For Anurudh Khanna its almost two decades in the hospitality industry working with the best in the industry including Hyatt and Taj Hotels to name a few. “I worked with majorly all (X factor Italian) chefs and trained myself under all these top chefs,” shared Khanna remembering his Hyatt days. Khanna has spent most of his career doing culinary innovations at Taj Mahal Hotel.
How has been the journey so far?
It’s been a wonderful journey. After moving from Taj, I joined The Park where I got a chance to go to a chef workshop at The Park Hotel Singapore doing research on Singapore cuisine and how Singapore Cuisine can go well with Indian Cuisine. I left the Park Hotel in 2013 and joined The Westin at Pune as an executive chef and spend almost 3 and a half years. I was the Culinary leader of the Year for the Starwood Asia Pacific Region which was given to me as a reward and then I represented Indian Cuisine for the Indian President - Pranab Mukherjee in Stockholm for the Indian Swedish week in their esteemed program of Namaste Stockholm in Sweden. I left Westin Pune in2016, and joined Shangri- Las, Bangalore as an executive chef and now I am back to Delhi working with Westin.
Now that you have joined Westin Again, so what is your role at the Westin and also, what new things you are going to bring at the Westin?
I have joined as a Multi Property Executive Chef, and I’ll be taking care of the two properties – The Westin Gurgaon, New Delhi and The Westin Sohna Resort and Spa, and the idea is to get aligned with the culinary team here and the kind of experience they are carrying with them. So, I rechecked the whole cuisine with the hotel. Soon, we will be having special chefs focusing on their cuisine. So, my role is to get them going and get the new trends in for the food and speaking for the authenticity for the ingredients for sure and the recipes which is quite authentic and bring the best kind of cuisine to the plate of the customer. Again, the focus will be on Contemporary Local Cuisine because we have our own farm grown vegetables.
What are the three things that you have learnt as an executive chef?
Top things that I have learnt is that the team is the key for your success, for me I can’t do anything yet if I couldn’t have a good team. Second, discipline and punctuality in the kitchen. Third, it is to travel for food as food changes every kilometer, so you need to know about different food.
You are also known for your presentations and style, so what exactly presentation means to you?
My food styling is majorly to add a lot of colors on the plate. All the elements that I add to the plate are all edible, practical and have some kind of story related to the cuisine or the food offered on the plate.
How do you keep authenticity on when it comes to modern Indian cuisine?
Authenticity and simplicity are something in which I personally believe a lot. So, when we do a modern Indian cuisine, we don’t taste the recipes, rather try and play with the presentation of the food on the plate by attaching different elements of food which can be used as a presentation, but not touching the whole recipe. For eg – if it’s a kebab recipe from South India related to banana, then I will not touch the recipe for that but I will try getting the elements right like a Banana Flower in the recipe which makes it modern Indian but it has the same authentic taste in the Kebab.