For Chef Vikram Ganpule, these two decades of culinary journey has given him the best experiences of hotel industry. After graduating from IHM Delhi, he started his career with ITC hotels. “The industry has grown and expanded at a mind- boggling rate,” he says as the journey has given him enriching experiences across distinctive brands and diverse geographies in the culinary world. Hospitality Industry all over the world has seen more hotels, new brands, new and different hotel concepts. The biggest growth that the industry has seen is digital era. “Now, we are living in a more connected world than when I started my career,” says smiling. Experts from the interview:
How did food happen to you?
Love for food was right there from beginning. It grew when I was studying my hotel management. Hotel Management days taught me the science behind the magic of seeing simple ingredients transform into gourmet treats and that is how I was hooked to food.
When we talk about your initial days at ITC, it is believed that ITC was one of the first Indian home grown hospitality brands to give India a culture of 5 star restaurants. How have you seen the face of chef changing with time because today restaurants are by known by chefs as compared to earlier days when people hardly knows about the chefs?
ITC is a fantastic company and a pioneer in food and beverage for Indian food concepts. I think in the old days it was more significant when people knew the chef because they knew the chef in spite of not having social media. Chefs like Madan lal Jaiswal and Chef Quereshi of ITC are the icons that were household names among those that enjoyed 5star hotels during those days. Nowadays it is easier for a chef to be famous due to social media however I am not sure how many will be icons whose restaurants will stand the test of time
Andaz is known for its sustainable, fresh and local menu produce. How are you trying to carry forward this legacy?
At Andaz Delhi, we are aware of the inevitable impact of our daily business operations on the environment. To fulfill our responsibility towards the planet, we try to minimise the pressure on the environment and community as much as possible. Taking an innovative approach to restaurants and bars, Andaz Delhi emphasizes consciously sourced ingredients and local artisanal produce in the uniquely conceived European food hall – AnnaMaya. I think the story and DNA of Annamaya is very clear and strong –we will continue to evolve our menu and to raise awareness about Annamaya. The essence of AnnaMaya lies in helping society and encouraging a healthy lifestyle through mindful meals and exceptional experiences. Our guests come here not just for the food but also because they feel a social responsibility towards the people and places around them. We achieve all this while having some fun along the way through bold flavours, freshness and creativity in the kitchen.
Sustainability has become a hot topic today. Do you think it is limited to only food?
I think sustainability has the ability to exist constantly. It is applicable to any natural resource and not just food—environmental, economical and social.
You have been associated with Hyatt for a long time. How is Andaz different from rest of Hyatt property?
Hyatt brand all across the world have same value and purposes. However, Andaz brand comes across as more “fun” place that is professional with a relaxed and “cool” feel and a sense of style. Andaz Delhi creates a barrier-free environment where guests are encouraged to explore their personal sense of style and become inspired by the spirit of the culture around them. Taking an innovative approach to restaurants and bars, Andaz Delhi emphasises on consciously sourced ingredients and local artisanal produce. The restaurants are of course completely different, Hyatt brand all over India does not have a food hall or a Cantonese style restaurant in its portfolio.
What will be some of your speciality menu we can see on Andaz menu now?
The essence of AnnaMaya lies in identifying and celebrating artisans from remote parts of India, and turning the spotlight on the love and hard work with which they make their products. The menu is designed around consciously-sourced ingredients from local artisans who directly or indirectly contribute towards the well-being of society. Our menu changes with the season so with winter coming we will have--Winter greens, filling hearty soups, meal in bowls, winter grains-bajra, green jowar or ponkh
We have seen that middle eastern cuisine has influenced diners in India. Since, you have spent time in middle eastern countries. What makes this cuisine a close competitor of other world cuisine?
The Middle Eastern cuisine is diverse, healthy and has options for vegetarian, vegans and gluten intolerant. The flavours of the Middle Eastern cuisine are distinct and balanced. Each cuisine has its own flavours, style and particular ingredients that are used.
If not in kitchen, where can we see you spending time?
Reading SF/action thrillers or travelling.