Former Nottingham College student (formerly ncn), turned professional chef, Hira Thakur, returning to where his training first began, in the College’s commercial restaurant, to support the next generation of budding cooks.
After completing the Professional Chefs Diploma at College in 2015. Hira quickly excelled, and he currently holds the position of Senior Sous Chef at Nottingham’s renowned World Service Restaurant. But his success doesn’t end here; alongside his busy chef’s role, Hira has joined forces with fellow professional chef, Paul Thacker, to run a new pop-up dining restaurant.
The pair’s love of Asian-inspired dishes brought them together, and was the catalyst for their new business venture, Nakama, translated as friend in Japanese, which they launched in March earlier this year. Since then they have been busy hosting a number of successful pop-up events across Nottingham.
To inspire trainee chefs at the College, the duo created an impressive five-course tasting menu which they prepared and cooked alongside the students and served to a fully-booked Adams Restaurant on the 24th May. All proceeds from the evening will go directly to the College to help support the students’ learning experience.
The menu, which tested culinary boundaries, included: smoked chipotle miso salmon; yuzu nashi pear; daikon, followed by duck breast; hispi cabbage; plum; nasturtium, and a dessert of white chocolate pistachio fondant; and textures of raspberries.
Aleksandra Hornibrook, 19, is studying the Professional Chefs Diploma Level 3. She said: “It was really interesting working with Hira and Paul. It was a fantastic menu and both chefs were really supportive and fun to cook for. It helped me to see a different style of catering and plating ideas, as well as highlighting the importance of staying calm in a busy kitchen.
"My ambition after College is to go into full-time employment, working in a fine dining restaurant, so this type of hands-on, industry experience, was so valuable.”
Paul Thacker developed a passion for food and cooking as a child and embarked on his restaurant career 22 years ago, where he first fell in love with Asian flavours. After stints in a few local restaurants, Paul joined the team at the now renowned Chino Latino for the opening of its first restaurant within the Park Plaza hotel on Maid Marian Way. Initially training under the guidance of Sushi chef Jimmy Nakamura (formerly of Nobu), Paul’s flair and passion for pan-Asian food soon saw him quickly promoted to Head chef. Paul was further promoted to Development Chef for the Chino Latino brand and was instrumental in the openings of their restaurant in Leeds and London and the evolution of their menus over the past 14 years.
For more information about Nakama, please visit the Facebook page here: www.facebook.com/Nakamarestaurant