Samir Dhurandhar, Nick & Sam’s

Nick and Sam’s founding chef and family man Samir Dhurandhar inherited a love of cooking from his mother and is happy making his daughter’s broccoli just the way she likes it.

photography by Elizabeth Lavin

Samir Dhurandhar
Nick and Sam’s

Samir Dhurandhar, the founding chef at Nick and Sam’s, is a mama’s boy we can love. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Dhurandhar hails from India and still credits his mom back home for his signature recipes.

Produce you should buy now:
All kinds of potatoes, pears, chestnuts, fennel, cranberries, Florida oranges, tomatoes, tangerines, and pumpkins.

Ingredient I use most:
Ginger

What convinced me to be a chef:
My mother. She is an excellent cook and always fed me at all times of the day. I used to help my mom with cooking classes in India. Mainly I love to eat. I’ve always wanted to be a chef, ever since I was a little kid.

My signature dish:
I love to cook Asian and Indian cuisines. You should try my potato crusted lamb chops (my mom’s recipe).

Two kitchen tools:
A fish spatula and definitely a handheld blender.

photography by Getty

One spice you should have in your spice rack:
Garam Masala
(an Indian blend of spices that includes coriander, cumin, and red chili). You can get it at Taj Mahal Imports, on Central Expressway and Belt Line Road. It’s great in a marinade for fish and meat or as a finishing sauce.

My guilty pleasure:
Chocolate in any form, second is soup.

My favorite cookbook:
Alfred Portale’s Gotham Bar and Grill Cookbook and Asian Grills by Alexandra Greeley.

One easy tablesetting tip to help set a mood:
Frank Sinatra.

Best secret preparation tip:
Use Vitamin D tablets when making a green sauce or pesto. Grind it in there, and your sauce will stay bright green for weeks.

Best compliment to the chef:
“Hmm, Hmm, Hmm, I like this, Dada,” when my 2-year-old daughter is telling me how she likes her broccoli.

A cooking disaster:
One of my line cooks in New York cut off his thumb during service on a busy Saturday night. We lost the thumb and couldn’t find it. I think it went out with the chicken tenders.

Area chefs I’m watching:
Kent Rathbun at Abacus and Ross Shonhan at Nobu.

Simple entertaining tip to keep the party going:
Champagne and watermelon popsicles.

Something I won’t to cook:
I’ll cook anything, but I’ve never liked the taste of an avocado.

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