“Chef is the binding agent between the kitchen staff & the serving team”, believes Chef Anil Dahiya, Executive Chef of The Bristol Hotel
Chef Anil Dahiya is an Executive Chef at The Bristol Hotel, Gurugram. He started his career in 1996 with Oberoi Hotels, followed by InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), ITC and Lemon Tree Hotels. Moreover, he has appeared on various cooking shows on television such as “KUCH KITCHEN SE” on Sahara Samay on Sahara NCR.
Chef Anil Dahiya has vast knowledge about the culinary world and have also with many renowned chefs such as Chef Vincent Joseph, Chef Michael Beechey, Chef Marshal and Chef Sadhu Rohilla.
HospiBuz: Please tell us about your journey of changing the mindset of your Jaat family and making your career in the world of culinary? Please tell us what interesting incident you faced when you decided to become a chef ?
Chef Anil Dahiya: Life is completely different when you are born in a conservative Jaat family. Moreover, there is still this social stigma attached that cooking can only be done by women and unfortunately even my family had the same thinking. However, when I was in school, one of my friends used to bring delicious home-cooked food especially for me. This sweet gesture of her’s motivated me to enter the kitchen and cook something special for her. So, I cooked Bharta with Mushroom for her. Her praise and confidence in me during those formative years gave me the belief that even men can be great cooks!
HospiBuz: It is difficult to come up with different and new concept, please tell us about how different is Palmyra’s concept and menu from the other restaurants and hotels in Gurgaon?
Chef Anil Dahiya: I believe most of the hotels are very secretive about the way their Chefs and kitchen staff work, whereas at Palmyra we have tried to come up with the concept of a Live Kitchen, where my entire team will cook in front of the guests. I believe that generally, the Chefs prefer to stay inside the kitchens, as there they have the freedom to function, organize and behave in their own manner, but in a Live Kitchen one must interact directly with the guests and has to cook in front of them which can often be quite a challenging task.
HospiBuz: What inspires you to launch live kitchen at Palmyra, it is believed that chefs and the team working in the kitchen are the unseen hero working behind the wall but when it comes to live kitchen the entire team works right in front of the guest eye so how will you make sure that your team is confident with the live kitchen concept?
Chef Anil Dahiya: I personally believe that the concept of a Live Kitchen is not only favourable for the guests, but is also a great platform for the Chefs and their team as it gives them an opportunity to interact directly with the guests and understand their needs in terms of taste and ingredients. In my opinion Live Kitchens not only satisfy the guest as they are able to see their preferred food being cooked in front of them, but also helps in building the confidence level of the Chef as well as the team. From chopping to cooking everything is prepared as per the requirements of the guests, which is actually a major factor behind building the confidence level of the team as food cooked in front of the guests automatically increases the chances of them liking the food, which in return builds the confidence of the entire team.
HospiBuz: Hotel The Bristol has multiple restaurants which serve completely three different types of cuisines being an executive chef how do you make manage and control all 3 restaurants?
Chef Anil Dahiya: If done carefully, managing multiple restaurants together is not a difficult task. All you have to be is more cautious and attentive towards your tasks. I generally try to build a friendly relation with my team. I also believe very firmly that teamwork, proper communication and positive spirit are the only elements that can build a trustworthy relationship between all the teams which will eventually help in running all F&B outlets smoothly and without any hassle.
HospiBuz: In your opinion, what role beverages and cocktails play while the food (starters) is served to the guest? Do they increase the taste and food consumption of the guest?
Chef Anil Dahiya: We serve cocktails/mocktails to our guests out of courtesy, but there are many drinks that are being served to the guests before serving the meal as those drinks act as an aperitif. The drinks that we serve to our guests before the dinner in a way helps prepare them for the meal that they will be enjoying.
HospiBuz: Sir, you have appeared in various cooking shows on television please tell us how different is it to prepare food in a kitchen as compared to cooking on the television?
Chef Anil Dahiya: Cooking in front of the camera is completely different from cooking inside a kitchen as when you are cooking in your kitchen you don’t have an audience in front of you, and thus, you are less conscious of errors such as measuring ingredients wrongly, going about certain methods differently. However, it is completely different in front of the camera. The dishes that we select needs to be easy yet interesting and unique as the dish will not only become a new recipe in the viewers’ book but also represent your expertise and skills.
HospiBuz: Please tell us about your most unique techniques you have come up while experimenting with the food ingredients?
Chef Anil Dahiya: I always enjoy experimenting with my dishes. Creating something new out of the regular recipe or doing some random experiments in the kitchen is what I enjoy doing the most. I started doing experiments with my dishes at a very young age. I believe that although the flavour of the experimental food is quite complex, the dishes are the unique ones. One such technique that I use in creating a new dish is to mix the two complementing ingredients together like salt with sugar, fruit with vegetables, meat with chocolate and a few other such ingredients.
HospiBuz: You have worked with many renowned chefs such as Chef Vincent Joseph, Chef Michael Beechey, Chef Marshal and Chef Sadhu Rohilla please tell us how important is it for a chef to work with the renowned chefs in the initial stage of their career?
Chef Anil Dahiya: I believe that to shape your career and to have immense knowledge of the culinary industry it is very important for any chef to work with skilled, renowned chefs as they know the art of getting the best out of you. Moreover, I believe that feedback is very crucial for improvement and who better than an experienced expert to give you a true and accurate assessment. I am extremely proud and feel lucky to have had the opportunity of working with such great culinary masters.
HospiBuz: How do you make sure that there is a good coordination between the chefs and the team serving the guest in order to provide enrichening and best services to the customers?
Chef Anil Dahiya: The responsibility of a chef is not only to provide good food to the guests, but also to check that the food is being presented to the guests in a correct and orderly fashion, and for this, he/she needs to act as a coordinator. The chef is the binding agent between the kitchen staff and the serving team. I believe that a well-oiled machinery wherein the team works together and maintains a harmonious relation will always make coordination easy as it is an important element. One way of striking a fruitful balance is by setting aside a standing meeting or system that allows the Chef to see what everyone else in his team is doing and then adjusts tasks and responsibilities as per the requirements.
HospiBuz: A chef duty is way beyond the kitchen and its management please tell us what are the other responsibilities you undertake as an executive chef ?
Chef Anil Dahiya: Apart from the kitchen, I am fully involved with my sales and marketing team. I help them in planning the promotional activities for the hotel.
HospiBuz: HospiBuz is functioning on its vision to be the foremost informative journalism portal wherever industry professionals can showcase their abilities, skills and success stories. With your immense experience and information about the industry, please share your opinion about the need of hospitality industry journalism and its future.
Chef Anil Dahiya: Hospibuz is doing a very nice job. In my opinion, when covering stories related to hospitality industry the main focus should be on the upcoming and ongoing trends and ventures of the industry as it plays a key role in presenting them in a way that is more acceptable by the people. I believe Hospibuz is a great platform to share all Hospitality related information with the readers.
Thank you so much for your precious time !!