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Article: Chef Diaries | Crescentia Fernandes On Blending Authentic Goan Spices

Chef Crescentia shows us what it takes to build  an authentic Goan food experience
Goan recipes

Chef Diaries | Crescentia Fernandes On Blending Authentic Goan Spices

Ever wondered what goes behind building the perfect blend of authentic Goan spices for those rare but typical Goan recipes? Then we have some good news for you… we are revealing the powerhouse behind the amazing blend of spices that add zest to our Goan spice line…

Meet Chef Crescentia Scolt Fernandes. You will find nuggets of wisdom from Chef Crescentia’s own experience as restaurateur, an F&B entrepreneur and above all a wonderful cook with a multicultural background. Her one true mission has been to take authentic Goan cuisine to people.

The Shift From Kerala to Goa  

‘I was actually born & raised in Kerala, but matrimony meant that I adopted the Goan cuisine and culture as well. While I wasn’t very keen on cooking as a young girl and hadn’t really taken to it, with the need and time I learnt. I never trained professionally but was always experimental and loved making food for my family.’ says Crescentia when asked about her love for cooking.

 But don’t mistake her humility for anything other than that, Crescentia ran the much acclaimed Bernardo’s in Delhi NCR, till 2018. A Goan favorite in town and a place people still try finding on the map.

But Crescentia’s journey did not begin with her restaurant’s success.
“We started off with pickles. There were regional pickles, no one had heard of. I used to be asked ‘What’s a Baingana ( eggplant) pickle?' It was wonderful but the factory had to shut down."

Introducing Authentic Goan Cuisine in Delhi NCR

Ask her how she thought of Bernardos and her reply is “Goan cuisine has so much to offer and I felt people would miss out on the authentic flavors if they are not introduced to it, so I took it upon myself to build a place that maintains the authenticity of the cuisine. There have been times some people have said that I make these dishes more mainstream, as in create a dish more favorable to a Delhi palate because I live in the North, but I didn't agree with it. If you want to have North Indian food or any specific cuisine you can always go to places that specialize in that but let’s preserve the other flavors and culinary styles as it is. Bernardos and all my other endeavours were in the spirit of preserving the authentic Goan taste ” 

Blending Authentic Goan Spices  

The same philosophy of preservation of flavors drives Crescentia to create her Goan spices as well. All of the Goan masalas are made in small batches and are stone ground. “ We had made spices earlier in the pickle factory as well, but industrial grade grounding machines produce heat and the flavors are lost to that. Also stone ground masalas have a very velvety texture, you don’t get the same texture and flavor with the industrial grinders. So I make very small batches. I end up making only 1 or 2 kilograms in a single sitting.”

Small batches can vary, so we asked Crescentia how she maintains the same flavors throughout the batches. “ Standardization is very important especially if you are creating a spice blend or cooking at a restaurant. Your customers prefer a certain kind of flavor and texture and experience. It;s important to maintain that throughout. It’s a lesson I learnt at Bernardo’s. Initially, I never bothered about all this because most of the time I was the one cooking and the dishes would end up tasting the same. I would instruct the cooks on the fine details. Once I met with an unfortunate accident and was hospitalised, and nobody knew how I was creating the masalas. So my daughter came to me and asked the proportions and like any Indian mother I gave her, add ‘a little’ this, ‘a handful’ of that. The next question was “ Whose hand?” “ What’s a little?” This made me realize that I needed to put some concrete measurements to this. 

When I started cooking again, I made it a point to weigh and measure all things, a handful was about 30 grams. A pinch was 5 grams etc.This has helped me make my spice blends uniform. Of course I don’t care about it as much when cooking at home… because there you just want to create a good meal but when cooking at a restaurant or making a spice blend I always stick to the prescribed amounts. This standardization is our secret to cretaing the authentic Goan experience” The association with Home Kouzina is well justified by this philosophy. 

"Standardization is very important especially if you are creating a spice blend or cooking at a restaurant. Your customers prefer a certain kind of flavor and texture and experience. It's important to maintain that throughout."

The Chef's Expertise


And how does she know that she has created the right blend? “ You cannot taste your own masalas but I think I can tell from the way they smell, I have a nose for that.” 
Ask Crescentia if there is a meal that she remembers the most or if there are regular places she loves to eat at and she says “ I think the best memories that I associate are with home cooked meals. I do not enjoy eating out as much. Also if left alone I may be the one for a ‘girl dinner’, I will eat a fruit. I enjoy cooking for others, I love it when people lick their plates clean.It is a joy to see people enjoy your cooking.”

Other than creating authentic Goan spices what keeps her busy these days. “ I am currently writing a book in which I am collecting the recipes from my mother, my elder sister who is no more and my sister who recollects some of her recipes better than I can. I grew up in Kerala but I had very little recollection of the cuisine. However, experimenting with the old recipes is making me learn a lot more. I hope to publish soon.” 

Ask her about the new found love for different cultures and the acceptance for food from all over and she exclaims “ On one hand I think it’s very commercialized these days, like no one knew about Onam Sadya in Delhi NCR but now it has become very mainstream even in the North, but on the other hand I feel it is good because it is creating an acceptance for cultures other than the local culture of the region. Though i hope they preserve the authentic experience so that there is no misappropriation.”

“That’s why I tied up with Home Kouzina, people love to cook and recreate recipes at home and I want them to experience the authentic cuisine from Goa & flavors from Goa. I find it amusing when someone comes and tell me we had fish ‘recheado’, it was coated in the paste and fried like a fish fry. ‘Racheo’ itself means stuffing and Recheado is the verb that means ‘stuffed’. But to each their own. You can use the pastes and spices as you like, the important thing is that we at Home Kouzina will give you the best culinary experience by ensuring that we have maintained the age old practices. Cooking is an art after all”
It sure is and Chef Crescentia is definitely an artist, you can visit her instagram handle to know more about her here: .
For more on the rare blends and spices keep watching this space. We at Home Kouzina intend to add spice to your life with the best and rarest of Indian masalas. Check out or complete line of Goan spices at

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