At Fine Dining Day, we understand that its the men and women who work in the kitchen and on the restaurant floor, who keep our love for food alive. Hence its an honour for us to meet and chat with some of these leading culinary wizards.
We start our Chef Introduction series, with Chef Pawan Singh Rana.
Neha (FDD) : Pawan, do tell us your story about how you got here. Which part of the country you grew up in ? What's the kind of food you grew up on?
I am basically from Salwan Village Karnal district and state Haryana . I belong to a Rajput Family. My Father is a farmer and Mother is the Home minister. I have two kids one daughter and one son and now my wife has taken the responsibilities of my mother.
We are three brothers- one younger than me and another elder then me. Both are working in Indian Coast Guard at senior ranks.
I did my high school from my village Salwan. After that I started my schooling from Assandh which was 12 km away from my home. I did my 10+2 from there.
Then my uncle (who is working as an E E civil in Gujarat Government) told me to do Hotel Management and it was his belief "I know you can do it" that prompted me to apply for Hotel Management Course. I applied in Hotel Management Institute which is in Panipat Haryana and cleared the interview and started studying . I cleared the final exams in April 1993
I started my career in July 1993 from ITC hotel Welcome Group Vadodara Gujarat.I started my job training and worked there for almost 8 years and finally left the job for better growth opportunities.At that time I was DCDP.
Then I got a job in Holiday Inn Jaipur as a Senior Chef de Parte and worked there for 2 ½ years.
Then I received a call from Taj Bombay and they were interested to take me as an Indian Sous Chef for Taj Samudra Srilanka. I was thrilled and joined The Taj,and worked there for three years.
One of my good friend MrRohan, who is an Executive chef of Hilton Colombo offered me as an Indian Master Chef for his Hotel Hilton Colombo .It was a great opportunity because The Hilton Colombo was the best hotel in Srilanka Island . I was there for five years .
Then again came back to Taj and opened three Taj hotels:
Now I am opening a new hotel in Hyderabad with my old Boss Mr Veer Vijay Singh (former COO of Vivanta by Taj) hotel’s name is Trance Hotels.
Neha(FDD): What is your favorite cuisine to cook? Why?
North Indian and I am an Indian Master Chef. As you know I am from a village in Haryana so I love to eat DESI KHANA AND DESI PAKANA.
Neha(FDD): Why did you choose to become a Chef?
I was interested in the kitchen from my younger age and also like to follow my own skills.
Neha(FDD): What inspires you? How do you come up with ideas for the dishes in your restaurant?
Customer's satisfaction, their positive words and new ideas. Almost all recipes are my own. When I make new dishes I always keep the good health of guests in mind.
Neha(FDD): What's your favourite dish on the menu and why?
My favourite dish is HALEEM. And there is an interesting story behind it. You must read it here TENDULKAR'S SECRET LOVE REVEALED - Times of India
Neha(FDD): What was your worst kitchen disaster.Tell us the Story.
Neha it happened some years ago in a hotel ,I was working with. I hope you know that all hotels gives a thanks meal to all travel agents once a year. So what happened, The GM of 3 hotels met and planned to arrange party on the same day in all the three hotels. They were hoping that guests will be divided in three and all three hotels sent the invitations to the same 600 guests. And all were planning for 250 to 300 guest in each hotel. We also planned food for 300 guests.
All was ok and preplanned. At 19.00 hrs guests started walking inside the banquet hall Tango and I saw the guest’s profile and the numbers. I was shocked.
I just ran from the banquet hall to my kitchen like a headless chicken. Briefed my team ,opened the store, increased the quantity and reset the menu. End of the day we all managed it very well but you should know the final number of guest was 900.
Neha(FDD): Do you have any vivid or memorable food experiences that impacted on you as a child or as a young chef?
Yes , I was in 6th class. At the lunch time, during some work my mom went out of home and I don’t like rice even today also. So I tried to make chapatti and I did. When my mom came back and she saw my chapatti and asked who has made it, its great. That day I got my first appreciation about my food from my mom.
After that, so many times I just stayed at my farm for cooking and eating
Neha(FDD): If you could please share a quick recipe with our audience.
Definitely I will share with you the recipe of Haleem, because it is Ramjaan dish.
Watch this space for the special recipe of Haleem from Chef Pawan Singh Rana.