Need to have a good understanding of Flavours and Textures while cooking: Chef K.Hafizullah Baig-Marriott Hotel, Bangalore
Chef K.Hafizullah Baig is Executive Chef at Marriott Hotel, Bangalore. His food was appreciated by our Former – President Mrs. Pratibha Patil.
He is a Gold medallist in a culinary competition organized by South Indian Chef Association along with Govt. of Karnataka thereafter in 2010 he received an award for Best Fusion Restaurant PAPARAZZI presented by FOOD LOVERS CLUB for Food & Wine Pairing. In 2014 he was nominated for Unsung Chef of the Year by Hotelier India Award and as Young Chef of the Year by Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FH&RA).
He has more than 18 years of Handful career track with and specializes in American, Mexican, Mediterranean, Modern Italian and French (Hot & cold) Cuisine. He is also an accomplished and well known in menu engineer.
Hospibuz:- You have been working with Aloft- Marriott International since 2015. What is your Contribution towards the Hotel as a Chef there?
Chef K.Hafizullah Baig:- I would like to consider few important aspects during my assignments here at Aloft Bengaluru Whitefield. Here are few highlights;
*Re-launching the Mediterranean cuisine restaurant “Estia” with unique Greek ancient decor.
*Besides this, was also responsible for introducing street food concept as a weekly promotion, replicating the authenticity of the regional cuisines across the globe.
*Introduced various Italian and Mediterranean styles of cooking ingredients to the Indian palette. And implemented Local cuisine, live micro greens, millets and organic products in our All day dining.
These days the Executive Chef of a hotel is a lot more on the forefront than ever before. As Chefs, we are not only the face of the kitchen but also represent the hotel or the brand’s F&B philosophy. We are the spokespersons for all media appearances focused on F&B, as it is an important pillar of any hotel. It created a big impact on our Guest Satisfaction, reflected through social media and Guest satisfaction survey Platform. Where it resulted in 40% hike in Business in last 3years of the span. Very importantly, constantly were achieving the GOP of above 40% in Food and beverage.
Hospibuz:- How far can you Experiment and innovate with the Cuisine without becoming it something Else which you thought of?
Chef K.Hafizullah Baig:- I prefer using the term progressive cuisine. One has to be innovative and needs to always be thinking of new ideas and learning as much as possible. It is extremely important to challenge oneself. We are part of an industry where guests always want something different, they are well travelled and up to date with global culinary trends. They are exposed to so much and they are seeking new flavours and culinary experiences.
In order to exceed guest expectation bring embrace change, one has to innovate, experiment and present something new all the time.
I am not a big fan of fusion cuisines. I am a firm believer of classical food. You have to be really sure about fusion, as you cannot go wrong with the spices and ingredients. You have to understand the flavours and textures while putting a dish together. For example, in my opinion, you cannot combine Indian and Japanese cuisines – they are two very diverse cuisines. Indian food and cooking are more rustic and robust, while Japanese is more delicate.
Hospibuz:- How do you maintain the Quality, Consistency and Food Safety while Designing a Menu?
Chef K.Hafizullah Baig:-
i)Regular market survey,
ii) Using the seasonal fruits and vegetables,
iii) Following standard recipes,
iv) SOP in receiving materials,
v)In order to maintain quality and consistency following daily “Taste panels”
vi) Production Control and make sure no leftovers to ensure there is a bare minimum recycling of food (food safety),
vii) Following HACCP guidelines.
Hospibuz:- We have seen that the Prices of the Dishes are mostly high in 4-star and 3-star Hotels and the Quantity is not of that Level. What is your personal View Point in this Context?
Chef K.Hafizullah Baig:- Star hotels prices are higher for Quality product, presentation, Hygiene aspects and services.
However, in my point of view, I can say it’s just a mindset of the people thinking star hotels charges very high. But, in reality, stand-alone restaurants prices are much higher/closer than the hotel prices.
Hospibuz:- Nowadays people are becoming more and more conscious so they are moving towards Healthy and Sustainable Food. What do you have to say regarding the Shift in Dining?
Chef K.Hafizullah Baig:- It is always better to go with the trend. As the people are health conscious due to their hectic schedule at work in balance lifestyle, they are very choosy. Need to provide the food of their choice. Introducing Millets, organic food, live micro greens and Live stations in order to provide customised menu according to the guest palate.
Hospibuz:- The menu is the backbone of any Hotel or Restaurant. So, what advice would you like to give to the Start-up Hotel or Restaurants while Designing a Menu?
Chef K.Hafizullah Baig:- We have to be unique in terms of offering and presentation that differentiate your brand significance in the market. Need to provide the food of people’s choice and with better presentation (Unique) and ECO-friendly manner.
Hospibuz:- Do you think that the visual appeal of the Dish does make any effect on the Customers?
Chef K.Hafizullah Baig:- Yes for sure. Visual appeal is just as important as the tasting experience of the food. Before you even take that first bite, you’ve already judged the meal in front of you. The presentation of the plating makes an impression, even a promise, with the viewer.
Hospibuz:- In your point of view, how different is Indian Food from that of rest of the World?
Chef K.Hafizullah Baig:- It’s a food, great for the overall health of a person. Each and every ingredient used in the Indian food has its own nutritional value and medicinal benefits. Recent year’s Indian food has reached and taken a huge place in the global market and getting recognized by all people around the world due to his unique fresh spices, robust flavour and diversity.
Thank you so much for your prestigious time!!