Someone I Once Met: Chef on the Road

Thomas Zacharias is not a name you’d associate with someone born and bred in India. His lack of strong accent and head wobble are also deceptive.

I met Thomas in the small seaside town of San Sebastian, Spain, late last year. Our hostel stays overlapped by one night and its in the one hour I got to spend chatting to him that realized I was sitting with a very strong candidate for SIOM!

Thomas is head chef in one of India’s top restaurant’s The Olive Bar & Kitchen- once again- not very Indian. His specialty is European cuisine and it was on his 3 month culinary expedition that our paths crossed. Thomas blogged his way through Italy, France and Spain; eyeing out, helping out, getting ideas and basically just eating as much as he could. The hope was that his acquired knowledge would be priceless when it came time to open his very own restaurant.


Our hostel in San Sebastian was very homely, and it was not unlikely that the long term stayers (sometimes also known as employees) would aggressively encourage you to stay on. I witnessed this happen to a few people, myself included, but it was the effort put into the request for Thomas to stay that really astounded me. People who had known Thomas for more than 24 hours knew it was in their best interests that he stay.

There was not much left of Thomas’s culinary trip- just a week or two dashing around Spain before finishing up in Barcelona and then heading home. And who was in Barcelona? You guessed it- me! Mine and Thomas’s paths crossed again, this time left a little less to chance. He settled on a well known Tapas bar and off we went- two travel and writing enthusiasts joined up in Barcelona ready to spoil our taste buds.

And as if I wasn’t already aware, I was reminded that when an establishment doesn’t offer visible prices, you the customer are going to pay pay pay. And 80 euros later, that’s what we did.



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