I can't wait for my family in India to see Ireland

He moved to Cork back in March, 2020, to take up a new job, just as Covid hit. Here, chef Vikrant Naidu talks about his family, friends, career and good food
I can't wait for my family in India to see Ireland

Vikrant Naidu, chef at Bunnyconnellan bar and restaurant at Myrtleville. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Tell me about yourself?

I’m a chef and currently working at Bunnyconnellan’s and its sister restaurant The Lodge Bar & Kitchen.

I completed my bachelors program in India and also earned a higher diploma from the International Management Institute, Switzerland. I started my career in 2013 with classic cooking and every year learnt new trends and practices in the culinary industry. During my journey, I specialised in Italian and modern European cuisine and soon got interested in the Indian/Asian cuisine.

I moved to Cork in the first week of March last year, just before the pandemic. I did not expect what was coming for me, it was really a rough situation but with the help and support of my restaurant owner, Paul O’Brien and his family, things turned out differently. They supported me as much as they could and also gave me an idea to cook Indian curries for locals. It was a success and as of now we are also serving Indian cuisine at our restaurants, Bunnyconnellan’s and The Lodge bar.

Where were you born?

I was born and brought up in Pune, India.

Where do you live?

I live in Myrtleville, overlooking the beautiful view of Myrtleville beach.

Family?

My family is in India at the moment and they are really proud and happy to see me grow in my career. My mother, father and my younger sister, I do miss them a lot! Hoping to see them soon and I really wish to invite them here in Ireland to explore this beautiful place.

Best friend?

This question is very sensitive at the moment. My best friend (Durvesh) lost his life recently, it’s the biggest reality check I have ever got and it’s difficult to wrap my head around it. I had known him for more than 20 years. Will surely miss him.

Earliest childhood memory?

I have been very close to my maternal family and I remember this day where I was out for a walk in the town with my uncle and he got me a bicycle , at the time I was six years old and I felt very excited to receive my first gift that I could actually remember.

Person you most admire?

I admire a lot of people but the person I admire the most is my mother. Her name’s Geeta , she is an entrepreneur and a very hard- working, caring, ambitious person. I have seen her in both happy and tough times and how she handled every situation. In addition, my mother is the person whom I can count on. Even if I am far apart from my country, my heart will always be for her.

Person who most irritates you?

I do believe that people come and go into our lives for certain reasons. And instead of perceiving their existence in our lives as negative, we should learn to see the positive differences they have made.

Who would you like to see as Minister for Finance and why?

It’s almost been a year that I moved here and I really find Deputy Paschal Donohoe doing absolutely fantastic work, it’s definitely not easy to manage the finances at this time of Covid-19 , I do support him for his great work and I understand he has great responsibility on his shoulder.

Where was your most memorable holiday?

Thailand , the land of smiles. I took this holiday just a month before moving to Ireland and it was probably the best and a much-needed vacation. I took this trip with my very close friends and I’m hoping for another trip after this pandemic completely ends.

Favorite TV program?

Suits, it’s all about law and though I don’t know about real life law, in this TV series it is all about breaking the law, putting charges against someone and it does get interesting to a point and creates an excitement to watch the next episode.

Favorite radio show?

I was recently featured on The Ryan Tubridy Show on RTÉ 1 and since that day it’s my favourite show. I was interviewed for my journey from India to Ireland.

Your signature dish if cooking?

Stoned-cooked salmon with orange and carrot cremé, flat rice and pomegranate gastrique. Everyyone can find the dishes that I create on my instagram page @chef_vikrantnaidu.

Favourite restaurant?

Bunnyconnellan’s in Myrtleville, it’s one of the best restaurants and definitely my favourite. The location, ambience and cuisine is simply perfect and I’m eagerly waiting for it to open again.

Favourite song?

I’m Yours by Jason Mraz, it’s been 12 years since this song was released and it will always be my favorite.

One person you would like to see in concert?

Steve Aoki — I do listen to electro and underground music and would surely want to watch this artist perform.

Do you have a pet?

Well, I have a dog and he is called Max, as of now he lives with my parents in India.

Morning person or A night owl?

100% night owl and it’s been like this since my college days. I’m a chef and after a long day at work I always take time for myself, watching a movie or reading articles, researching on the current food trends.

Your proudest moment?

The day I received my work visa to work in Cork, at Bunnyconnellan’s, and I showed it to my parents, they were so happy and proud that I couldn’t describe in words. So yes, that was the proudest moment of my life.

Spendthrift or Saver?

I’m a bit of both, but since Covid-19 has hit I’m surely a saver.

Name one thing you would improve in your area in which you live?

Myrtleville is a beautiful village and I wouldn’t think of anything as such to improve, it’s a blessing to live in such a peaceful place.

What makes you happy?

There are list of things which make me happy but the most important ones are my family, my career, definitely some good food, and not to forget the Irish stouts, especially Beamish with my friends.

How would you like to be remembered?

I believe everyone crosses paths for a reason, and it becomes an experience. I would want to be remembered as a positive person with nothing but love to whomever my paths cross with. Furthermore, in my profession, I would love to be remembered to be a hard-working professional who always strives and ensures to maximise the potentials in order to bring the best outcomes at work.

What else are you up to at the moment?

Fortunately, I’m working and due to the restrictions we are only doing the take away from The Lodge Bar & Kitchen. Every week the team of chefs come up with a new menu and specials specially designed for the people living in 5km radius. It gives us immense satisfaction when the guests love our style of cooking and that keeps us going. I’m currently working under Michelin trained Chef Adam Kavanagh and it’s been absolutely incredible. I’m very excited to be involved with the recent launch of Bunnyconnellan Cork@Home experience. For more information, please visit Bunnyconnellan instagram or facebook social media..

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