“My entry into the culinary world wasn’t a meticulously planned affair. In fact, I wasn’t entirely sure that I would find myself in the food industry. I was just a young boy with a knack for cooking, or as we say in India, a “bawarchi.” My culinary exploration started at my home, under the guidance of my family. What inspired me to become a chef? The answer lies close to my heart, and it’s my mother who played a vital role. She introduced me to the culinary arts, and I fondly remember spending hours with her, asking countless questions and learning step by step.
Around the age of 13 or 14, I began experimenting with cooking. After returning from school, I would eagerly take control of the kitchen, preparing meals for myself. The joy that coursed through me was electrifying and I thoroughly enjoyed the process. Over time, I started to cook snacks and small dishes, which I passionately served my family, friends, and relatives. The positive feedback I received from those early culinary experiments encouraged me to pursue Hotel Management despite coming from a family who were in Indian Navy. After my 12th-grade, I made a resolute decision – I would pursue hotel management and follow my calling to become a chef.
Following my graduation, I honed my culinary skills through management training at the renowned Taj Hotels and Resort groups. From that moment, there was no turning back. Today, I find happiness and satisfaction in my role in this industry, where I create dishes that bring joy to people’s lives. Looking back, it’s heartwarming to see how far I’ve come. For me, food is not just a profession; it’s my first love, my art, and a fascinating science that I delved into during my studies in hotel management.
Talking about Hyderabad, it has always been a warm and welcoming city. After returning from the USA, we opened a few restaurants, and it was at Tiger Lily Bistro and Cafe in Hyderabad that my culinary journey took flight. The appreciation and support I received from our guests and food bloggers were heartening and gave me the confidence and zeal to continue pursuing my culinary dreams.
Right now, I am serving as the corporate chef for Bassik Hospitality, overseeing the culinary operations of three unique restaurants.
Hyderabad has a unique food culture that’s distinct from my native Mumbai. Adapting to this palate was a necessity, and over the years, I’ve seen the food industry in Hyderabad evolve. I’m delighted to witness people’s growing interest in exploring new and diverse culinary experiences.
Balancing my roles as a chef, consultant, and food blogger is not easy. However, I firmly believe that a chef is always a chef, regardless of the various hats they wear. My love for food and my unwavering commitment to innovation and learning keep me going. Reading books, learning from renowned chefs, and staying abreast of global culinary trends are all integral aspects of my journey.
For the aspiring chefs and food bloggers, if I have to share my piece of advice, I would say Success doesn’t happen overnight. The key is to work hard and remain determined, disciplined, and dedicated. In this fast-paced world, patience and passion are essential for the younger generation. Keep learning, keep innovating, and above all, be persistent in your pursuit of culinary excellence.”
- Chef Sanjeev