5 Questions with Chef Arvin Dhansew

Chef Arvin at Guastavino's New YorkGuastavino’s is proud to introduce our new executive chef, Arvin Dhansew. Chef Arvin’s impressive resume includes Le Parker Meridien, Hotel Plaza Athenee and the Loews Regency. I recently sat down with Chef Arvin to discuss his history, cooking style, and inspirations:

How Has Your Background Inspired Your Cooking?

I never knew I wanted to become a chef growing up. I’m from Guyana. Back home, everyone’s parents pushed them to become doctors or engineers. Working in hospitality wasn’t presented as a viable career option. It wasn’t until I got to the United States that cooking became my passion. My first job in the U.S. was as a dishwasher, which opened my eyes to the culinary industry. Once I stepped foot in a professional kitchen, that was it: I knew I wanted to be a chef. Even though my career took an unexpected path, my upbringing still had positive influences on my cooking. My parents taught me to put my best effort into everything that I do, all of the time. This certainly comes through in my food; you always need to push yourself and be willing to take risks in order to create the best possible dishes. I also have to thank my wife for her constant support; having her in my life has been vital to my career. As a chef, I work many long hours and have very few weekends off, and despite all of this she has always encouraged me and motivated me to excel in everything I do. I could not have done it without her.

What Was It Like Being on The Food Network’s show “Chopped”?

I’m a super competitive guy; so competing on television against other chefs really lit a fire under me. It was an incredible experience that pushed me as a chef and inspired me to further my career. Coming in second was just as rewarding as winning because it made me want to work that much harder and become an even better chef. It really motivated me.

Do You Have a Signature Dish or Style?

In a city like New York, you need to be able to adapt to many different styles of cooking to fit many different culinary appetites. For this reason, having a signature style can sometimes be more of a curse than a blessing. I pride myself in my ability to adapt to my guests’ needs, rather than having my guests adapt to my own. I am constantly faced with the challenge of creating dishes that please many different tastes and preferences at once. My menus must always be dynamic, and my ability to create menus that every guest enjoys is what makes my cooking style unique.

How Do You Put Together the Menu for an Event?

I take my main inspiration from the host of the event; I like to recreate dishes based on their past experiences and what they want to eat. I’ll usually sit down with the host and we design their event’s menu together. Often, they will come in with their own exciting dishes in mind, which I will then re-envision to serve a mass crowd. It is all about what the host wants, and how I can make that possible.

What Does It Take to Create a Great Meal for 500 Guests or More?

You need to find the perfect balance between exquisite dishes and practicality. In a tasting for three or four people your options are limitless, however when preparing a menu for a large event or big group it’s important to simplify things, but without losing taste, elegance, or quality. There is only so much time before and during an event to prepare the meal, and there is only so much space in your oven, but you cannot let this jeopardize the quality of your food. If I can’t make it as well for a group as I can for a tasting, I won’t serve it. As soon as you start cutting corners and forcing dishes, you sacrifice your dignity as a chef. Planning to host a Wedding, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Gala or Corporate Event in New York City? Contact Guastavino’s today to schedule a tasting and discover all that our new head chef has to offer.

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