India's premier luxury lifestyle women's magazine
Verve People
January 02, 2017

Shifting Base: Aakritee Sinh

Text by Simone Louis. Photograph by Jane D'Souza. Hair and Make-up Courtesy: Snip Salons & Spas

The chef and co-owner of A Reverie talks about taking the leap and moving to Goa

It was 20 years ago — after having worked at one of the country’s top luxury hotel groups — that this charismatic restaurateur decided to move away from the bustle of Delhi in order to embrace the serenity that Goa offered. She was at the peak of her career, but she was craving something else. “I didn’t want to succumb to the city burnout phenomenon; I wanted to nurture the ‘madness’ quotient” is how Aakritee Sinh explains it. Considering Goa is where she met her husband and opened what is one of the city’s most popular restaurants with him, I’d say it was worth it.

Assured artfulness
“Running away is not a solution…you need to be at peace with yourself. The place doesn’t decide what and how you are. Goa gives me the liberty to think, imagine, implement. It surprises us every day. Unlike restaurants in cities, I don’t have a ‘clientele’. I can play with cuisines, flavours and techniques from all over the world because my guests are globally inspired too. There is no clockwork mechanism here. My dishes vary depending on the whim of the land, sea and season.”

Uncalculated risks
“I came to this state at a time when there were very few non-Goans living here; I was an early settler. I abandoned my very promising job, moved without friends or family and spent all my savings to start A Reverie. I only hired staff that had no previous work experience, professional qualification or kitchen training! I had too many radical food concepts in mind and wanted to work with fresh canvases.”

Sensory bliss
“Ooh, the smell — I can never forget it! I came here on the first of July; I was on my hotel room balcony soaking in the first rains. The smell was incredible. I’m very sensual with my food and creativity…so for me, it was a symbol of fertility.”

Looming reservations
“I never used to worry about safety, but I do now…because of how commercial and accessible the place has become. It’s the people who come here with the wrong intentions that worry me; people who want to take, not give.”

Evolving soul
“The time when Goa was only a hippy destination is long gone. Even at the restaurant, we have the backpacker who has saved money for three meals and treated himself to one fancy meal with us as well as the Bollywood or Hollywood celebrity on a secret luxury holiday.”

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