NEW RE­CRUIT

Taj Dubai’s exec. chef Vikas Mal­ho­tra

Hotelier Middle East - - CONTENTS -

WHAT IN­SPIRED YOU TO GET INTO THE HOS­PI­TAL­ITY IN­DUS­TRY?

My love for food is what in­spired me to get into the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try.

HOW HAS YOUR PRE­VI­OUS WORK EX­PE­RI­ENCE HELPED YOU TO GET TO WHERE YOU ARE TO­DAY?

I have been for­tu­nate to work at some of the most ex­quis­ite Taj prop­er­ties across the world, such as Ram­bagh Palace in Jaipur, Fort Aguada Beach Re­sort in Goa, and Taj Mal­dives. The foun­da­tion of my ca­reer was built at the most pres­ti­gious ho­tel of them all: the Taj Ma­hal Palace, Mum­bai. I have learned to adapt to peo­ple from dif­fer­ent cul­tures and make the best use of lo­cal pro­duce. Con­sid­er­ing the cul­tural di­ver­sity of both guests and col­leagues, I plan menus and themes to suit the mar­ket. An mpor­tant les­son I have learnt is that copy-paste for­mu­lae will not work across all des­ti­na­tions.

HAVE YOU EX­PE­RI­ENCED ANY STAND-OUT EVENTS OR MO­MENTS WHICH HAVE SHAPED YOUR CA­REER TO DATE?

One mo­ment when I got an op­por­tu­nity to work with An­ton Moss­man, Miche­lin star chef from Lon­don, dur­ing my ten­ure at Taj Ma­hal Mum­bai. He in­spired me with his tech­niques and the in­ter­na­tional flair. An­other one was when Chi­nese master chef Pius Lo in­stilled in me the love for Ori­en­tal food, lead­ing me to spe­cialise in Ori­en­tal cui­sine.

WHICH HAS BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO WORK. HOW DOES IT COM­PARE TO YOUR CUR­RENT PO­SI­TION?

Each lo­ca­tion comes with its own ad­van­tages and chal­lenges, and the fun lies in overcoming those chal­lenges. If I had to pick one, it would be Taj Mal­dives be­cause the lo­ca­tion al­lows you to cus­tomise sur­real ex­pe­ri­ences for guests. I re­mem­ber cre­at­ing a buf­fet for New Year’s Eve in the mid­dle of the water. For this, I had to check the tide at dif­fer­ent times every day for a month. It’s been a month since I ar­rived in Dubai, and I can al­ready see that the culi­nary scene here is highly evolved. I’m sure I will have the op­por­tu­nity to cre­ate some stand-out jour­neys for my guests here too.

WHAT ARE A FEW OF YOUR SIG­NIF­I­CANT AC­COM­PLISH­MENTS SO FAR?

Suc­cess­fully man­ag­ing St James Court in Lon­don, host ho­tel for the 2012 Olympics. We hosted all the teams and of­fi­cials par­tic­i­pat­ing and since they came from all around the globe, we had to adapt our meals to cater to their di­etary re­quire­ments and pref­er­ences.

IN WHAT WAYS ARE YOU PLAN­NING TO ADD TO THE SUC­CESS OF YOUR NEW HO­TEL?

My pri­mary goal is to add value to each restau­rant in the form of taste and pre­sen­ta­tion tech­niques that will pleas­antly sur­prise our guests.

WHAT AS­PECT OF YOUR NEW PO­SI­TION ARE YOU MOST EX­CITED ABOUT?

I am most ex­cited about be­ing a part of Dubai’s highly com­pet­i­tive food and bev­er­age in­dus­try.

ARE YOU PLAN­NING ANY NEW INI­TIA­TIVES OR PRO­GRAMMES IN YOUR NEW ROLE?

We re­cently launched the Elo­quent Ele­phant Ter­race, a lovely out­door area with views of the Burj Khal­ifa. There are some highly in­no­va­tive theme nights cur­rently avail­able through the week at this pop­u­lar gas­tropub, and there is more to come. Also, at Bom­bay Brasserie, we have launched an Art Lunch every Satur­day where guests can ex­pe­ri­ence re­gional cuisines of In­dia, along with art and mu­sic.

HOW DO YOU FEEL THE OP­ER­A­TION AT YOUR NEW HO­TEL CAN BE IM­PROVED ?

It is too early for me to com­ment on this as the ho­tel has a great F&B rep­u­ta­tion. Hav­ing said that, we would like to be the pre­ferred op­tion for our guests in Dubai and our strate­gies will be aimed to­wards that.

Vikas Mil­houtra, ex­ec­u­tive chef, Taj Dubai.

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