Chef entrepreneur Gautam Chaudhry, founder of Demiurgic Hospitality speaks about his inspiration and the evolving F&B scenario in India. By Steena Joy
What or who was your inspiration to becoming a chef?
I have some great memories of my Mom’s cooking. I remember when she used to make Pindi Choley then entire neighbourhood would pour in for a katori of “Chachi ji’s” choley. Everyone around used to address her as “Chachi Ji”. These appreciations kept me engaged and high on enthusiasm. Though as a child, I never considered the culinary arena as a career opportunity but was always very keen on cooking and used to try weird combinations. The curiosity kept increasing and I am here finally.
What was the experience behind Tanzore, Beverly Hills? How did it help shape your career?
Tanzore was my first overseas project and at a tender age, so was very excited. The base of the restaurant was laid well and the architect did a great job. I did a lot of study to understand local taste buds and their preferences. Post trials & internal practice we launched the restaurant with a pan-Indian approach. During those years, Indian restaurants were generally known for North-West frontier or Punjabi food. There was no regional influence. In Tanzore, I tried to incorporate Pan-Indian Cuisine with a progressive approach and it was received well. Got many awards and recognitions but “Michelin Recommendation” was special. It certainly was a big boost for a 29 year old. Post that I came back to Indian and led the pre-opening team of “Radisson Hotel” in Kharari, Pune. This was my first pre-opening experience of a hotel, which was a great learning. Even “The Pink Poppodom” opening was well accepted by our patrons. “TPP” as we used to refer it, was covered by “BBC Good Food” as the best progressive Indian restaurant in Asia.
How has Indian F&B scene evolved over the years? How does it compare internationally?
I describe food as an “Indefinite Traveller”. We keep travelling and keep innovating food as per our likes & dislikes. Over last few years, food has travelled from its classic ‘region bound approach’ to its new Avatar and the journey is in process. The transformation of a cuisine over the period of time happens because of various reasons as a wise man has said “Necessity is the mother of all Inventions”. This development is in progress and is moving at a good pace in India. We Indians are very receptive to things and take things in our stride easily. 70 per cent of spice production of the world happens in India. The quality & variety of spices that we find in India are far ahead of anywhere else in the world. It certainly gives an edge to our chefs and we utilise this well. In terms of infrastructure comparison to the international counterparts, we will take some time but we are on the right track and stand tall in front of the international standards.
What is the vision for your entrepreneurial venture Demiurgic Hospitality?
Demiurgic Hospitality is a Food & Beverage organisation which possesses the vision to be the largest F&B operator in the country serving quality food, prepared in hygienic kitchen and delivered with impeccable service. The company operates a state-of-the-art kitchen spread in 5000 sq. ft. area in the heart of Gurugram. The Gurugram kitchen is a pilot project and will be replicated in high growth cities like Jaipur, Ludhiana, Pune, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad and Kolkata over next 5 years. Demiurgic wishes to operate high-end dine in restaurants serving quality food in a hygienic set-up.
Your dream project?
Demiurgic Hospitality is my dream project and am trying best not to leave any stone unturned.
What advice would you give to aspiring chef entrepreneurs?
“Attention to Detail” is my mantra for a successful F&B operation and would strongly recommend the same.