Chef Peter Beck
Chef Peter Beck’s illustrious career in the NYC restaurant scene began at Chola, where The New York Times awarded him two stars. Adding to his career as Executive Chef at Tamarind, he received another two stars from The Times and has become one of the most renowned Indian chefs in New York City. He is appreciated for his great work in showcasing an immense array of the subcontinent’s diverse regional cuisines on a single menu, and also his passion towards vegetables and seafood.
Talking about his early life when he was in fifth grade, Peter Beck remembers spending a lot of time in the kitchen. Growing up in New Delhi, India, he recalls cooking lentils on a slow fire after school. “My mom hardly cooked—she didn’t have time. She was working and taking care of the household. I tried to help her out.”- He unfurled.
His good intentions of helping his mother quickly turned into a passion. He started his culinary career by landing a job in the kitchen of a five-star hotel in Mumbai. There he was trained in various cuisines, including French and Chinese, and was later promoted to chef. He worked as a chef in many countries around the world, including Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore and Italy, to name a few—before coming to America in the late 90s. Living in New York City, Beck quickly noticed Indian restaurants didn’t offer much except typical dishes like Chicken Tikka Masala.
Some of Indian Chef Peter Beck’s signature dishes includes Pollichathu. A whole deboned pompano fish with onion, tomatoes, coriander and spices. The fish is wrapped in a banana leaf and then pan-cooked. Another is Kesamarvai—slowly-steamed mussels placed in an Indian broth made of onions, ginger, garlic, coconut milk, Madras curry powder and tomatoes. There’s also Daab Chingri, shrimp cooked in mustard, curry leaves and coconut water and presented in a coconut shell, as well as fried calamari made with chickpea flour.
His menu is divided into starters, tandoori small plates, poultry dishes, lamb/goat dishes, seafood, tandoor grilled specialties, vegetables, rice, and tandoori baked bread.
But, the menu doesn’t stop with seafood. Customers will find various vegetarian dishes, starters, tandoori small plates, poultry dishes, lamb/goat dishes, seafood, tandoor grilled specialties, rice, and tandoori baked bread as a proof of the extensive variety inherit in Indian cuisine.
“I want to upgrade Indian food and expose different types of spices and variations of cooking and all the regional food from India,” Chef said. “From North to South, East to West, the food entirely changes.”