Weekend with Home Chefs #3 - David D'Souza

Welcome to the third episode of the "Weekend with home chefs series". In this episode we are introducing to you Mr. David D'Souza, a home chef with a great passion towards cooking and enjoys Goan cuisine very much.
Before proceeding to the interview, you will have to know a bit about the Goan food. It's spunky; it's got personality and is seriously addictive! Authentic Goan food is one of the biggest reasons tourists flock to this glorious tourist destination. 

A brief introduction to Goan Cuisine

It's a potpourri of flavours: beef, pork, coconut, jaggery, cashew and an endless variety of seafood. A lot of Goan dishes like Prawn balchao and Sorpotel are well known and relished around the world.

Goan food has many similarities with Portuguese food and this is mainly because of Portuguese inhabitants who lived there for almost 450 years. Goans didn't take after their prominent use of garlic in every dish, but definitely latched on to their flair for bread-making. You'll see that Goans often swap their regular bowl of steamed rice with soft and warm bread. Spices, fish and coconut have dominated Goan food for centuries and it's only in the last few years it has started to be featured with new, more innovative ingredients like fenni and vinegar.

Here we go to the interview.

Introduce yourself – tell us a bit about yourself

I am David D’Souza, and I have been a foodie all my life! I am based out of Toronto, Canada and an Information Technology Specialist by day and a Husband & Father the rest of the time. I love to cook and enjoy good food. I have been reconnecting with Goan food for the last year or so after a visit to Goa which brought back all the memories of food that I enjoyed while growing up in Bombay and Goa, India.

Where does your passion for cooking come from?

I grew up surrounded by a family that cooked Goan food. My family, grandparents, aunts and relatives were all tied into traditional cooking, without a recipe book in sight. Most of those recipes are now lost to time, and will probably never be replicated in their entirety. Looking back, I regret not having made notes on what was being cooked right there in front of me, rather than exploring new and to my fledgling mind, more exotic 'foreign' cooking. It was only as I grew older and ventured away from home that my passion for Goan food came to the forefront. There were just not enough options available locally in the Middle East and Canada to keep a foodie like me satisfied. I realized, albeit a bit too late that I never wanted to be far from a Goan food source, so I became one.

Where do you get your recipe inspiration from?

I draw inspiration on local and traditional cooking from Goa, India. I’m lucky to be surrounded by a strong group of family and friends that support me, and my love for cooking. The techie in me loves the Internet, and I research endlessly the cooking and musings of Internet chefs that have taken the time to post their versions of Goan food online in their own blogs, and I eventually gave in to my friends and family’s demands to get my own blog going. Dusty's Foodie Adventures was the result, which I now update fairly regularly with my creations. My biggest motivating factor was my 7 year old Daughter and making sure that some of our past culture is preserved for when she is ready to embrace it. I do not want her in the same situation that I was, searching for her roots. I want it to be right there and available to her. I also run a Facebook group called Traditional Goan Foodies along with 3 other like-minded bloggers and I am happy to say that they, as well as the members in our group inspire me on a daily basis.

Any ingredients you can’t stand? As well, which one you can’t do without?

I am not averse to trying anything at least once, so there no ingredient that I will not try, as a soft rule. It is the same for what I can’t do without, I like to experiment with different palates and flavor notes, so if I feel that a dish can do without a particular ingredient, then I will gladly take it off, even if it calls for it in the recipe. Chilies are a prime example. I like to tailor most of my food so that my daughter can enjoy it. Most traditional Goan food calls for a high level of spice, that I will either tone down, or replace with other flavor notes to enhance and/or retain it’s originality.

Are there any cooking techniques, dishes or styles that particularly intimidate you or are there any which you're yet to try?

I have experimented with cuisines from many parts of the world over the years, and find myself drawn to complex recipes. I am not intimidated by them, as Indian and Goan cuisine are very complex to begin with, based on the number of ingredients and flavour profiles that go in it’s make up.

Share your worst cooking nightmare. Any epic recipe failure?

Epic failures, no, I can’t say that I have not managed to salvage some semblance of dignity even in a recipe that seemed to go sideways from what was intended. I am fairly flexible in my cooking methods, so adapt on the fly as/when required.

What’s the most adventurous dish you’ve ever eaten?

Grilled frog legs and Haggis would have to be two of the most adventurous dishes that spring to mind. I am open to most dishes and will try everything at least once, with bugs probably being the only exception.

How did your cooking change your life?

Cooking helps to relax and motivate me. My wife sometimes thinks I am nuts when she finds me cooking away late into the night after a busy and hectic work schedule. It helps to keep me focused and is an excellent avenue to expend pent up energy, both mental and physical.

What is your message to our readers, food lovers and aspiring chefs?

It is never too late to live your dream. Stay true to yourself and take the time to enjoy what you are doing!

Thank you David for sharing your thoughts with Chilirush. We wish all the very best in your culinary aspirations.

To get in touch with David you can, 
We will come back with another interview with one of the best home chefs next week.

To be part of the series visit http://www.chilirush.com/2015/06/weekends-with-home-chefs-interview.html

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