Inside Guru‘s orange front doors, platters of fragrant butter chicken samosas make their way out of the kitchen, leaving a heady trail of garlic and ginger floating in their wake. Just steps from the kitchen, you’ll find Guru’s chef’s table, and award-winning executive chef Deependra Singh at the helm.
Scattered in his palm are plump cloves, one of India’s popular spices, which are used in butter chicken samosas and many other Guru dishes. “Make sure you select the bigger, heavier ones,” he says to an extended family of 10 seated around the table. “Some manufacturers take the oil out of the clove, and that takes the flavour out as well.”
Singh knew it was a good idea to start a chef’s table when he started getting questions daily about Indian cuisine. “For me, a chef’s table is all about doing … something personalized, something special.”
Chef’s table experiences are popping up around Edmonton, each one infused with the restaurant’s personality.
At the Hardware Grill, the chef’s table takes centre stage in the kitchen, where guests witness chef and owner Larry Stewart chop, whisk and saut. Others, like Guru’s, occupy a space in the dining room and take on a classroom approach, with the chef explaining rather than showing. And some, like Ernest’s, the fine dining restaurant at NAIT, pick a special menu to each party’s liking.
But every chef’s table has the same motive, to give diners a peek at the inner workings of the kitchen and a better understanding of their food.
At Guru, Singh is a sage of his own recipes and his wisdom has the effect of enhancing the flavours.
“India’s cuisine is quite diverse. Our tandoori chicken combines both northern and southern cuisine,” he says. “The chicken is cooked in the tandoor, so that’s northern-style, but the potatoes, with the addition of lentils and mustard seeds, are definitely very southern.”
He then treats the guests to a close-up view of the tandoori ovens, where they toss and bake naan bread and cook kebabs on gigantic nearly metre-long skewers. If you ask Singh, a trip to the kitchen can be arranged as well.
Guru’s chef’s table can be booked seven days a week, and there is no extra charge. Guests simply pay for what they eat and drink. Phone 780-484-4300 for reservations.
More chef’s Tables Across the City
Hardware Grill offers a six-person chef’s table in the kitchen, featuring a five-course tasting menu for $89 and a wine pairing for $35. Reservations suggested about a week in advance. 9698 Jasper Ave., 780-423-0969
Characters’ chef’s table features four kitchen-facing seats allowing guests to interact with chefs. Reservations are suggested a few days ahead. 10257 105 St., 780-421-4100
Ernest’s has a chef’s table sponsored by Sorrentino’s. Ernest’s takes reservations for up to 10 guests and features a seasonal menu special to each chef’s table. Wine pairing included. Make reservations at least three weeks ahead. 11762 106 St., 780-8676