Interview with Executive Chef Simiyon
Q: Why is an Ayurvedic diet so important?
A: In Ayurveda the diet plays as big a role as medication and therapy. The body conditions of each individual are different and seeing as one or two Doshas usually overweigh, people have to balance their Doshas through an individual diet. Following Ayurvedic treatments must be accompanied by Ayurvedic food based on one’s personal Dosha to increase the effect of the treatments. It is important to relieve the body during cleansing process and individually provide our body with the nutrition it needs to balance the “Tri Doshas”.
Q: What are the principles of the Ayurvedic diet?
A: As I just explained, people can be characterized in three Doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Usually those Doshas do not come in their pure form but as a combination of Vata-Pitta for example. A healthy lifestyle balances all three Doshas, which means that certain Doshas have to be reduced and others enforced. This is achieved by welcoming and avoiding certain ingredients. Each person’s constitution is different and an individual plan, created by an experienced Ayurvedic physician, is key to the correct Ayurvedic nutrition.
Q: What needs to be considered when you cook an Ayurvedic meal?
A: The most important thing is to use fresh ingredients without any chemicals, pesticides and artificial flavors. Furthermore, Ayurvedic cuisine aims at including all 6 tastes, called Rasas, in each meal to prevent cravings. These are sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent. Each Dosha should favor those tastes that bring greater balance to the constitution. Therefore all our dishes are categorized per Dosha.
Q: People usually shy away from spices used in Indian cuisine. Could you explain why Ayurvedic cooking is not so complex?
A: Ayurvedic cooking is not complex if you are aware of which ingredients compliment your Dosha. You can get an overview about those when looking at the dietary plan that you receive from your doctor at Somatheeram, or if you have not been to Somatheeram yet, you can use our overview, which classifies all tastes, the according food sources, as well as the effect that these ingredients have on the body.
If you identify a dish with balancing ingredients for your constitution and then add some basic spices like cumin, coriander, ginger, fennel or turmeric to it, you cannot go wrong with Ayurvedic cooking. The spices are not only natural taste enhancers but are also aid the digestion, which is important for every Dosha.
Q: What is so special about working for Somatheeram?
A: The well-known Somatheeram Ayurvedic Health Resort has a high reputation and accordingly its guests expect a lot! We also have to meet these expectations with the food that we serve.
Some guests stay for 2 weeks, while others stay for up to one and a half months, so we have to be innovative to present a variety of dishes from day to day. A visit to the restaurant has to be a new experience for our guests every single time.
Q: What were the challenges when you joined Somatheeram?
A: I was specialized in South Indian cuisine and it was very special to explore the Ayurvedic food concepts and start experimenting with Ayurvedic recipes. The constant interaction with our doctors needed some getting used to, but it diversifies my daily operations, even though it never gets boring in the kitchen in any case! Cooking based on the “Tri Doshas” concept, which refers to the three different body constitutions in Ayurveda, is different to what I was used to, because I have to keep many guidelines in mind.
Furthermore, we welcome people from all over the world and it is a personal challenge to please so many different eating habits with a single cuisine! However we are constantly improving and trying to be innovative to satisfy our guests.
Q: What is your promise to the people who stay at Somatheeram for a Panchakarma treatment?
A: We can promise you that our food will definitely intensify the effect of your treatment, if you follow your dietary plan. Furthermore, we will do our best to ensure a broad variety of freshly prepared dishes that will satisfy your taste expectations. Therefore, we can guarantee for the quality and purity of our food.