Jagdish Singh, exec chef of India's Castle, on passing the ginger test
Food trend you'd like to see in 2013: Not surprisingly, I'd like to see more exposure for the art of Indian food -- and when I say exposure, I mean in the media. I'd like to see more Indian food shows on the Food Network; on blogs, newspapers and in magazines; and I'd also like to see local food media pay more attention to those authentic restaurants that try their hardest to please local customers with their creativity day in and day out.
Favorite dish on your menu: Our chicken tikka masala is the signature dish of India's Castle, and our most popular. We marinate the chicken overnight, cook it in the clay oven and then serve it in a garlic, ginger and tomato cream curry sauce. It's like eating a meal in heaven. Really, it's that good.
Biggest menu bomb: I have yet to run into this problem, and I really hope I never do.
Food trend you'd like to see disappear in 2013: Fast food.
One food you detest: Bizarre foods like jellyfish, octopus, frogs and insects. The idea of eating those kinds of things grosses me out. Fortunately, I haven't had any of them and I don't plan to in the future.
One food you can't live without: Pizza -- those Italians make one of the greatest foods on earth.
What's never in your kitchen? Bad habits or negative energy. I try my best to provide the kitchen with plenty of positive energy and positive attitude so we can offer the best product to our customers.
What's always in your kitchen? Creativity. Because Indian food varies from region to region, there is always something new to try -- and learn -- from all the other regions. Even though dishes from the northern region of India dominate our menu, I'm always anxious to learn about foods from other regions by engaging with other chefs, or just experimenting with recipes I come across and hopefully putting them on the menu in the future.
Craziest night in the kitchen: About five years ago, right after Lori Midson had written a great restaurant review of us in the Rocky Mountain News -- it's a review that we still honor as one of our greatest achievements. I think it was a Saturday night, and we got totally slammed. In fact, we had so many customers that we set a sales record that day that we still strive to beat. The scene in the kitchen was completely chaotic, with everyone running around and screaming and yelling and cooking to satisfy all those hungry folks. It was absolutely nuts, but we managed to do a good job.