Finding the Right Balance in the Food and Catering to a Larger Palate: Vivek Bhatt

Vivek Bhatt, who recently took over from Girish Krishnan as Executive Chef of the JW Marriott Aerocity, New Delhi, has two decades of experience in the industry and has worked in hotels all over the world. He graduated from IHM Ahmedabad. He spoke with us about the challenges that lie ahead and working towards his vision.

BW Hotelier got a chance to speak with Vivek Bhatt who has
recently taken over from Girish Krishnan as Executive Chef of the 523-room JW
Marriott New Delhi Aerocity.

Bhatt has two decades of experience in the industry and has
worked in hotels all over the world. He graduated from IHM Ahmedabad and
started his career as a Commis at the Trident, Jaipur in 1997 before moving to
the Hyatt Regency, New Delhi as Chef de Partie in 2001.

During his tenure with Hyatt, he was appointed as Chef de
Cuisine for the newly opened Hyatt Regency La Manga, Spain in 2004. He returned
to India in 2007 to work with Shangri-La Hotel New Delhi as Executive Sous
Chef. He also worked as part of the opening team at Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort
and Spa. Bhatt has also worked with Shangri-La Hotel, Shenzhen; Shangri-La’s
Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa, in Oman and Shangri-La Hotel, Suzhou, China.

Taking over a hotel like the JW Marriott has its own set of
challenges, with the F&B outlets already going at full steam ahead.

“Girish (Krishnan) and I have known each other for a long
time and they (Girish’s) are very big shoes to fill no doubt. Girish (Krishnan)
has set a very good foundation. I having travelled internationally and having
had a lot of international exposure. What I want to do is bring the right balance
to the food and cater to a larger palate than what we have been doing so far,”
Bhatt began by telling me.

Authenticity is the key with food in the hotel, he said and
the Marriott is known for authentic food, this is something that Bhatt stresses
will continue.

As for working in the JW Marriott Aerocity, New Delhi and its
unique challenges, Bhatt elucidates, “I was the opening chef at the JW Marriott
Sahar (in Mumbai). Both hotels have very similar formats and are at very
similar levels. The focus will continue to improve on what we already have in
terms of quality and being intuitive with our menus and food”.

He stressed that it was not about being run of the mill. “We
don’t want cookie cutter stuff. The food should come from our intuition. I want
to build the team on the foundation that we have and take it up the next level”,
he added.

Bhatt did not see any challenge as such except to maintain
and sustain the team which is already synergised, gels well and has great
leadership. “We have to maintain and bring it to the next level, if at all
there is a next level,” he said.

Some things have already begin. “We will fine tune
everything and the focus on authenticity will remain. As we move forward, I
would like to upgrade our kitchen farm, post this summer. I am working on it with
our horticulturists. I have been in talks with our vendors for doing organic
farming,” Bhatt concluded giving a taste of things to come.

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