Chef Sanjay Thakur Rediscovering flavours of Himalayas
Chef Sanjay Thakur Rediscovering flavours of
About the chef
This is Sanjay Thakur a very passionate chef from the Himalayas Himachal Pradesh( India )been cooking now for more than 11 years. Started my studies with Hotel management college Chandigarh in India then joined as STEP trainee with Oberoi group of hotels which is regarded as one of the best programs in India due to better opportunity for further studies I moved to Melbourne Australia to Pursue Hospitality management with Holmes colleges alongside studies.
I was fortunate enough to kick start my journey in Melbourne with Langham hotel one of the finest properties in heart of Melbourne after a year time I moved on with an event venue which helped me grow in different sectors for which I worked through out the year for different seasonal work which includes Melbourne cup , AFL league ,Australian open , international cricket tournaments and Caulfield race cup .Adapting different style of events with serving high end guests and celebrities I grew my skill pretty quick which helped me get a chance at Australia best hotel Crown casino where worked with banquet team for a year.
Watching my dedication Chef d cuisine of Nobu gave me chance to work for Nobu which is one of the very high end restaurant in crown casino after working with great team of Nobu my target was to get knowledge of different cuisines and how they are rated on an fine dining level for which I joined few big names over the time period which comprises of Shannon Bennett at vue de monde , George Colambaris team at press club , chef Bellucci.
In short span of time my aim was to adapt as many different kind of cuisines I can as I was very much determined to learn things quick and put 200 percent of my devotion to it working with crown I had opportunity to work with world biggest names for exclusive events including chef, Nobu , Atul Kochhar , Morimotto , David Burke Phillip mouchel And list goes on Countless hours and hard work was well paid off .During this span I had an yearly trips to India to my hometown Himalayas where my biggest inspiration my dad who has been cooking for Himalayan cusine over 4 decades wanted me to do something for preserving , promoting Himalayan food to global scale as he himself was highly dedicated to nothing but educating future in the direction to preserve the past.
During my work at Etihad stadium Melbourne I came to knew that I needed to move closer to India and work on promoting Himalayan Cuisine globally which introduced me to this opportunity in Abu Dhabi of Inflight chef profession so I was tempted to know about it and my curiosity to work close by India brought me to Abu Dhabi where my work inspired a lot of people.
2013 was the year I started self funded Himalayan Soil project and started researching for the team to work on this project. As it’s a non commercial project so there were not many people interested in becoming part of it. Then I decided to showcase my involvement in culinary world to get noticed and 2014 had been a great year where I got selected from India to represent in Bocuse d’or Asia pacific which is regarded as the Olympics in culinary world and a dream for many passionate chefs around the globe .Where I was fortunate enough to share my dream with Chef Jerome Bocuse.
Same year I was also awarded as culinary champion for Etihad which motivated me to excel in what I am good at 2015 was another year where I was fortunate enough to represent Middle East and Etihad in San Pelligrino young chef held at Cape Town where I finished as second best in Middle East. 2016 was an icing on the cake where I got selected second time to represent India in Bocuse d’or which was really a great achievement for me as only Indian chef to represent twice in Bocuse d’or so far my journey every year just been fantastic and being member of IFCA have just opened doors of a lot of opportunities for me.
Q.From where did your journey start?
I started my journey Melbourne with Langham hotel. Then further I moved to Australia to pursue Hospitality Management at Holmes College.
Q.What are the important factors in creating a perfect dish?
Apart from ingredients, dedication, taste, hard work and originality plays an important in the establishment of a perfect dish. I prepare a dish by keeping in mind that “I should have a feeling that I own this is dish after completing it as it represents me on the plate".
Q.What are the challenges inflight chefs used to face?
Working inflight is not an easy task as you have to look after the management of all the guest's request. We feel pressure while serving to the celebrities who search for perfection. One needs proper knowledge and experience to serve them.
Q.Who is your biggest inspiration and who motivated you throughout your journey?
I learnt cooking from my superhero, my Dad. He is my biggest inspiration and he is the who has been cooking for Himalayan cuisine over four decades and wanted me to do something for preserving and promoting Himalayan food.
Q.What is Indian cuisine for you?
For me Indian cuisine is much more than curry rice or kebabs, it's about defining spices. While working at Etihad Stadium Melbourne, I realised to move closer to India and work for promoting Indian cuisine as Indian cuisine needs to get attention because of its uniqueness and originality.
Q.How does it feel when you carry the nation's name with you?
