I am Archana and as far as I can remember I have always been interested in food, particularly the fried sardines that my Grandmother made or my Mother's masala fried eggs. Both my Grandmothers were fantastic cooks and I would like to think that I have some of their talent in my blood. Food has played a very important role in our household ever since I was a child. Fresh, hot, homemade food that I don’t think I truly appreciated enough back then.
On completing school I joined a Hotel Management institute in India. I was seduced by professional kitchens right from the start; the energy, the organized chaos, the pressure of a busy service and the satisfaction of a job well done. I was told that commercial kitchens were a man’s world and this quickly served to intensify my desire to succeed in a field where female chefs were not well represented.
During my four years in college I was able to work at different five star hotels in India to gather experience. After college I was fortunate to work with a driven and dynamic team at The Park, Chennai. I worked for nine years starting as a trainee and exiting as a Senior Sous chef. In that time I worked with some remarkable men and women who were instrumental in shaping my future.
My formal training has been in European cooking. I have learnt Italian cooking under the tutelage of Antonio Carluccio. I trained in various cuisines such as Mediterranean, Thai, Indian and Japanese to name a few. The people, the food, the lessons, the experiences from those nine years have shaped me into the Chef that I am today.
A little over five years ago I had an opportunity that brought me to New Zealand. I spent a year and a half working in Matakana then moved to the city when I got a job at The French Café in Auckland. Although it was a relatively brief stint, it was an eye opening experience for me – the passion, the commitment and the sheer grit that was needed to work in a kitchen of that high calibre was truly inspirational.
I have also worked at Fish in Hilton , Kokakko cafe and a few others. All of the places that I have worked at have had a huge impact on the kind of food that I cook today. During the pandemic I also had the privilege of working at Everybody Eats. Everybody Eats is a pay as you feel restaurant where we cooked and served a 3 course meal with food that would otherwise go to waste, tackling both food wastage and social isolation here in NZ. It was incredible to be a part of a team whose values I share and being able to be a part of such a community has been an honour and a highlight of my career.