One of the incredible talents at this year’s Rosé Soirée, Saaz chef Sameer Mohan brought his fabulous Indian food to Southampton about a decade ago, and he’s taken part in many of Dan’s Papers Taste events since.
Dan’s Papers Rosé Soirée, a celebration of rosé — the East End’s unofficial summer drink — is kicking off the Twin Forks’ unofficial start of summer on Memorial Day weekend, Sunday, May 28 at the Southampton Arts Center.
We spoke to Mohan about his chef origin story, favorite dish, kitchen inspiration and rituals and more in the lead up to this year’s Rosé Soirée.
Meet Saaz Chef Sameer Mohan
How did you get in this line of work?
I was in I.T. in 1999 when the market crashed. I helped in my father’s restaurant and loved the atmosphere, loved dealing with people. I’ve been in the restaurant industry ever since.
What new food trends are you seeing?
People are blending cuisines, or taking presentation to another level. But people always want to come back to simple, traditional home-cooked meals.
What is your favorite dish?
It depends on the mood I’m in! So anything and everything, as long as it’s cooked right, it’s delicious and it’s simple.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
The Indian culture. It’s taught me to be humble, service-oriented, and to believe in good things. The food is all about creating those good feelings. I want to be somebody who can create more happiness.
Who do you most admire in the food/wine world and why?
Anthony Bourdain. He was very straightforward, didn’t have any unnecessary layers put on him. He went anywhere and everywhere, explored, never judged anything.
What’s your comfort food and why?
During monsoon season my grandma would make these onion bhajis and tea. Still, when it rains here in New York, that’s what I go for.
What’s a unique kitchen ritual you practice?
I always bow down and take blessings from the restaurant and our statue of Ganesha to keep us happy and make us do better. Because this is not only a restaurant, this is something that supports my family.
Visit DansTaste.com for more information and tickets.