Making a career in the culinary world comes with sure fascination for cooking. Junior Sous Chef Jitender Singh has always been inspired by his mother, his first culinary guru who supported his passion all along. During the start of his career, he joined the Hotel Management Institute post which he joined the India Tourism Development Corporation Ltd. as Junior Sous Chef and was posted at the prestigious Ashok Hotel, New Delhi (The Flagship Hotel of ITDC Ltd.). He worked in the premier specialty restaurants of The Ashok Hotel namely the Coffee Shop (Multi Cuisine), Frontier (North West Frontier Cuisine) and The Oudh (Awadhi Cuisine).
Here’s interviewing Junior Sous Chef Jitender Singh who now takes pride in serving the power icons of our nation and the world, and shares his special experiences with us.
How do you define your current culinary responsibility?
Posted in the main kitchen of The Ashok Hotel, I am responsible for the execution of various VVIP state banquet functions & parties hosted by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India at his residence and at the Hyderabad House (The State Banquet House of the Government of India to host the visiting important dignitaries from around the world).
Any special experiences that you would like to share?
I cannot forget the day when I got special appreciation from the Hon’ble Army Chief Gen. Bipin Rawat. The Kitchen Artist of the Year award at the XIII Annual Chef awards organised by the Indian Culinary Forum is close to my heart. Also, completing a hat-trick of winning in the Culinary Art India in the Food Artist category is something I would like to cherish.
Can you name a few power icons you have served and what are their favorite cuisines?
The list goes long from Dr. Manmohan Singh (Hon’ble Ex-Prime Minister of India), Shri Narendra Modi (Hon’ble Prime Minister of India), Dr. Pranab Mukherjee (Hon’ble President of India), Barack Obama (Hon’ble Ex-President of USA), Prime Ministers of Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and many others.
I have served Shri Narendra Modi, and he prefers the simple Gujarati cuisine, less spicy and purely vegetarian Indian food. I have also served Barak Obama and I was surprised to know that he loved and knew a lot about Indian food.
How important does it make you feel when you serve the power icons of the world?
The feeling of serving the head of nations, power icons and awardees gives me a proud feeling as well as a feeling of great responsibility. The most memorable moment is the time when these high ranked individuals appreciate my work and that is the instance when I thank god who has given me such a big opportunity.
What challenges do you face when serving prime ministers? How do you overcome those challenges?
Serving Prime Ministers is always a high pressure job, apart from maintaining the impeccable taste, authenticity of the cuisine to be served and zero errors in the food ingredient part. A very important focal point is synchronizing a large and highly specialized kitchen team.
What are the safety measures that you take while serving the power icons of the nation?
Our ISO 22000:2005 certified kitchens strictly monitors quality levels of highest order and while serving our power icons and the state guests also special safety measure like individual spot product sampling and testing.
Any specific protocols you follow when cooking for any politicians or any high command officers?
The state banquet calls for a meticulous set of rules while preparing for such a menu, authenticity in the taste, plate presentation and course wise fusion and innovation is our main concern while catering to such high command officers.
How important is creativity in your current work profile and how do you apply it to ensure the perfect dish?
I am a food artist by heart and I have won many laurels in carvings and plate presentation. I strictly believe that for a chef, cooking is not just a profession but an art as well as a science, as the first impression of his preparations to diners is through the simple yet eye-appealing presentation of the dishes served to them. A modest style of cooking, intricate cutlery, mini portions, designer spray of sauces, fresh ingredients for garnishing, all these add to the charisma of the dish.
Is there a special experience in your journey that would like to highlight and share with us?
There have been so many landmarks in my journey so far that it’s difficult to choose any one, however digging back into the memory lane I remember the day when I was selected as a management trainee in the prestigious India Tourism Development Corporation, a day I can never forget. Also, the day when I won the Kitchen Artist of the Year Award at the XIII Annual Chef awards organised by the Indian Culinary Forum is a moment very close to my heart.
Your thoughts about yourchefstory.com as a platform for chefs
A great platform for Chefs to showcase their life and work. A great concept to bring various chefs together. I applaud the work of yourchefstory.com which is a great initiative to show the world that what is served in plate has a lot of devotion behind.