Zahir Meher-Homji – TFN Columnist


I’ve spent the last 40+ years in and around food and am still (almost) the same weight I was when I left Dadar Catering college to conquer the world of Hospitality. Not that the food hasn’t been amazing but let’s just say I’ve been very good! Did I mention being a Parsi, you are automatically a ‘foodie’?

Moving from sleepy, small-town Pune (it was in those days!) to the madness of Bombay was stressful enough, but faced with a grinding stone and ‘sigdi’ (we have to cook on this?) in my first cookery practical was another level of stress! Suffice it to say, I came, saw, and conquered before going on to spend 5 fantastic years at the Taj Mahal Hotel, Bombay, most of it perched in the Apollo Bar and Rendezvous, atop ‘the new Taj,’ a job with the best view in Bombay! 

I wandered off to the US in search of adventure and spent 6 ½ years in sunny Palo Alto, California, working at a fantastic Indian specialty restaurant, The Nataraja! An avid golfer, Pebble beach was around the corner but apart from golf, I was surrounded by cuisines of the world! Most of which were sampled, while food at work provided the ‘desh-videsh’ balance! 

Golf apart, being in the US starved me of my other passion – Cricket! So, with Australia and the ‘Gabba’ calling, my journey with Hospitality continued, first at the Sheraton in Brisbane and then at “Il Centro”, the best Italian restaurant on the river in Brisbane. For the next 18 ½ years, I had the pleasure of seeing happy, satisfied faces of a clientele that included cricket and rugby teams, golfers, tennis players, and half of Brisbane who I now call my friends! 

Winding down, I retired from Il Centro in 2016 but am still joint at the hip with Hospitality, teaching the Cordon Bleu course at TAFE (the Aussie vocational training organization) and cooking for myself and friends! And no, not on a ‘sigdi’, though I do BBQ that’s different!!

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