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Chef Spotlight: Executive Chef Peter Beck of PAISLEY in Tribeca

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Executive Chef Peter Beck of PAISLEY in Tribeca

Chef Spotlight: Executive Chef Peter Beck of PAISLEY in Tribeca

Executive Chef Peter Beck is one of New York City's renowned Indian Chefs who grew up in New Delhi. His love for food began in the simplest of ways, helping his mother cook lentils after a day at school. These moments ignited his passion for the culinary arts, and he pursued a career with his first job working in the kitchen of a Five-Star hotel in Mumbai, where he was trained in a variety of different cuisines like French and Chinese, and soon promoted to Sous Chef. From there Chef Beck explored different tastes throughout the world, traveling to Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Italy and the Philippines, and finally made his way to America.

Taking New York City by storm, he led the kitchens at RaaSa Chola and Tamarind, which all received two-star reviews in The New York Times. He was the recipient of a James Beard Award for Culinary Distinction in 2002. Before arriving at Paisley, he was awarded a Michelin Star working as the Executive Chef at Tamarind. He brings his incredible talents to Paisley, hoping to inspire his guests and surprise their palates with new flavors from his upbringing in New Delhi, all the while placing an emphasis on dishes that are balanced and nutritious, using the freshest ingredients.

Broadwayworld.com had the pleasure of interviewing Chef Beck about his background and the Tribeca restaurant, Paisley for our "Chef Spotlight" feature.

What was your earliest interest in cooking?

When I was in 5th grade my interest began. It started with helping my mom in the kitchen since she worked and didn't have much time to make food. I would help make dal or something small. Around 9th-10th grade is when I developed my passion for cooking. At that age, I learned cooking from neighbors and friends' parents because my mom was a working woman and didn't have much time to cook or teach me.

Who were some of your career mentors?

When I was younger, I did not have a mentor, per say. As mentioned, I learned basic cooking from friends or their parents. When I moved to America, my mentors became Masaharu Morimoto and Bobby Flay. I'd watch their way of cooking and the type of techniques they would use, especially Morimoto.

What culinary styles have influenced your career?

My global travel has provided me with exposure to different cuisines such as French, Mexican, Moroccan, and Thai, all of which have influenced my career.

What do you consider the most distinguishing features of your work as a chef?

My style of cooking is more home style; the majority of the food I make does not use butter or cream. This is unique compared to many other Indian chefs because usually, butter and/or cream are commonly used. Since my work as a chef is home style focused, I aim to have healthier dishes.

Since India is a coastal area surrounded by three bodies of water, seafood is highly consumed, but not featured much. This was something that I focused on, bringing India's regional and coastal cuisines to the forefront. Being able to bring coastal, southern, and seafood specialties is my greatest achievement as a chef.

Barbecue tandoori dishes are another feature that I feel distinguishes me because grilled tandoori dishes are not frequently highlighted in Indian cuisine. Rather, barbecued food is seen in American and other cuisines that showcase grilled meats. Tandoori dishes such as Lamb Boti and Tandoori Cornish Hen are some that I have on the menu that help expose tandoori cooking to our guests.

In addition to spotlighting home style cooking and seafood/tandoori dishes, presenting Indian food uniquely is something that I feel distinguishes me as a chef. When people think of Indian food, they don't think of plating and presentation like they would with French, for example. This is where I've taken what I've learned from my global travel, using it to present our Indian dishes such has Crab Koli or Kerela Beef in a more fine-dining way.

Signature dishes consist of Kerelan duck marinated in pepper, tamarind, and spices and uses a southern Indian style of cooking in the Tandoor, and Crab Koli which consists of jumbo lump crab meat tossed in a sauce made of ginger, garlic, coconut, curry leaves, and other spices, topped with a pan seared crab cake.

What is your favorite meal or meals?

Curries and tandoori specialties are my favorite foods.

Aside from Indian, steak and Thai food are also my top favorites. There's nothing I don't like, but my favorite meals are more concentrated on curries.

Tell me a little bit about your restaurant for our readers.

At Paisley, we try to feature all regional foods across India such as Lahori Paneer, Lamb Boti, prawn patio, Chilla Chevda, and Nadir Monji. These range from north, south, east and west Indian dishes. For example, our Jaipuri Kofta is from Rajasthan northern part of India, and our Shrimp Moilee and seabass are from the southern part of India.

The restaurant's menu contains a variety of seafood dishes such as prawn and tandoori fish.

Our brunch menu includes kati rolls, dosa, and indo-Chinese preparations like Manchurian Hakka noodles, as well as our Chaat (meaning street food), on our dinner menu. Both feature diverse options that can be enjoyed at any time of day.

In order to ensure everyone has the opportunity to enjoy Paisley, we proudly offer a nut-free menu, as well as a variety of vegan options.

Paisley serves dinner, weekend brunch, and their Tribeca Hour. They are also available for private events. The restaurant is located at 429 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013. For more information and to view menus, please visit https://paisleyrestaurantnyc.com/ or call 212.274.8003. You can follow them on Instagram and Facebook.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Chef Peter Beck



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