Carrying a nation's name with you is proud of itself. I got the golden opportunity twice to represent India at Bocuse d'Or. There is a strict need for awareness about all these platforms as many people including chefs don't know about Bocuse d'Or.
Q.Who helped you throughout your journey and in setting up the team?
I am very thankful to Dr Anil Thakur as he became the driving force who helped me out with his intense knowledge in the Himalayas and Himalayan forests and he has been researching over three decades about Himalayan indigenous ingredients. He supported me throughout my beautiful journey and working with such professionals was a great experience.
Q.How did Himalayan soil evolve?
I visited colleges, universities and created a pop-up experience to spread importance and value these Himalayan resources comprises of.
Q.How did you manage to take your project globally?
It was indeed a difficult task but when I mare strong connections and hold over institutions, I decided to take up the project and promote Himalayan ingredients and spread the importance that nature plays in a sustainable future and after that, I started working on a self-funded documentary.
Q.What was the reason behind Triyagyoni?
To preserve & Research more in depth about historically indigenous ingredients
The idea came into my mind after the project Himalayan Soil. I and my team decided to put out the message across that we can use new indigenous ingredients and portray our message on sustainability, so we decided to design a functional sustainable highest pop-up restaurant.
Q.What was your main aim after working with a great team of Nobu?
My aim was to acquire knowledge of different cuisines and learn the art of presenting them on a fine dining table. I adopted many different kinds of cuisines. My dedication and persistent efforts to learn new things resulted in getting an opportunity to work with world biggest names for exclusive events including a chef, Nobu, Atul Kochhar, Marimotto, David Burke Phillip Mouchel and many more.
Q.What is your message for Aspiring Chefs?
According to me, a Chef should be a self-designer of his dish, he should not copy and should be creative and innovative. Upcoming Chefs should focus more on promoting Indian cuisine.
•Manipal University- Best
Resource Person- 2020.
•Appointed as Volunteer Speaker for Entrepreneur Mindset Classes by Delhi State Govt.- 2020
•HP Tourism and HIM AANCHAL
Chef Association- Awarded for outstanding contribution- 2019.
•Vietnam- Indian Ambassador to Danang in promoting Indian Cuisine amongst 9 countries- 2019•Nepal- Ministry of Tourism appreciated the effort of promoting nutrition-based program for orphan children-2019.
•IFCA- 2019 Culinary Mentor of the Year.
•Gold Award- Rising Star Chef of the Year- 2019- Hospitality Group. •Lauded by Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh- Shri Jai Ram Thakur- 2019 for promoting Himalayan ingredients globally. •Limca Book of Records- 2019
•TEDx RGUNL Patiala 2019 speaker– Video will be available on TEDx soon.
Sky Delight Awards 2019- Bronze Medal.
•IIIT Delhi- For Symposium on Computational Gastronomy- 2019.
•Recognized by Forbes
for the Guinness World Record coverage- 2018.
•Cook and Bake Academy New Delhi- Recognized for outstanding accomplishments- 2018.
•TEDx DAV College 2018 speaker– Video available on TEDx portal.
•National Online Culinary Competition 2018- Appointed as Main Jury.
•Worldchefs Congress Expo- 2018 Team India Culinary Ambassador and awarded Vice President of Young Chefs Association of India.
•Paramount Chef of the Year- 2018 by Chefs Association of Five Years
•AROMA Institute Award for Global Culinary guidance- 2018.
•Indian Hospitality Congress- Award for Excellence- 2018.
•Guinness world record for the World’s highest pop-up restaurant at Mt Everest Region. - 2018
•Chef association of Five rivers awarded paramount chef of the year 2018.
•Dev Sanskrit university awarded outstanding performance on the culinary field- 2018. •AIMS Bangalore – special Culinary Award for the contribution in culinary arts. In 2017 also.
•Cibo nostrum 2018 Sicily for being first Indian chef Ambassador to Showcase Himalayan Cuisine to Italy.
•Food for Thought Fest- 2017
Demonstration of Himalayan Cuisine alongside well-recognized names in the
•Maulana university awarded as a chef for the year supporting community- 2017.
•IFCA- 2016 Indian Federation of Chefs Association- special award for the input in global culinary stage.
First Indian to be San
Pellegrino Young Chef semi-finalist from Middle East Africa- 2015
•Emirates Culinary Guild Merit Award- 2014 Gulfood Dubai Expo •Etihad Airways Culinary Champion- Best Creative Chef 2014
•Bocuse d’or Culinary Olympics India- main candidate twice- 2014 and 2016 •Australia- Melbourne, Awarded Best on Ground by Etihad Stadium- 2013.
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