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Chef Rohit Sangwan: The road ahead is challenging but demand for unique flavours will never cease

Earlier creating magic in the kitchens at The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai, Chef Rohit Sangwan, executive chef, Taj Lands End, Mumbai, has over 16 years of experience across different IHCL hotels including Taj Palace, New Delhi and Taj Mahal, New Delhi. With extensive experience in banquets, bakery and patisserie, and other kitchen segments, Chef Sangwan in conversation with Express Food & Hospitality highlights that young aspirants must be ready to face every day as both, a challenge and an opportunity

What inspired you to pursue culinary arts as career?

The culinary arts were and still continue to be one of those rare fields that simultaneously calls upon creativity, skill and teamwork for you to succeed. You cannot decide to be a great chef, you either have a talent or you don’t.

What were the initial challenges and opportunities throughout your journey in the culinary world?

With an influx of new players in the culinary world, each wanting to make an impact and leave a mark with new quirky techniques or ways to serve/present food, it has become increasingly challenging for chefs to keep up and continue innovating while staying true to the flavours and authenticity of the food. With an increasing demanding for new culinary trends and dynamic customer expectations, it has become crucial for chefs to focus on providing customers with an epicurean experience that delights the senses.

I have always believed that challenges are opportunities in disguise, and keeping this in mind I have always looked at the culinary world as a platform to learn something new every day. With competition booming rapidly with many a talented chef out there, I have endeavoured to master being creative and innovative to influence and leave my mark in the culinary space.

How has the stint been with Taj? While many have a story to dictate of being associated with the brand, what’s your inspirational tale?

William James said “Act as if what you do makes a difference, IT DOES.”

It is with this faith that I became a part of the IHCL family more than a decade back, as I truly believed that the Company would not only allow me to make a difference in the culinary space but also give me ample opportunities to learn. Known for imbibing the values that are synonymous with the Tata brand, I knew since the beginning that working with an esteemed group of hotels such as the Taj will help me grow, and in return, allow me to give back to the society.

It has been an eventful journey that has seen me evolve from mastering my bakery and patisserie skills to gaining expertise and leading a team across various kitchen segments. With the continuous support and confidence, IHCL has always shown in me, I have been fortunate to have trained at School Ritz-Escoffier, Paris and L’Ecole Lenôtre, Paris, and most recently with the talented Alain Ducasse.

What strategies have you devised to make the guest experience the Tajness in F&B, once the businesses are rolling in full strength again?

Known for its epicurean expertise and varied offerings, at IHCL we will continue to develop strategies with one key aim – to inspire confidence and trust amongst our guests that our hotels have always and more importantly, will always place the safety and wellbeing of our guests as a topmost priority while they experience the luxury and comfort of world-class hospitality and dining. In addition, with a view to continuing to stay relevant among our guests, we have been developing innovative offerings such as our [email protected] services, which allow our guests to enjoy the legendary Taj hospitality and signature experiences from the comfort of their homes.

Moving forward what would you suggest the aspiring chefs keen on joining the industry?

As everyone must be aware, the road ahead is going to be different and challenging. However, the demand for unique flavours and cuisines that delight and satiate the tastebuds will never cease. Aspiring chefs must remember that especially in today’s times, even the most seasoned professionals are still learning new things every single day. Be that as it may, young aspirants must be ready to face every day as both, a challenge and an opportunity, to learn and prove themselves in the new normal as they set upon their own paths to create a mark in the culinary industry.

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