His passion of cooking made him change his profession, and today he successfully runs his own restaurant at Pajifond Margao.
By Cedric Sylivia
We have seen people changing their professions. However, we have not seen many people who change their profession for what they feel passionately about. Rommel De souza is one such individual whose passion for cooking made him change his profession totally, and today he successfully runs his own restaurant at Pajifond, Margao.
'After doing my diploma in Automobile Engineering, I went to Kuwait and joined Caterpillars. And believe me at that time I did not even know how to fry an egg. But being a bachelor I had to do my own cooking, and surprisingly I took a great liking to the same. My colleagues used to praise my cooking and this coupled with my innovative recipes motivated me to do better and better and although I have no formal training in cooking, I left for the U.S. where I got a break at restaurant called "Ashoka Indian Cuisine", which is in fact a chain of restaurants. After working for a good 2 1/2 yrs, and gathering lots of experience, I left the U.S and went to England where I worked in a 3 star hotel called "The Magnificent" . I decided to pack my bags and return to the place I loved.
Initially Rommel was undecided on where to start his restaurant. He finally decided to start in Margao alongwith his cousin Julio Almeida. It was called "Pepper's Gourmet Cuisine" For this he renovated a 60 yrs old Portuguese colonial mansion. The external architecture was untouched. Only the interior was changed.
Rommel is known for his Goan and Portuguese cuisine, although he has chefs to prepare other specialties such as Indian and Chinese cuisine. 'The people in invariably come to savour our Goan or Portuguese dishes', explains Rommel.
From the Chicken caferals to the arros and feijoda to the bacalao, he prepares them all. His restaurant is also know for its steaks, garlic chilly tongue roast, baked stuffed crabs marinated in a blend of spicy ingredients and garnished with cheese, sorpotel and sannas, and kebabs." The kebabs provide a stiff competition to our Goan Cuisine which is excellent for the restaurant' adds Rommel. Yet the masalas are all prepared by him and his aunt Elizabeth Gomes, thus keeping the family secrets within the family.
After concentrating for the entire first year on his restaurant, he now has ventured into catering for events / parties and home deliveries. He has taken part in a few festivals too, like the Portuguese festivals where he promoted Portuguese cuisine with a blend of Goan recipes, the GTDC festival, and the kingfisher festival. " There is no 'season' for my restaurant and ironically during the rains the flow of customers is on the rise, as most of the beach side joints are shut down on account of the rains," said Rommel.
Yet at the end of the day he feels that the appreciation given by his clients and the praise received from his friends and well wishers is most satisfying. It motivates him to excel still further.