C'est la vie

Tastebud unlocker

Godrej Locks’ executive vice president, Shyam Motwani, escapes to an alternate world every day — his kitchen

Faisal Magray

Running a successful business isn’t enough for Shyam Motwani. He likes wearing many hats and the one that gives him most joy is that of a kitchen king. On any given day, you would find the executive vice president and business head of Godrej Locks and Architectural Fittings & Systems rustling up a delectable, fusion dish. “I have been passionately nurturing this hobby for over two decades. I have invested in understanding the nuances of the process, ingredients, recipes, cooking methods and finally the presentation,” says Motwani.

He cooks his own meals, which involves trying his hand at new recipes across cuisines. In fact, his interest in cooking was ignited when he began travelling extensively. “Whenever I am on the go, I try to learn the recipe of one of the local dishes of that place. Since India has a myriad of flavours, every place has some unique taste to offer,” he says.

Despite a hectic schedule, Motwani makes sure to set aside 60 to 90 minutes everyday to cook. “I have inculcated this as a daily habit as I get satisfaction from creating new dishes. It is also fulfilling for both mind and body,” he says, adding, “Cooking is also a great mechanism to de-stress and build patience.”

A true-blue foodie at heart, he relishes delicacies from all over India such as, prawns bhuna masala, mutton stew and fish tawa masala. While he loves his proteins, he would also chow down on a good bhindi masala or sarson da saag on days when he wants to go a little light. “I mostly operate in the Indian cuisine sphere. I love adding a North Indian touch to, say a Gujarati kadhi, or a Maharashtrian curry,” he says.

He is proud of his talent and calls his creations “crowd favourites”. “I recently made fish in garlic sauce. While it typically is an Asian dish, I added an Indian touch to it — heavier on the garlic and less on the sauces. It turned out pretty well!” he exclaims.

Motwani’s kitchen is his haven. It is his private space that brings out his creativity. And just
like a cricketer has his favourite bat, or a photographer his favourite lens, Motwani’s kitchen drawers are a testament to his favourite cooking equipment. Pointing towards his chopping board, he says, “It is very close to my heart. I store and use it very cautiously.” Then there is his treasured set of knives. “I have one for every kind of meal — poultry, seafood, leafy vegetables. My kitchen is incomplete without them,” he says. He is equally passionate about his bunch of different kadhais, woks – iron-cast, deep, shallow – “all for different cuisines”, he adds.

His passion to learn new things has been one of the biggest drivers of his hobby. “There is so much to learn that it is a never-ending journey towards taking it to the level of state-of-the-art,” Motwani says. Cooking has taught him several important life lessons such as patience and moderation. “It has also taught me that takings risk sometimes can give unexpected results,” he says. It has been an exhilarating and highly fulfilling experience so far, for Motwani, who believes every day is a new experience to hone his skills.