“My childhood memory goes far back to our big house on the river in the coastal city of Karwar, with kaane (lady fish) jumping across the boat in the mornings,” says Chef Ankita Fernandes, tracing her culinary journey. “My father prepared the catch, serving up six big pieces in a single vessel to almost 30 of us at the big family table at the gregarious meal time. We were in Karwar three to four times a year.” For the Mumbai-based creative heart, taking the legacy of her dad’s iconic seafood eatery ‘Fresh Catch’ in Mahim, to the lanes of Bandra, has been a natural progression this year.
What earns Chef Ankita Fernandes’ eatery ‘Fresh Catch’, a place amongst the seafood greats is its honest knit to traditional Karwar recipes and boat-to-plate fare. She has been powering her success with seafood through her restaurant. Her native village in Karwar, along the borders of Goa and Karnataka, flavours her culinary learnings, with her grandmother and father as her biggest food influences. “At 13, grinding fresh masalas using the mortar and pestle, preparing ginger garlic paste on Monday, and enjoying a cooking fiesta in the kitchen are my fondest memories,” smiles Ankita. The fragrance of the pounded nutmeg, cardamom and cinnamon proved to be her calling as Ankita shelved a career in medicine to pursue her passion for cooking.
Shilpi Madan for Sunday Standard