‘We Are Soon Launching an Italian Restaurant’: Vijay Thapliyal, Executive Chef, The Lodhi Hotel Delhi
"Guests are looking for surprising, unique, cutting-edge experiences and ‘personalization’ has become the key trend in the F&B industry today. Demand for menus that have been exclusively curated as per individual preferences is growing in a big way," says Chef Thapliyal.
HAVING THE global exposure in the culinary field, Chef Vijay Thapliyal, Executive Chef, The Lodhi Hotel Delhi likes to innovate in his kitchen and bring in a new romance with the dishes. BW Hotelier spoke to Thapliyal to know about his efforts that make the F&B of the hotel unique.
Brief us about your journey so far?
My love for food started almost two decades back and it continues to grow each day. During my journey in the hospitality industry, I worked my way through kitchens across the country, including Hyatt Regency Delhi, Grand Hyatt Mumbai, The Leela Kempinski Bangalore and The Lalit in Bangalore and Chandigarh. My romance with the kitchen started in 1998 at the Hyatt Regency Delhi with Mediterranean cuisine, after which I turned my attention to Oriental flavours. I went on to work at the Grand Hyatt in Beijing and returned to India for the opening of ‘The China Kitchen’, after which I joined The Lodhi. I was also instrumental in the re-launch of the acclaimed ‘SET’Z’ at DLF Emporio in Delhi - a contemporary multi-cuisine restaurant with seven international kitchens, where I was at the helm of a team of 83 chefs.
I stand by the saying that ‘change is the only constant in life’ and have always worked towards keeping up with the ever-changing culinary world.
Tell us about the development in F&B you are coming up within The Lodhi?
We continue to add to our unique dining options with Padma Shri Awardee - Grand Master Chef Dr. Imtiaz Qureshi’s signature Awadhi cuisine available at Elan. We have introduced a Sushi Bar and Teppanyaki Theatre at the restaurant with internationally acclaimed Master Chef Venecio Cadavida showcasing the intricacies of Japanese cuisine through an exclusive new menu.
The Lodhi is also focusing on transforming the in-room F&B experience for our guests - we have come up with unique personalized amenities and fully-stocked enhanced mini bars with options available at very special bottle rates.
What is the recent trend in F&B you are witnessing?
Guests are looking for surprising, unique, cutting-edge experiences and ‘personalization’ has become the key trend in the F&B industry today. Demand for menus that have been exclusively curated as per individual preferences is growing in a big way. Also, different dietary patterns are gaining popularity in India and increasing number of consumers are looking for options based on gluten-free food, Keto diet, Paleo diet and Atkins diet.
Having specialised in oriental cuisine, how easy or difficult it is to spread that taste in the Indian palate?
There are more takers for Oriental cuisine in India as compared to other cuisines as our food has similar elements and flavours ranging from spicy, hot, sour, to non-spicy (like Japanese cuisine). So the Indian palate is generally more accustomed to this taste. The culinary traditions of both cuisines are also alike - the portion size, the communal way of dining and sharing with family, to the style of serving in bowls, rather than being pre-plated.
Tell us about your special dishes?
Sikandari Raan, Chilean Sea Bass and Fish Karchai.
Tell us about your team strength, and how you manage to retain your them?
All our Senior Chefs at The Lodhi are specialists in different cuisines, and that is our core team strength. Chef Prem Pal, the hotel’s Executive Sous specializes in European cuisine with a strong hand in Italian cooking, the Chef De Cuisine, Chef Nurul Bashar is a master of Indian cuisine, while Chef Venecio Cadavida, who has worked with some of the top hotels around the world, is an expert in the art of Japanese food. We are also privileged to be associated with Chef Imtiaz Qureshi, the legend who weaves magic with royal Awadhi flavours.
We offer our chefs the freedom to explore their creativity and innovativeness in the kitchen, so there are no barriers or saturation in their work which is a great motivation for them.
Tell us about your future plans for which you are excited about.
We will soon introduce a new menu at Elan which will have a strong influence of The Lodhi’s old iconic restaurant ‘On The Waterfront’, along with an extensive selection of regional Indian favourites. We are also coming up with an Italian restaurant at the property which will offer an inventive approach to contemporary Italian dining infused with traditional flavours and will be mentored by a Michelin Star Chef.
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