Chef Focus: Basant Darnal of 8848 restaurant
Basant Darnal’s culinary career has seen him work all over the world before coming to Aberdeen to head up the kitchen team at 8848, the innovative and popular Nepalese and Indian restaurant on Aberdeen’s Union Street.
‘I was born in India and trained at the prestigious Oberoi School in Chennai, before starting my culinary career in Calcutta. In 2006, I came to the UK to work under Eric Chavot at the Capital Hotel, having been at the award-winning signature restaurant at the Hyatt Regency in Katmandu in Nepal. I’ve even cooked at a few Nepalese state banquets along the way and I also worked in a Thai restaurant for several years, which taught me a lot about Asian flavours and techniques. This is at the heart of my passion for making the best of local ingredients fused with modern cookery techniques and recipes.
‘At 8848, I’m in charge of the menus and I work on ideas for new dishes, projects and expansion. I like to create something new from traditional ingredients with a modern twist, like our tandoori scallops with mango salsa. It’s about drawing on the best of many cultures to make something that tastes wonderful! I’m a big fan of the chatpatta style. I like bold, tangy flavours that also have a subtle curry hint. I’m always looking to include more organic ingredients and soul foods. That’s why I create dishes like our monkfish Balti and chicken lasoni methi, but I also love a really simple dal.
‘If I weren’t a chef, I’d like to have been the manager of a good restaurant as I am passionate about consumer behaviour and service. I always remember the words of a poet, who said, ‘If you cry because the sun has gone out of your life, your tears will prevent you from seeing the stars.’
‘It’s a principle I follow in life: be grateful for what you have and work for better.’
Picture: Basant is pictured with 8848 chef Nabil Bista, who is dressed in black.
Basants Tandoori Salmon (Serves two)
250g (9oz) low-fat natural yogurt
4 tbsp tikka paste
2 skinless salmon fillets
Lemon wedges, to serve
For the chilli mayonnaise:
½ tsb crushed chilli
Pinch of mustard powder
Drop of white wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
Mix the yogurt and tikka paste (we make our own, but
a jar will do) in a non-metallic bowl and add the salmon fillets. Leave to marinate for at least 2 hours, or overnight if possible.
Pre heat the oven about 200oC (we do it in tandoori oven)
Place salmon on a baking tray and cook for 10 -15 mins
Transfer gently to plates, add chilli mayonnaise and garnish
Micro coriander leaves and edible flowers
(or just use coriander)