Feridoun Sohrabi Shahsavar is an acclaimed Iranian chef who has brought the flavours of Middle East to Delhi. Even though we have thousands of restaurants in Delhi offering various cuisines, there are just a handful of venues that feature Iranian dishes on their menus. SET’Z, DLF Emporio, located in Vasant Kunj, has collaborated with Chef Shahsavar to offer Iranian dishes to their clients. This is another culinary feather in the contemporary restaurant’s seven-kitchen repertoire.

With more than two decades of vast and versatile experience in the food industry, Chef Shahsavar started his career with the Abshariranian restaurant in Dubai. He describes his journey since then as a story of evolution, inspired by different cultures and cuisines. He said, “I set foot in the culinary world almost 25 years ago. During my experience across the Middle East, I took every passing opportunity to learn as much as I could through culinary classes, interacting with fellow chefs and exploring the many different flavours every city had to offer.”

Having worked across leading hotels in the world, such as the Shahriyar Hotel, Iran; Hyatt Regency, Dubai; Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi; and The President’s Palace, Qatar, Chef Shahsavar feels that his experiences have enabled him to refine his culinary craft.

Chef Shahsavar tells us that he always found cooking fascinating and knew very early in his life that he would become a chef. “My passion for cooking was homegrown and I grew up with the desire to learn more and cultivate the traditional flavours of Iran. My developing passion for food was further heightened during the many years of living across the Middle East.”

In addition to his culinary expertise, Chef Shahsavar has supervised kitchen operations at the Hatam International Restaurant in Thailand. Talking about that experience, he said, “My one-and-a-half year stint there enabled me to supervise technicalities such as pre-opening, training of staff and innovating old-world Iranian ingredients and local flavours.” He has also been involved in running his family business of five restaurants in Iran since 2014.

Now he has set foot in the Indian hospitality industry with SET’Z, New Delhi. About this collaboration, he said, “SET’Z has always been renowned as an iconic destination in Delhi for international cuisines and I am delighted to introduce Iranian cuisine to their repertoire. I hope our patrons will enjoy the cultural authenticity I bring to the table.”

Commenting on the appointment of Chef Shahsavar, Dinaz Madhukar, Executive Vice President, DLF Luxury Retail and Hospitality, said, “DLF has always believed in redefining consumer experiences in retail as well as hospitality. When it comes to international cuisine, SET’Z has always been the go-to restaurant in the national capital. We are proud to introduce Iranian cuisine under the expertise of Feridoun Sohrabi Shahsavar, and hope that our patrons will enjoy the cuisine as much as they have the seven kitchens.”

According to Chef Shahsavar, Iranian cuisine is all about the refinement of flavours and inspires chefs to experiment with the dishes. In his words, “The Persian civilisation has been cooking for a long time, making Iranian cuisine a bedrock cuisine. Chefs have a lot of opportunities to explore old flavours and add a modern twist to the items in order to create something great.” He finds the cuisine robust and rich, with the food incorporating lots of meats, rice, exotic dry fruits and saffron.

He has introduced signature dishes like Maygo Polow, Kabab Kubideh and Ta-ke Masti Lamb in the long list of dishes he has curated for the Iranian menu at SET’Z. So how did he approach the menu for SET’Z, keeping Indian consumers in mind? “The menu we have brought in is traditional and authentic, so as to introduce diners in the national capital to the original recipes and not their altered versions. But at the same time, we kept in mind that we introduce dishes which evoke a sense of familiarity for Indians, like kababs, pulao and halwa.”

A master of Iranian cuisine, he has a good understanding of Indian food as well. Talking about the contrast between both the cuisines, he said, “Unlike Indian cuisine, Iranian food is subtle without the headiness of spices, nevertheless not lacking in flavour. Iranian cuisine uses less spice. Also the methods of cooking are different—Iranians use barbeque, while Indians use tandoor.”

In the near future, Chef Shahsavar plans to introduce authentic Persian food to diners across the Delhi-NCR through the DLF restaurants, and perhaps do some pop-ups in Mumbai and
other places.