Meet The Chef

You do not have to travel all the way to India to get an authentic flavour of the country. All you need to do is go to the Spice Gallery in North Petherton, where your taste buds will explode with delectation and delight. The well established business is not your run of the mill Indian restaurant and is not a curry house, it offers more than this by giving the customer a fine dining experience packed with big Indian flavours.

To stay ahead of their competitors, The Spice Gallery has a secret weapon – their chef Aysan Shaikh. The master chef who has been a professional for 24 years did appear in the F Word presented by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay in 2010. Aysan has worked as a chef at Michelin star restaurants and has been given free reign to transform the menu at the Spice Gallery so it now has his signature style dishes.

He said: “I knew about this establishment before I came here and it does an incredible level of business. What I wanted to do was to lift it to the next level of Indian cuisine. I have designed my own creations and the menu is full of freshness and invention.”

It uses fresh local produce where possible. I wanted to create a menu which was big on Indian flavour and had no artificial additives.

“I take time to prepare each meal and what is served up is not just a curry, it is more than that. We do offer is fine dining and intense flavours.”

Aysan picked up his love of cooking from his mother who he says still makes a better curry than him. She taught him how to use spices but he has built on this and has more experience of how to cook and how to produce the perfect meal.

He said: “I love to do something new and I think a lot about cooking. I always want to give the customers something new. That is why I change the menu every couple of months. The latest menu which I aim to bring out will have a lot more sea food on it.”

Many youngsters want to enter the cooking profession and want to become a chef or a head chef.

What advice would Aysan give them? He said: “The advice I would give for anyone who wants to be a chef is you have to give 100%.

“You have to love what you do, you have to love cooking and you have to keep learning Cooking Indian food means you have to have a great understanding of spices and how to blend them.”