Homegrown Chef: Indian Chimney owner and head chef Navish Kumar

FAMILY TIES: Navish Kumar started cooking with his dad from age 15, finding the trade came as naturally to him almost as breathing. He migrated to Albury in late 2000 and opened his first restaurant in 2009. Picture: SIMON BAYLISS
FAMILY TIES: Navish Kumar started cooking with his dad from age 15, finding the trade came as naturally to him almost as breathing. He migrated to Albury in late 2000 and opened his first restaurant in 2009. Picture: SIMON BAYLISS

INDIAN-born chef Navish Kumar comes for a long line of chefs.

Kumar started cooking with his dad from age 15, finding the trade came as naturally to him almost as breathing.

“I learnt to cook from my whole family; my grandfather was a chef too,” he said.

“My big brother is a chef too and started his own catering company in India.

“Two years ago I helped him cater for an Australian-Indian Test in India, which was a big highlight.”

Kumar migrated to Albury in late 2000 before working in restaurants in Sydney, Wollongong, Rutherglen and Beechworth.

He opened Indian Chimney in Albury in mid-2009 with other eateries under the same name in Wodonga and Yarrawonga.

Today he has retained only the Albury restaurant.

“I have worked in hospitality my whole life and love cooking even on my days off from the restaurant,” he said.

Together with wife Ruchita, Kumar has two children Gaurish, 5, and Rauya, 2.

Ruchita runs the cafe at Daintree Medical Centre in Wodonga.

What's your favourite dish?

Butter Chicken; the chicken should be tender and the sauce creamy like Pashmina silk. The best butter chicken is cooked with your own spices from scratch.

What are the staples in your pantry?

Cinnamon sticks, curry leaves, fresh ginger, fresh coriander, cloves and fennel seeds. All of these spices are good for digestion.

What's the biggest product discovery you have made in cooking?

If cooking comes from the heart, you can win someone’s heart.

What's your secret vice?

Sugar; I make my own desserts and Indian ice cream.

What is your recipe standby?

Goat Curry and Butter Chicken are the most popular.

What is your most unforgettable meal and where?

Two-and-a-half years ago, my wife and I had amazing Indian street food, samosa chaat, in Chandigarh (the capital of the northern Indian state of Punjab).

What's your favourite cooking utensil?

Clay oven

What's in your kitchen toolkit?

Charcoal grill and homemade clay oven for cooking goat, shanks and lentils; it takes a slow, sweet heat.

What did you have for dinner last night?

Nothing as we were so busy with Christmas Day trade!

What are you drinking?

Scotch whisky

Details:

Indian Chimney,

662 Dean Street, Albury

Phone:  (02) 6041 2225

Open Mon-Sun, 5pm-late.

Lunch: Thursday and Friday, 11am-2pm.

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