Gaurav Prakash Executive Pastry Chef JW Marriott Marquis City Center Doha talks inspirations and beautiful creations.

What first drew you to the pastry side of the culinary profession?
Becoming a chef runs in the family as two of my family members are already in the same profession and are settled successfully abroad. The story of turning my passion into a profession started during my first interview with Chef Ranveer Brar, one of the world’s most renowned celebrity chefs. During this interview, even though my initial preference was Indian cuisine, he suggested that I joined the pastry department, Chocolate Section. From that moment onwards, and to my surprise, it all felt right, my creativity was unlocked and I was on a clear path to pursuing a career I always dreamed of. It was the best of both worlds for me.

What or who inspires you in creating beautiful new confectioneries?
In order to grow into something amazing or to achieve something meaningful in life, the foundation that you lay has to be strong. For me this foundation was laid right after this first interview, with me joining the pastry team headed by Chef Saurabh Shahi, who became my mentor. He taught me how to give more than 100% to everything that I do, always to push the boundaries of my capabilities and how perseverance always pays off. These initial values that were imparted to me at the very beginning of my career have inspired me and my creativity in the best possible way.

You’ve mentioned involvement in developing gluten-free, diabetic and healthy desserts. Please explain how you go about this, particularly when items such as gluten can have very serious health consequences if taken in error.
I have been gathering knowledge and working on making desserts suitable for all, so that people who have dietary restrictions such as gluten-free, sugar-free or just target a healthier lifestyle, can still enjoy and satisfy their sweet tooth without compromising their health or taste at any given time. I have been diligent in making a dessert that does not contain any white sugar, which means substituting it with the healthier option such as agave syrup which is safe to be consumed by everyone. For the past two years at JW Marriott Marquis City Center Doha, we have managed to successfully launch a healthy food programme with guilt-free options that helps guests with dietary restrictions to enjoy more, being able to create over 1,000 recipes.

What is your signature dish and what makes it popular?
Golden Chocolate Soufflé! Yes, that’s the name of my signature dessert which is served in La Maison Martinez at JW Marriott Marquis City Center Doha. It’s a mesmerising combination of hot and cold, a pure hit. The dish is a 72% cocoa soufflé with edible gold on top, served with homemade rose ice cream. The uniqueness of the dessert is that it is served with the liquid nitrogen-dipped young pink rose which is fascinating to the eyes and gives an illusion-like effect. A true must try!! ✤