires you to continue to create new dishes?
SG: I am very inspired by what I see around me everyday: the work done by my peers and coworkers, local market produce, and, of course, my love for eating delicious and unique food.
R: Do you have a favorite ingredient to work with?
SG: This changes every once in a while, but right now coconut is one of my top ingredients.
R: Do you have a favorite dish to cook?
SG: I wouldn't say I have a favorite dish, but I love cooking shellfish.
R: Do you ever venture outside the typical cuisine of Campton Place?
SG: Yes, I do… I love Chinese and Mexican food a lot. Casual Indian street food and as always good pastas at some of super casual Italian joints.