Haoma's Chef Deepanker Khosla

Inside Chef DK's green cuisine mindset

Written by Mika Apichatsakol

“The Plant Issue”, October-November 2023 

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Born in the small town of Prayagraj (formerly Allahabad) in India, Chef Deepanker Khosla was raised to have big dreams. His ambitions led him to hospitality school and training with the ITC hospitality group, before his big move to Bangkok in 2014 to help open the Tandoor grill restaurant, Charcoal. Inspired by the city’s vibrant food scene, DK eventually needed his own place to let his culinary creativity and ideas loose. That became the neo-Indian fine dining restaurant, Haoma, which has earned both one Michelin star and a Michelin Green Star for sustainable brilliance.

As a leader within Bangkok’s fine dining community in many ways, Haoma is notably plant-foward in its cuisine, with Chef DK being very passionate about working with ingredients he grows himself. Gastronomer Lifestyle sits down with the chef to talk about his restaurant’s self-sufficiency and catering to all diets.

Chef DK
Chef DK

Q: Please tell us about Haoma’s farm-to-table concept and how your restaurant is “zero-waste”?
A: At Haoma, we have an onsite urban farm as well as an additional organic farm in Lat Krabang. Our onsite farm runs on an aquaponics system powered by rainwater. We also have about 1,000 fish that consume the waste of the kitchen and in turn help create micronutrients for 20 varieties of plants we grow here. At our Lat Krabang farm, we raise 1,500 free-range chickens.

It’s important to understand that no restaurant can ever be zero-waste. We are waste-positive, meaning that everything that doesn’t make it to the guests’ plates is turned into compost or fish food. 

Q: What inspired you to open a restaurant with these sustainable and environmentally conscious components?
A: I’ve always been in love with Mother Nature, since I was little. Being with nature brings me a profound sense of serenity. Thus, I wanted to incorporate this in my daily life and work, especially as our environment is depleting so fast. We need to be aware of this and take corrective action immediately—all of us!

Haoma's onsite farm
Haoma's onsite farm

Q: As this is “The Plant Issue” of Gastronomer Lifestyle, can you talk about your philosophy on cooking with plants.
A: Today, we live in a world where, unfortunately, restaurants charge huge prices and justify that by putting expensive proteins on the plate that require little cooking or seasoning. Plants and plant-based cuisine, on the other hand, requires a lot of effort and technique. To make beetroot compete with wagyu is an effort many chefs shy away from.

Q: What are some of your favourite plant ingredients to work with recently?
A: I have recently been working on my new vegan menu, and one of the dishes we have on there highlights beetroot. We hasselback the beetroot, cook it in its own juice, and serve it with a sauce made from fermented cashew nuts, in a classic Goan style. I also love squashes, various kinds of potatoes, and morels in my plant-based cooking.

Q: What are you most proud of when it comes to Haoma?
A: Being the only Michelin Green Star Indian restaurant in the world brings a sense of pride to us here at Haoma.

The Aamras, Chaas aur Caviar on Haoma’s vegetarian menu replaces regular caviar with mustard caviar.
The Aamras, Chaas aur Caviar on Haoma’s vegetarian menu replaces regular caviar with mustard caviar.

Q: As a chef and restaurant owner, what are your thoughts on catering to various diets?
A: I believe in the rainbow. At Haoma, we cater to non-vegetarians, pescetarians, vegans and vegetarians, gluten-free diets—all of them! It’s a challenge I don’t want to shy away from.

Q: Are there any tips or insight you can give to readers who might not be so enthusiastic about “veggies”?
A: When it comes to food, I say that “veggies are smoke to your high.” Just meats do not bring holistic nutrition to our bodies. Amino acids that are essential for the body are best taken from leafy green vegetables. Balance is key for a sustainable and healthy lifestyle.

Q: Do you have anything special planned for the Jay Festival at Haoma?
A: Every year for Jay, we run a special 11-course vegan menu, so please come try it!

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