Master Chef Ishtiyaque Qureshi is known for creating and adapting recipes as per the region, local taste buds, lifestyle, keeping the authenticity of the cuisine & the concept intact – this was only possible by catering the cuisine in a stand-alone restaurant where the middle & upper middle class customers could be treated with Royalty.
For the past twenty years, the company has been in the process of providing consultancy services, developing brand, managing restaurants, outdoor catering, selling frozen marinated kebabs & spice mixes and has catered to the taste of some of the most prominent people in the country. Kakori House has catered to India’s Elite Class like Mukesh Ambani, Ruia Family, Aamir Khan, Karishma Kapoor’s wedding, Ridhima Kapoor’s wedding and Hrithik Roshan to name a few.
Kakori House has the honor of being nominated in the Best North Indian Awadhi Cuisine category consistently since 2012 and winning the coveted Times Food Award 4 times since 2012
The Legacy Of The Kakori House
About Chef Ishtiyaque Qureshi
Chef Ishtiyaque Qureshi belongs to a family whose forefathers have been in the kitchen of Nawabs of Awadh. Bukhara & Dum Pukht of ITC Sheraton has been created by Ishtiyaque’s legendry father Grand-Master-Chef Imtiaz Qureshi who also went to receive the first Padmashree as a chef. Ishtiyaque started training under his father at the age of 13 at Maurya Sheraton Delhi, later joined Maurya Sheraton in 1984. Dum Pukht restaurant in Searock Sheraton Mumbai & Windsor Manor Sheraton Bangalore was launched by Ishtiyaque Qureshi. He was a part of the core member team that launched Bukhara at Maurya Sheraton Delhi. At Leela Kempenski Mumbai in the year 1996 Master Chef Ishtiyaque Qureshi was heading the Indian Cuisine in their restaurant Indian Harvest. He has also worked in Saudi Arabia (Jeddah) Sherazad as Masterchef. His experience with frozen food industry has given him expertise knowledge on preserving the food without losing out on quality and compromising on taste.
About Grand MasterChef Imtiaz Qureshi
Imtiaz Qureshi. Born on 2 Feb 1929, the fifth son of Murad Ali and Sakina Qureshi grew up in a family of nine boys and two girls. His ancestors were butchers and cooks to Awadhi nobility for over 200 years; his maternal grandfather had worked for the Raja of Mehmoodabad and his paternal grandfather and father with the Raja of Jahangirabad.
Imtiaz, like his brothers, began young, helping out at the butchery when he was only 10-15 years old. Their day began at 4am, when freshly slaughtered carcasses would come to their father. The boys would help him break down the animal into different cuts of meat. By 7.30am, when customers arrived, they’d get ready for school. Much was learned outside the classroom, working odd jobs with caterers – how mango and tamarind firewood left a lingering aroma in the food, how to cook for 100 to 10,000 people, what the elite liked.
By the time they were in their thirties, they could cook kilos of biryani, kebabs, sheermal, nihari and kormas in their sleep.
The brothers were well-known in Lucknow; some ran meat shops and catering outfits. But it was not until the ’70s when the ITC (then the Welcome group Sheraton) in Agra hired young Imtiaz to help develop their Indian cuisine, that they turned more than local heroes.
One of the stories that Imtiaz Qureshi loves to tell is about how he tricked Jawaharlal Nehru.
The chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, CB Gupta, had invited Prime Minister Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Zakir Husain for a private dinner in the early ’60s. Nehru accepted reluctantly, and only on the condition that the food be pure vegetarian.
Gupta called for Imtiaz, then a young cook with Lucknow’s famous caterer Krishna Hotel, to take care of the meal. Imtiaz protested. He knew nothing about vegetables. But Gupta convinced him to take on the order and the worried chef spent the next month furiously figuring out how to make it work.
On the appointed day, dinner was served and soon after an angry Gupta called for Imtiaz. A very annoyed Nehru was peering over his glasses at the food. “I asked for a vegetarian meal,” the PM said. “But here I can see murgh mussalam, shammi kebabs and fish.”
Imtiaz replied: “Sir, the fish is actually bottle gourd; the chicken is raw jackfruit and the legs, long brinjals. Even the shammi kebab has been made with lotus stem. Everything is vegetarian, only disguised.” The thrilled guests had a good laugh. Zakir Husain complimented Imtiaz saying he had never eaten anything as tasty.
Keeping the tradition intact
While Modern Day Chefs Are Trying To Lure People With Fusion, Ishtiyaque Believes In Presenting Food In The Simple Traditional Way. “What I Feel Is That We Can Have Fusion, Presentation, Mix And Match, Garnishes, Etc., But It Is Important To Maintain The Originality Of The Food. Fusion Is A Misunderstood Word. Basically, It Is Bringing Together Two Things. It Doesn’t Mean You Spoil The Originality Of Both. It Can Be Done Without Spoiling The Originality.”
He strongly believes that standardisation and consistency is important for Indian cuisines to be globally relevant. He highlights the success of international chains. Although most of them sell junk food, they have been able to lure customers because of standardisation and consistency in food.