We’re thilled that Head Chef Siddarth Rathore was selected by Wales Online to share what it’s really like working in a busy kitchen, his inspiratons for the menu and the journey which led him to Purple Poppadom.
1. How did you get involved in cooking and how old were you at the time?
I first became interested in cooking around the age of 16 while watching my parents cook in our family home in Jaipur, India. This inspired me to follow a professional career in hospitality and after completing 3-year hotel management in Bangalore, I began working for a five-star hotel group. So, my first time as a professional cook was in 2001 in the five-star Oberoi Vanyavilas Resort in Rajasthan. It was there that I first met Chef Anand George, who went on to create Purple Poppadom, and the rest is history!
2. What will a typical day be like for you in work? How many hours will you work and how?
I will usually be in the restaurant ready to start prepping at 11 am for that day’s service, as we like everything to be fresh every day. After that, we have a break and come back at around 5 pm for dinner service, and I will be working in the kitchen until 11 pm at night.
Our busiest times are rugby match days, as we are a popular venue for fans, being near the stadium, and that can entail a 12-hour working day, hectic, but we love the buzz, especially when Wales win! We have a capacity of 70 covers and open the restaurant early from 12 noon on match days which gives you an idea of how busy it can get.
3. What is the inspiration behind the dishes you create?
I like to keep up with current trends, finding inspiration from recipe videos and books, and from Michelin Star Chefs and the new dishes they are creating. We have our traditional styles of dishes, and then take them to new places using the influence of different styles of cuisine, adding a fresh twist has always been our hallmark at PP.
Working alongside Chef Anand George for so many years, he is a continual inspiration, and it is good to share ideas together. I have also enjoyed our collaborations with great chefs, most notably our friend James Sommerin.
4. How would you describe working in your kitchen? What is it like?
Working in a busy, professional kitchen is always challenging, it’s a high-pressure environment as we constantly drive ourselves to achieve consistently high standards with each and every dish that leaves the kitchen. You need good teamwork to achieve this, and I am thankful that the Purple Poppadom team is so tight, it’s what keeps us going and striving for the best.
5. Why do you do your job? What is your motivation?
Being a chef and cooking is my passion and it always has been, so my job enables me to fulfil that passion every day. My motivation is a mixture of happy customers, good reviews, being featured in the Michelin and Good Food Guides, those kinds of rewards inspire and gives you the drive to keep achieving more. It’s also good to meet our customers when we cook alongside them in our cooking experience sessions, it’s fun to help people learn some of the arts of Indian cuisine.
6. What are your hobbies and interests when you are out of the kitchen?
I love sports, especially cricket (I support India and England). The guys in the restaurant play cricket together in the summer, it’s a great family time for us. I like reading and listening to music and I also enjoy football, but no longer play.
7. What is your name, how old are you, and where (roughly) do you live in Cardiff?
My full name is Siddartha Singh Rathore, but everyone calls me Sid! I am 41 and I live in the Pengham Green area of Cardiff