Often we come across great Chefs but fail to know more about their journey to success. Here’s presenting Executive Chef Vibhav Verma, who is a well-balanced and a versatile professional. He comes with the 3 E’s being Education, Experience and a lot of Effort towards his career growth and that is what has defined him. Representing Indian food globally has shaped his love for Indian Cuisine over the years.
His leadership and management skills have given him a leverage in this industry thus making him one of the best in handling huge number of properties being 161 Keys, 4 Banquets, 2 Coffee Shops, 2 Bars and 4 Board Rooms. Based out of Gurugram, Haryana, Chef Vibhav also takes care of 2 Lemon Tree Premier hotels.
Know more about him as we unfold his story in our interview.
- What has inspired you to become a Chef?
My mom was my inspiration. At the age of 3 sitting with my mother in the kitchen and seeing her making our meal with a lot of love and devotion, I knew this was leading me somewhere. At the age of 4, I made my first French toast and that was where it started from. From that day till date, for me food is all about exploration, about passion served on a plate, about tastes tingling one’s taste buds.
- Share some interesting facts that you would want others / fellow Chefs to know about your experience in this journey that could inspire them.
Senior Chefs in the industry say that this job is meant for people who are real steel. I disagree to a certain extent. I think it’s all about your love and passion to where you direct yourself to. Today, most of the Chefs have advanced to plating food with different techniques and styles. We do forget one major essential, the actual authenticity and taste of what food should taste like. Being an Indian Chef, I love bringing back lost dishes, tastes and flavours. I think, today, one needs to think out of the box but still remember, the authenticity of the dish is the key to a successful dish hence a happy customer.
- What are your thoughts on food and the experience of enjoying the perfect meal?
To answer the above, I would say that I love food when it comforts me. Simple earthy flavours with robust textures and aromas and a server who serves from the heart and not because it’s his job and that’s what creates a perfect meal. Back to the basics- taste, love, passion and authenticity are the 4 key essentials to ones heart who dines with passion!!!
- What challenges have you faced to reach this position in your life and how have you overcome these challenges?
As I said before, becoming a Chef is not easy, it’s challenging. From peeling an onion which looks like a task to finishing a dish and finally running a kitchen, there are key drivers involved in each step. One matures into that profile as he/she scales up the ladder and so was with me. I was happy that I could think a step ahead and grow. For me, it’s my team that matters the most and of course my mentor Chefs.
- What is that one childhood memory that you would want to share that has shaped your love for food and cooking?
Seeing my mother cook with love and passion brought a glitter to my eye. Her eye for each and every small detail that went it to make the recipe a winner, the love and affection with which she cooked. I think to sum it up, mum’s cooking took me thinking about my future to the next level.
- What cuisine do you specialize in?
Indian cuisine. Although it’s very generic, I was trained in Haveli at the Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi as a management Trainee. The roots go back to my mentor starting this famous outlet, Chef Rajeev Janveja, where I learnt the very basis of Indian cookery and scaled up to learning Awadhi & Lucknowi Cuisine in depth. So from Kebabs to curries, I scaled learning each stage of cookery step by step.
- What’s that one dish that brings a smile to your face?
The good old Lucknowi Ghost biryani with Burani raita. Nothing could beat the aroma, texture and wholesomeness of this dish.
- Your Signature Dish that would like customers to try when they visit your restaurant.
Murgh Tikka Lababdar- a true delight. Creamy in texture balanced with the sweetness of the onions, sourness of the tomatoes and a dash of earthy bitter from the fenugreek.
Lemon Tree Premier Leisure Valley, 48-52, Leisure Valley, Sector 29, City Center, Gurgaon- 122002, Haryana, India.
- What message would you like to give other aspiring Chefs?
I would just say one simple thing that my mentor, Chef Rajeev Janveja taught me... Taste, taste, taste....Check, check, check!!!
- Share one of your biggest experiences in your career that has evolved you as an individual. Leaving India and representing the country’s food in Maldives where I worked for the Six Senses Resorts and Spas as a Speciality Chef. A breath taking moment where I could bring to life, the true flavours of ancient India on a plate for all diners...a proud moment!
- Your thoughts on Your Chef Story.
A nice initiative, putting chefs on a common platform and taking food and dining experiences to the next level. The interaction has been great and look forward to seeing more budding chefs join the cavalry shortly!