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We were recently contacted by The Randin Chef, Michel Randin, and were bowled over by the glowing reviews that we were sent. Michel organizes cooking workshops and we asked him a few questions.

Why did you start? What has been the inspiration?

I’m Swiss. I love to cook. And I’ve married into a big South Indian family. It was inevitable that I turned my hand to Indian cuisine during my 16-year marriage!

The idea for The Randin Chef came to me after hearing so many people say they avoid using Indian spices because they never know how much to use or what to mix. I want to show people that Indian cooking can be easy and that contrary to popular belief, it does not take a long time to make healthy and flavourful dishes with just a few key ingredients.

My inspiration came from my wife’s aunt, Renee D’Souza, who has been my mentor and keenest supporter. She loves cooking as much as I do and when we visited her in India in 2014, she took me under her wing and showed me how to make several dishes from Mangalore and Goa, situated in the South of India. She was a patient teacher who gave me the confidence to reproduce everything I learnt once I got back to Switzerland and the knowledge to experiment with these spices on my own.

This is the feeling that I hope to transmit to participants at my workshops. I want them to learn-by-doing so that they have the confidence to create these dishes at home to enjoy with their family and friends.

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Have you been working on this idea forever, or was it something that came to you recently?

While the workshop concept and finding a place to conduct them has taken a few months to come together, the truth is I’ve always wanted to own and run a business in the food industry. I even did a short internship at a well-known hotel after high school to try and learn the trade. But I was 15 at the time and the shine quickly faded when I realised just how much of a dent the evening and weekend work would make on my social life! So, I gave up the dream for a more ‘stable’ job and regular hours in banking. Do I regret it? Not at all. I would have probably not had the business and financial know-how or the drive that I do now.

What is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome?

I think my biggest obstacle has been me! If you’re starting up a business and you’re full of self-doubt, trust me you’re in good company.

It’s not easy to change professional direction and this project has pushed me out of my comfort zone and challenged me in numerous ways. I’ve had to put myself out there, learn how to get comfortable in front of a camera and in front of people I’ve just met. Believe me, this is a novel concept for a former banker used to being behind a desk and computer!

But if it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a supportive community to help build a business and I’ve been supremely lucky in this respect. The Randin Chef logo was produced by Gynelle Alves a multi-talented Mumbai based artist and illustrator and my recent promo video was created by Juraj Berezny, a Swiss based videographer and the creative genius behind Now or Never VDO. While it’s never easy to break out on your own, you need to look forward because this where you’ll meet the amazing people who will help take your work to the next level.

Where do you see this company going? What are your plans for the future?

The long-term aim is to make The Randin Chef an international company which holds cooking courses in different cuisines for individuals, children as well as innovative team building activities for corporations.

Over the coming year, however, I’m looking to increase the number of workshops around Switzerland and create partnerships with local producers and companies. There is also an online spice shop in development so that The Randin Chef becomes a one-stop-shop for recipes and all the necessary ingredients.

What is your favorite product you offer and why?

Aside from the workshops which I thoroughly enjoy because it gives me an opportunity to meet interesting people, I also produce a range of products myself like ghee and other Indian pickles. I’m especially proud of my ghee, which is a labour of love to produce and a great talking point with the people I meet!
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What the participants wrote to tell us

Ashley Puckett from Luna Guide to Travel wrote, “It was a 360 experience... hands on, learning about the invigorating Indian spices, indulging on Indian wines, eating family style in the warmth of new friends. Also the way the classes are taught, you leave with the knowledge of how to make complex cuisine accessible at home. Who wouldn’t want to experience something like this?”

And a glowing report from Hayley Carmichael, “It was an absolute culinary pleasure to participate in an evening of Indian cooking hosted by The Randin Chef. Michel organised a vegetarian version of all of the recipes we learned to prepare, catering to my dietary preferences. The workshop was hands-on and we were a small group which made the event feel tailored to our different cooking skills, and made for a fantastic ambiance when we all sat down together to eat the food we had prepared. The best part is that I left with a complimentary spice kit and detailed instructions to easily reproduce the recipes at home - Indian cuisine truly made accessible!”

Camille wrote to knowitall.ch to say, “I had a lovely evening: professional tips and recipes, smells and flavours by the dozen, a lot of generosity and opportunities to learn... I warmly recommend these workshops and look forward to meeting you there as I will definitely go back!”

The Randin Chef
Workshops held in Échichens, VD

Check out www.therandinchef.com to stay informed of new workshops and products.

Facebook @TheRandinChef: At the moment, they have organized a competition to win a place for 2 at one of the upcoming workshops. Visit the Facebook page at this link.

Instagram @the_randin_chef