Friends, colleagues bid final goodbye to Chef Soundararajan

BW Hotelier spoke to chefs from the Indian hospitality culinary fraternity on the sudden demise of Dr Chef Soundararajan P last evening.

On the eve of the auspicious day of Guru Purnima, the undeclared guru of Indian culinary fraternity made a quiet exit, doing what he loved best – sharing his immense knowledge of culinary and all that it entails. A true guru would never tell you what to do, he gives you the knowledge and then walks away when he feels you are empowered with all his knowledge and then some more. Unfortunately, that guru, Dr Chef Soundararajan P chose to bid goodbye to the mortal world last evening.  

Chef Soundararajan was to conduct a webinar from his home and as always had passed on instructions to not disturb him during the session. When he didn’t appear for the webinar, the organisers connected with his wife. When she reached the room, the Chef had already left for his divine journey. 

A true guru in all its senses, Dr Chef Soundararajan worked selflessly towards the greater good of all the chefs across the world, inspiring every person he interacted with, giving of himself in all ways possible and sharing all that he learned and continued to learn, holding the Indian culinary fraternity together. 

The founder general secretary of the Indian Federation of Culinary Associations (IFCA) and an honorary member of the WORLDCHEFS, Dr Chef Soundararajan set new benchmarks of culinary excellence during his four decades of journey in the gastronomic world. A joint Guinness Book of World Records holder for creating a restaurant at the highest altitude of the earth, Dr Chef Soundararajan was a recipient of the National Award as the Best Chef of India from the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and founder member of South India Chefs Association. For promoting the Eat Right movement, he was awarded by FSSAI, Ministry of Health. Apart from serving as the Executive Chef at the official guest house of the Prime Minister of India, Hyderabad House, Dr Chef Soundararajan worked as the corporate executive chef at Mahindra Holidays where he set up F&B operations at their 50 resorts.  

With an honorary doctorate from Vel’s University in Hospitality Management D.Litt., Dr Chef Soundararajan was a WACS certified chef, was certified in world cuisine from the Culinary Institute of America, fellowship from St Nicholls University Louisiana and the co-founder of Young Chefs Association of India as also the founder general secretary of Chefs Guild of India. He also founded Culinary Vision Private Limited and Chef Soundar Culinary Academy. Not to forget, the rare achievement of being the first chef in India to receive a doctorate. 

Not only was Dr Chef Soundararajan a chef par excellence, but he was also a true humanitarian too – spearheading charity-based events and even offering support to a bakery school in Alwarpet, Chennai, run by Chennai Corporation, Hot Breads and Rotary Club for the Underprivileged. 

BW Hotelier spoke to chefs from the Indian hospitality culinary fraternity on the sudden demise of Dr Chef Soundararajan P last evening.

It came as a big shock to all of us. Though I never had a chance to work with Dr Chef Soundararajan, I knew him as a professional who was always very passionate about what he did, especially for the culinary world. He would always take pride in his uniform and in whatever he did. Very humane, very affectionate and always ready to help everyone around. 

Chef Hemant Oberoi 

Our flags are down today, and our knives are sharp-less! We lost a piece of our culinary heart, the main pillar of our industry and truly an iconic master. Chef Soundararajan was the inspiration to the whole chef's world. ‘You were full of faith, courage and strength. I am sure you are reading this as you can read each one of the messages the whole world is posting right now. I am speechless, my heart is broken, and I feel the pain of each one of your family because we both know how we feel about our chef fraternity. We wish you Chef Soundararajan farewell in your journey to eternity. You would never be forgotten, rest in peace in the arms of God.   

Chef Manjit Gill 

It is difficult to believe Chef Soundararajan is not with us. We had a long chat two days back. Chef Soundararajan was my senior at ITDC. A lot of things I have personally learnt from him is documentation as he would make notes of whatever he did. That's one thing I picked up from him. Skill is one thing, but documenting is equally important. Another thing I picked up from him is being in complete chef’s uniform. All my years in the kitchen every day, I would be in the same perfect uniform. Everyone knows about Chef Soundararajan’s contributions and how phenomenal he was, but he had his own aspirations. He was looking forward to his role as a dean and wanted to do a TV show in Tamil. Many years ago, when people knew little about Chettinad, he was thinking ahead of specialisation of the regional cuisine.  

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor 

Sad to hear sudden demise of dear Chef Soundararajan! We have lost a great friend, colleague and a professional. His contribution in growth of culinary profession is beyond words! He has been a mentor to the buddy chefs!! We are indeed hurt! He will always be missed! Our heartfelt condolences. May God rest his soul in peace and give strength to family to bear this loss! 

Chef Davinder Kumar, President, ICF 

Chef Soundararajan was a rare breed of chefs – a perfect balance between skill, knowledge and passion. In this sadness, I will fondly remember him for his lessons of humility, simplicity and respect for the profession. 

Chef Ranveer Brar 

As Dr Chef Soundrarajan connects with the divine, let us earnestly vow that we shall work towards all that he held close, a united Indian culinary front consistently learning, aspiring and moving forward with the times, taking along with us, each and every one around us, reaching out and supporting the underprivileged and ensuring a safe haven for all. 

Chef Jugesh Arora, Chennai 


You taught us that in ‘great humanity, there is ‘great pride’
You were our shining star ‘always smiling and shining’
In ‘extreme modesty’ there is a ‘great fulfilment’
You will be remembered among chefs fraternity in the coming generations
You will stay – always in our thoughts, forever in our hearts.  

Chef Himanshu Taneja 

We are all shocked to hear about the sudden demise of Dr Chef Soundararajan. This tragedy has devastated us all. My short interactions with him at seminars and various other gatherings left a great impression on me. Very few possess the vast sea of knowledge like he did, and he contributed greatly with his profound work for the chef fraternity. A passionate chef and a humble soul, he will always be missed. My heartfelt condolences to his family and prayers for the noble soul to rest in peace.  

Chef Rajeev Janveja, Corporate Chef, Lemon Tree Hotels 

Dr Chef Soundarajan was an amazing person and a true gem at heart. I had always seen him with smile. He was a mentor to many chefs and students. It is a big loss for the hospitality industry, and I will miss him. May his noble soul rest in peace. 

Chef Parvinder Bali, The Oberoi, OCLD 

Chef Soundararajan was not just an ordinary chef. He was a legend and a visionary. He almost single-handedly contributed the most for the culinary profession and the chef community across the country. He is perhaps one of the very rare chefs who had a doctorate. A compassionate and kind soul has left too soon and left a big void in our industry which cannot be filled. May his soul rest in peace as he now graces new roles in the culinary world in heaven above.  

Chef Sharad Dewan, The Park, Kolkata 

Very saddened to hear about the sad demise of Dr Chef Soundarajan. He was a culinarian who was popular among budding chefs, colleagues and chefs' fraternity as a whole. He always came across as a grounded personality who was accessible to all and always went beyond his call and assisted one and all. He was actively involved in with IFCA, SICA working for chef community. He touched every heart who approached him with his simplicity, sincerity and smile. His loss shall always be felt. May his soul rest in peace.  

Chef Rakesh Sethi, Radisson 


Around The World