Specialization : Food and Hospitality
“I am the third son of a very industrious and creative engineer.
I started my career as a Kitchen Trainee with Ashok (ITDC) group. Shy, hardworking and mischievous, my aim was to reach the top of the Kitchen ladder. My initiation into the kitchen has been because of my parents love for good food. We would travel lanes and by lanes of Delhi to try the varieties of cuisines it has to offer and our Sunday morning was solely for going to the vegetable market or the neighboring farms.
During school hobby selection-I had picked up cooking as hobby more out of compulsion than by choice, it was boon rather as it had added another dimension in my creative mind and I started enjoying the whole experience.
My tenure of seven years in ITDC gave me experience of handling huge numbers ( up to 1 lakh customers in a Russian Mela in 1989 ) to state banquets to flight catering / railway catering and all. Working in one of the biggest hotel in the country was an unparalleled experience.
My craving for development and seeing the world made me leave Ashok group and I took up a job as a Commis Chef in a cruise line. I traveled to some of the finest islands and greatest cities of the world and experienced the food, I never had any idea about. Life in a cruise was not for me and I opted out after the first contract. Those ten months on a cruise ship taught me things which I treasure even today-the hygiene standards/ quality levels and most important – planning and the documentation.
After the ship I got opportunity to work with Chef Hans Lauer, who had been the Corporate Chef for the Hilton and later for the Disney-world. His single-minded dedication and his passion for excellence bowled me over. He taught me what discipline is and what perseverance is. His way of working and menu writing and cooking of Tex –Mex food was amazing. My short stint with him and Old World Hospitality showed me a way of creativity and how to fight adversity. Here I learned apart from Tex-Mex food about outdoor catering in Delhi and how to organize our selves with the bare minimum.
This knowledge got me my next job in Radisson Delhi as Sous Chef. I was lucky to be part of the opening team – the pain and the pleasures of opening new hotel and the outlets is intoxicating and have been hooked to it ever since. Doing the checklist, punching the equipment, training the staff and long hours of planning and waiting to open, success of operating new concepts, fine tuning the foods, trials and all. Its one of the finest experiences one can have. These experiences taught me a lot and gave me lot of confidence and exposure.
After three years in Radisson – I moved to Mumbai, opening the Renaissance Mumbai Convention Center and the Marriott Executive Apartments as Executive Sous Chef under Chef Oliver Klopf.
This was a new world, newer ways, and totally different ways of operating the hotels. I learnt what empowerment is and how we grow by learning from each other. Marriott taught me what are systems and procedures and how we can get the best out of people by just practices the set procedures. I learnt how any one can be a star by just following the procedure. The documentation taught me how every work can be broken done into simple procedures and standards can be achieved and qualities can be consistent.
My three years in Marriott were most fun filled and got me most satisfying growths in my career.
I moved to Claridges Hotel in New Delhi as Executive Chef with a challenge to change one of the oldest hotels in the city into THE happening place. Together with Mr. Asad ul Islam the F&B Director, we took up the challenge and set our targets.
With the confidence of opening two finest hotels in the country, I had pretty good feel about doing it. Changing an old hotel into new was tough and had its own problems in structure, people and attitudes. We relished the problems and were lucky to turn the property into one of the finest boutique hotels in the city in one single season. People were talking about its food and the quality, and the concepts.
Challenges started calling me again and I moved to Hyderabad as Executive Chef to change another old business hotel into a Marriott. The owners had a lot of F&B outlets in the city and were looking to bring finesse of Marriott to Hyderabad. I enjoyed the challenge as they gave freedom to create some the best restaurants and outlets in the city. They got me to stay with them promoting me as their Corporate Chef and later as the General Manger ( F&B Development) to plan more outlets and operate them. Then I planned the next restaurant, a boutique bakery and the Food courts for them.
Urge to do more and be occupied with loads of work and travel to the inner parts of the country, got me moving to Sarovar Hotels in Delhi as Corporate Chef. One of the fastest growing Hotel chain in India, with core focus on medium sized hotels in tier II and III cities. This group gave me a new challenge and a new way of looking at Hotel commerce-building cost competitive hotels–providing efficient luxury at a discount and training local workforce to deliver to a discerning customer. Challenge there was making things simple and straight without a compromise in quality, service and intention. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. My love is developing various cuisines of India-more specifically the vegetarian cuisines.”