Five minutes with… Huzefa Sajawal

Soho favourite Fatt Pundit opens its second location in Covent Garden this month. Its chef and owner talks about good ingredients, cricket and the joy of steak

Food and Drink 1 Sep 2021

Fatt Pundit chef and owner Huzefa Sajawal

Can you introduce us to Fatt Pundit?

Fatt Pundit takes inspiration from the unique cuisine that was invented when the Hakka people migrated to India from the Chinese province of Canton, bringing their culinary riches with them. We wanted London to taste these amazing flavours of Indo-Chinese cuisine and experience this unique journey.

What is your favourite dish on the menu?

I have so many, it is difficult to choose! But of them all, I would choose sticky sesame vegetables for the texture and balance of flavours. The simplicity of this dish makes it one of my favourites.

What inspired you to get into hospitality?

HS: I started at a very young age, when I began to be entrusted by my grandmother with shopping trips to our local markets. She was very particular about sourcing the right ingredients. Her passion for food and hosting gatherings has inspired me the most. I completed my masters in food and hospitality and moved to London, where I had the opportunity to pursue my passion.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given in your career?

To keep it simple. Use the best-quality ingredients and make sure they complement each other, that there is no conflict on a plate.

Who is your role model and how they have influenced you?

I had the opportunity to work with chef Ollie Couillaud, best-known for his work at La Trompette. The intense passion he and his team had for the food they cooked, as well as the sourcing and training, has been a great inspiration in my career.

What ingredient can you not live without and why?

I really enjoy working with different spices from the Indian subcontinent. Finding the right balance can be challenging but can also lead to something quite unique and incredibly delicious.

What is your favourite food in London?

I love a good steak. One of my favourites would be a T-bone at Hawksmoor, served with their amazing bone marrow gravy and Yorkshire pudding!

What do you like to do on your days off?

It is important to take some time to disconnect, so a day off involves absolutely no work. I spend quality time with family and friends.

Where are you most looking forward to travelling to?

I have always been fascinated by the culture and especially the food of Japan. I can’t wait to experience it out there.

Apart from food, what are your biggest passions?

Cricket has always been something I enjoy playing and watching, especially here in the UK, where we have some of the most amazing grounds.

Fatt Pundit, 77 Berwick St, Soho, London, W1F 8TH;

Fatt Pundit’s new outpost opens on Maiden Lane this month, and will feature classic dishes from the Soho sister site, as well as new signature cocktails inspired by the flavours and spices of India and China