Bringing Back Learnings From Dublin at Elior India
Chef Raj shares his experience of global chef interaction at Dublin with BW Hotelier.
RECENTLY, a team of chefs from Elior were invited to participate at a global chef interaction at Dublin. The idea behind this meet was for chefs across the world to exchange ideas and best practices in the area of corporate catering. This meet also served as an opportunity for the team from India to present Indian cuisine on a global platform. BW Hotelier spoke to chef David Raj, Managing Partner- Culinary Development, Elior India to know more about his experience.
Brief us about the project?
For Chefs, it becomes important to constantly innovate and create new experiences for clients. In the last two decades, we have seen an exponential rise in the number of consumers who are willing to explore international cuisines. People today are well travelled and understand food better than they ever did before. And therefore, they seek gastronomic experiences wherever they are.
At Elior, our Chefs are always looking for opportunities to collaborate and exchange knowledge and best practices. Recently, our team of Chefs travelled to Dublin to meet with experts from across the world and exchange experiences. The experience provided great exposure to our team – not just from the exchange of culinary ideas but also from going around the city to witness local life. It also provided our team an international platform to showcase Indian cuisine.
What was your experience from this event?
I can confidently speak on behalf of the team that there was tremendous learning from this experience. The team had the opportunity to interact with chefs from across the world, who are experts in different kinds of cuisine. Understanding their culture, method of creating different dishes, use of various ingredients, and the nuances of customer’s tastes and preferences has helped broaden our views. We also shared our experiences with the Dublin Chefs.
The highlight was an opportunity to curate a full Indian menu to share with global teams. Putting together a traditional Indian meal with ingredients and flavours available in Dublin was quite a task, but the team did a stellar job. We presented a combination of North Indian and South Indian cuisine that included both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. From Kerala parathas, to butter paneer, dhal, chicken, fish – the team prepared a lavish spread.
We also went around the city and explored local restaurants and cafes. Overall, a great learning experience.
How do you think these interactions are important for the Chef fraternity?
Such initiatives are a platform for networking and knowledge sharing. Each person brings to the table a unique perspective and set of ideas which can be of tremendous value to others. For us, it is also an opportunity to present Indian cuisine, especially our signature dishes, on an international platform.
Let me give you another example - we had recently collaborated with Chef Shri Bala, a renowned South Indian Cuisine Curator. She helped our team curate a complete millet-based menu for a client, where every dish had millets – millet biriyani, bajara payasam, jowar halwa, chicken and millet pepper fry etc. With this collaboration, our team learnt how to use millet in so many innovative ways.
What are the ideas from this Chef Meet that you would like to implement at Elior?
In India, our team serves about two lakh meals a day. This is a combination of traditional and modern Indian fare, as well as international cuisine. We are constantly looking at how we can innovate to make the whole experience better - the kind of food we serve, the plating, the recipes, use of newer ingredients etc. To give you an example – we learnt about roasting chicken with just spices instead of the overnight margination method. For people looking for healthier options and with a palate for international flavour, this is a great option.
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