Sourabh Chandana is the F&B Manager at Hotel Hilton Garden Inn, Saket. Chandana intends to take the FnB segment of Hilton garden Inn, Saket, New Delhi, to a next level of precision with impeccable service standards where every team member talks the same language and where every guest feedback is catered to and acknowledged. Excerpts from the interview:
Restaurants are infusing global flavors to India diners. How have you seen Indian diners’ eating habits changing in all these years?
The global flavors are a mega hit since the past decade with the drastic shift of eating habits of Indian diners. Back in the days India Grill was primarily renowned for butter chicken and dal makhani and people queued-up for the same. Now with time our chef’s got expertise in continental, oriental and modern Indian too, which includes dishes like grilled fish lemon butter sauce, shanghai vegetable roll, and for those with a sweet tooth, we have New York cheese cake too. Indian diners now not only like to order just Indian cuisine but relish the world cuisine as well!
What are some of the ingredients that have gained prominence in restaurant kitchen in last two years or so?
We have always been a restaurant famous for Indian food. I would call it an ingredient of love that makes food taste good. However, the timing and proportion of ingredients is vital. However, if we look at the course of the past 2 years, our mutton chops, butter chicken have gained a lot of prestige, and the ingredients for both are renowned, but how we still make the best is a Hilton secret.
What is your favorite ingredient when cooking/ designing a menu?
Ingredients that are fresh and locally available are preferred to be used. My favourites are dried herbs and spices, which are essential supplies in any kitchen, but they’re also secret weapons for creating a sumptuous dish.
We see that people are looking after healthy food options and meals. How are you attracting guests at Hilton?
Travelers are looking for top-notch food in every aspect of their vacation/business trip. This shift in consumer preference has eventually urged us to cater to the market needs. We offer healthier and more organic menu choices, new flavours and 24-hour retail availability that offers enhanced grab-and-go options, such as locally-sourced food, local beers, snacks and beverages, and a specialty self-serve coffee bar. India Grill also offers a refreshingly healthy breakfast buffet and in-room dining options.
Tell us something about the millennial food patterns?
Over the past decade, food patterns of the millennial are changing and those are still sporadic. These days, the youth wants convenient food; they want transparency, truth from food manufacturers, and they love customisation. They want easy and fast service: they are redefining healthy in a way that means they need healthy food but not only salads; something that suits their taste buds too. They want trendiness as well; they want to eat something that is in trend with new ingredients. Last but not the least, they will try anything; they are curious to learn about new food.
What trend you see would rule Indian F&B space?
Trends come and go, however if I forecast the F&B trends, that will rule the F&B space. The number one on my list would be cloud kitchen. Second would be quick service restaurants, followed by the restaurants serving the authentic, native foods. With the vegan and eating healthy trends getting popular, these alternatives will definitely stay in the market for a long time. Last but not the least, the breakfast menu has come up in a big way and it is going to be the future of the restaurant industry in India. Whether it is waffles or pancakes, people are indulging in such dishes and are satiating their sweet tooth not only during breakfast but throughout the day.
What role does food play when pairing with the favorite liquor?
I am not a big fan of paring food with liquor because that way you can’t relish either. However, there are some good pairing options, such as champagne and oysters, light wines with desserts, red wine & red meat, (low alcohol) and wines with spicy food that have always been popular.
What is your duty as F&B manager at Hilton?
My primary responsibility here is to ensure guest satisfaction, which includes all the aspects of F&B. Since I have been in the market for a while now, I am happy to generate queries and revenue for the hotel in the best possible way I can.