chef, gin dealer and a good soul
December 11, 2015 - single portrait
In Jaisalmer we stayed two nights in a very new private Hotel in a new neighbourhood. It was still under construction but two floors of rooms had been already finished and presented themselves in oriental charme decorated in style. The owner and his family often were around the guests, the location had been named by his little daughter Jasmine, who entertained the guests with hoola-hoop performances on the huge terrace from where we enjoed the amazing view on the nightly illuminated fort. Jitu, the owner, taught us about the hotel business in India, how to bribe the officials, to find reliable workers and to keep good attendants. he travelled europe for some while and therefore especially focussed on western tourists, asked us for advice from a western perspective.
Only the chef worked for him for many years. Madan originally came from Uttar Pradesh, is married, has two girls and a boy. All credit belonged to him that we had the best food in Jaisalmer, we loved his pancakes, a vegan dish of Rajasthani string-beans and Bindi Masala. He is a calm Indian gentleman with a good sense of humour, his service was excellent and so was his company. He not only serves the hotel guests but the whole family swears by his cooking skills. Probably Jitu’s wife loved him for that the most. Serving strong alcohol drinks is not common in Indian Hotels and Restaurants, while beer isn’t a problem at most places except from religious pilgramage destinations. But anyway we once we had a strong desire for Gin Tonic. We asked Madan and he mischeviously smiled and nodded (shaking his had Indian style), no more words were needed. The other day he handed us a small bottle of gin with ease, certainly proud of his good connections and the way he comforts his guests. he sent a boy to run for two bottles of ice-cold tonic water from a local store. When I asked him for a portrait he felt obviously flattered and staged himself patiently in his small kitchen were he performs all the miracles.