Being creative is the key to finest menu creation, believes chef Anurudh Khanna


Seasonal Tastes offers made-to-order items; how made-to-order items enhance the dine-in experience of the guest?

Anurudh Khanna: Yes at seasonal Tastes we believe in Fresh and seasonal flavours that are brought to our guests by our skilled and creative chefs. Made to order cuisine often is called Ala carte where the guest chooses what he wants to have that’s made by chefs at sight or on live stations in front of the guests by our chefs, this gives a very fresh texture and the food also is served at the right temperature and keeps the flavours intact and long. Also since its made to order it’s very important and very much possible to keep the guest preferences to the doneness/spices and any other specific guest requirements or allergies. It also creates a confidence level in guests if they see their food made live by chefs.

At Prego, guests savour traditional classics paired with an extensive wine list. As a chef how challenging is it to do a perfect wine pairing with the menu and what strategy you implement while pairing dishes with wine?

Anurudh Khanna: See these days food and wine pairing is a very important aspect of a fine dining experience. A chef and a Sommelier often work very closely and do suggest these pairings. While pairing wines and food, we do keep into consideration the type of food /nature of meats or cheese or the nature of the vegetables as per the classical wine pairing guidelines, chefs can guide the guests in choosing wines depending upon the cooking techniques often used to cook a recipe, sauce that’s with the meat or seafood and also at times the spice levels and strong flavours in the particular dishes. Few Old age wines are very classic and do well with most pairings but are very expensive the challenge for every good sommelier and chef is to pair a glass of wine as the per the pocket of the guest.

The STORY Club and Lounge is among one of the prime places which serve till 4 am. How the menu curation and strategy of the nightlife spots differ from casual or normal dine in?

Anurudh Khanna: Menu creation at Story needs a lot of thought process and being creative is the key to it. The food served in the Story is very casual dining often the favourites that we want to try with our drinks with friends but the service style and the presentation of these are very up class and trendy and have a very modern appeal. Also, these menu dishes are to be easy to eat and to be in bite-sized portions. Plus we are trying a lot of Progressive food in Story that’s quite a favourite in the patrons there.

Daily Treats, which serves world-class confectionery products, what formula do you implement to increase the shelf life of the products and to retain its freshness for a long period?

Anurudh Khanna: To be honest, there is no formula to increase the Shelf life of freshly produced pieces of bread and confectionary what we follow here is to make our menus and offerings very affordable and not to overproduce these. We keep our cakes and pastries lined and half-finished and in controlled temperature and finish them if we sold out the batches we have already made in mornings.

You have been awarded as the Innovative Chef of the year 2018, what R&D techniques you implement to keep updating your menu with the latest culinary innovations?

Anurudh Khanna: My food philosophy is very simple, I believe in being honest to food and yet to be creative with it. The chef inside you should never die and I am a firm believer of the sustainable food movement and believe in the authenticity of recipes and ingredients where I use innovation is in my cooking styles, presentation of the food to the guest and the combinations of the food and cuisines progressively and respectably.

At The Living Room, Westin breakfast features SuperFoodsRx ingredients sure to delight even our most health-conscious guests, in this health-conscious era what type of innovations you keep implementing in your Menus to keep it healthy and fit?

Anurudh Khanna: In our All-day dining restaurant, we believe in getting the farm to fork concept a big way since we grow a lot of vegetables ourselves at The Westin Sohna Resort also we have a very strong wellness programme eat well and believe in Superfoods that are very rich in Anti-oxidants and immune boosters where we have wellness recipes that believe in healthy cuisine and lifestyle. We have dishes locally inspired that are our signatures and those are made from local organically sourced ingredients.

Westin is a global brand, so is there any special type of training which Westin provides to its chefs to serve the world-class delicacies at its every property?

Anurudh Khanna: Training the chefs is a Major focus of our Culinary department. I believe in Having a chef trained well to give consistent food keeps chefs motivated and keep them well in tune with the global trends. We have various training modules for chefs for classroom training and also hands-on training. I do audit these trainings on regular basis and do a lot of taste panels to make sure the dishes that are served to our customers are always tasting the same with the same texture, flavours, spice; levels and presentation of food.

While working in the open kitchens how important it is for the chef to know the cooking tricks and stunts to elevate the guest dine-in experience?

Anurudh Khanna: Well, a chef needs to know the tricks how to cook a great meal, for a chef working on a live counter though stunts are not as important as the quality of the food dished out from the station. What is important is the Hygiene maintained at the live counter, good food and also if a chef has good communication skills and if he /she can keep the guest engaged it’s a bonus.

Please tell us about #MarvelsOfCulinaire wherein you were Commander-in-Chief. How did you get the idea and what was the motivation to organize Marvels Culinaire? Please share your experience.

Anurudh Khanna: The experience was fantastic since at The Westin Gurgaon we have hugely diverse and upbeat food and beverage so we have all the cuisines cooked by the masters and the team of these master chefs is called Marvels of Culinaire and they deliver world-class cuisine from various countries under one roof.