Q&A With a Sussex Best Chef – Chaulas

Chaula’s Indian Restaurant is an authentic Gujarati restaurant sat in the South Lanes, providing traditional dishes originating from Gujarat, alongside a menu of all-time favourites from all over India.

Head Chef: Jagdamba Jagdish Prasad Dangwal

Originally from India, Chef Jagdamba started his career in 1999 in his hometown, Mumbai, in India. He brings over 10 years of experience at luxury hotels and restaurants such as Supreme Heritage Hotel Mumbai, Imperial Palace Hotel Mumbai, Hyatt Regency Mumbai, Royal Kamat Restaurant Solapur, Vista Do Ria Resort and Albert Abela Sharjah Dubai. That’s a lot of expertise!

Q: Did you cook when you were growing up and if so who inspired you?

A: Yes, I started cooking when I was a child. I found cooking really good fun and I never felt bored with it. There was a whole new world of colourful spices to play with and I enjoyed creating new tastes and flavours with every single cooking experiment and they were definitely experiments, but, that didn’t matter as it was just home cooking after all!

Talking about inspiration, it was my mother who inspired me to cook. I usually stayed with her in kitchen and helped her with the cooking and at the same time learnt new stuff all the time. Slowly, I took over her kitchen giving her a well-earned rest, at least for a while until I started my job. After that, it was my wife who took over from me in the kitchen at home.

Q: Before you become a chef, did you think that’s what you would be doing eventually or did you picture something else?

A: To be honest, I had two dreams in my life. One was to be a chef and the other was to become a soldier in the Indian Army. I always liked the personality behind the Indian Army and what it stood for; smart, disciplined and hardworking. The other thing that appealed about joining and very typical of a young boy was that it would give me the chance to play with a variety of weapons and armours, which happens to be a hobby of mine now. I was extremely patriotic and approved of the idea of defending your country in its time of need.  I chose the life of a chef instead but my patriotism will never fade.

Q: What was it that got you into cooking: Cook books, TV, your parents?

A: My parents are the main thing that got me to where I am now. Since my childhood, I heard my parents talking about my relatives becoming chefs in big hotels and famous restaurants and earning prestige as well as fortune. So, something clicked in my mind and I decided then and there to follow in my elder’s path and aim to become a chef (rather than join the army).

Q: Is there a signature dish at Chaula’s Indian Restaurant that would be difficult to find anywhere else?

A: Yes.  It’s called Fish Malvani and is available in our Lewes and Brighton restaurants.  This curry is originally from Malvan in Maharastra, India. Malvan is a costal area where fish curry with rice is a local food and is very popular in India. The curry is coconut based, hence a medium spiced curry with salmon fish in it. Our customers love it.

BRIGHTON 2-3 Little East Street, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 1HT – TEL: 01273 771 661

LEWES 6 Eastgate Street, Lewes, East Sussex County BN7 2LP – TEL: 01273 476 707