Meet the Chef: Nilesh Singhvi
Executive chef Nilesh Singhvi of Washington, D.C.’s Bombay Club is the perfect fit for the job: A native of Rajasthan, Singhvi has been cooking for decades, first as a student at India’s Institute of Hotel Management, then as a chef with the Taj Group of Hotels throughout India, and now with the high-end Bombay Club. But the chef’s real passion for cooking must have come from his childhood home: Born in a vegetarian family, Singhvi said that his mother urged him to follow his culinary dreams. She also taught him the basics of home cooking, sharing the tricks of making numerous vegetarian staples, including gadde ki subzi, gram flour dumplings poached then fried and cooked in a yogurt sauce; and chakki ka saag, a complex dish that requires removing the gluten from flour, leaving an ingredient that looks and tastes just like lamb — but contains no meat.
Regardless of his vegetarian background, however, Singhvi has mastered every aspect of the Indian kitchen and produces dramatic lamb, chicken, duck, and seafood dishes with sides that sparkle and accent each entrée. Although he is adept at preparing traditional foods, Singhvi keeps an open mind, and is willing to create new offerings, but always with an eye towards preserving authentic tastes and textures. That explains why his Goan masala crab and his lamb shank with tomato and cinnamon are culinary standouts, not typical of the usual Indian restaurant fare. Delicious.