Leeds restaurants: Masterchef star Bobby Geetha is refining brunch flavours in his beautiful Fléur Cafe
From pink cheese samosas and masala baked beans, to rose milk Victoria Sponge and baked coconut pancakes - consultant chef Bobby Geetha has infused his Indian heritage into the restaurant's innovative menu.
The Masterchef star boasts experience at the world's top restaurants, from training at the three Michelin-starred Noma in Denmark to working in Dubai, where he was named United Arab Emirates' Best Indian Chef in 2018.
Now based in Leeds, Bobby is a consultant chef, restaurant owner and the author of five cookbooks on Indian cuisine.
Despite his international repertoire, Indian flavours, spices and techniques are at the heart of his creations.
Bobby told the Yorkshire Evening Post: "My earliest memories of cooking are from my mum, she made lots of seafood and still cooks better than me.
“I was always fascinated by cooking shows and trying new things. Cooking gives me creative freedom; you’re always creating something new."
Bobby impressed critics on MasterChef: The Professionals in 2016, becoming the first South Indian chef to make the final 10 of the competition.
“I wanted to bring my heritage to the food," Bobby said.
"It should look international and amazing, but still incorporating flavours from my childhood memories.
“For instance, I made butternut squash puree but combined it with cardamom - a sweet spice, with a sweet taste from the butternut. It was the first time they’d had butternut squash puree with cardamom. It’s all fun.”
Bobby runs Fléur Cafe in The Light shopping centre along with owner Zack Issak, redefining Leeds' thriving brunch scene.
The restaurant is adorned with striking flower walls, neon signs and more than 20,000 butterfly decorations that hang from the ceiling.
“It’s a unique dining experience," Bobby added.
"We are the first to combine butterflies and flowers, you can’t see anything like this in Leeds - or even across the world.
“And the food is very personal to me.”
Bobby's menu includes reimagined breakfast favourites, like smashed avocado toast with coriander and truffle hollandaise, along with pans and grills, sandwiches and tempting desserts.
As a consultant chef, Bobby writes the recipes to the finest detail, taking the stress away from the chefs in the restaurant's kitchen.
He said: "Indian cooking is not only about the spices, it’s also about the techniques. It’s simple and authentic food, using Yorkshire produce.
"I look at how I can make properly-measured recipes that anyone can follow.
“That’s the way forward for the industry. I take on all the hard work, then I train a bunch of people who can run it for me."
Bobby's cookbooks and his YouTube channel, ChefBobbyGeetha, lay out the foundations of Indian cooking, which he hopes will inspire novice chefs to experiment with their own creations.
He added: “When I write a recipe or develop a dish, I always look at the end product first - how it will look, how it will taste.
"Then I work backwards, separating the process into sections. It’s great for people at home as they can easily produce the dish.
“Do trial and error, make mistakes - that’s how you grow and learn. Maybe that mistake will be a new dish.”
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