In Conversation with Chef Altamsh Patel, TajSATS, Mumbai


Chef Altamsh Patel, a Chef at TajSATS Mumbai,got associated with Taj during his internship itself. He has worked with well known Chef Satish Arora (Ex Director Food Production, TajSATS). Chef Satish Arora, after observing Altamsh’s eagerness to learn new things in kitchen decided to put him into the Japanese kitchen where authentic Japanese food for All Nippon Airways (Mumbai to Tokyo) is produced. Altamsh started leading Japanese kitchen. Even Chefs from Japan appreciated him for his food. His dishes are on the menu of All Nippon Airways at present.

Chef Altamsh has judged Delecta Chef of the year, Nestle chef of the year and many other culinary competitions conducted in almost all hotel management colleges in Mumbai. He has also conducted many workshops in Hotel management colleges in Mumbai. Altamsh recently was a speaker at India Food Forum 2017. He has conducted session on Japanese and Thai cuisine at Amul Master Chef India season 5. At this young age he has received many appreciations and awards from various organizations. He is also the member of Western India culinary association, Indian federation of Culinary Association and World Association of Chef Society.

HospiBuz brings you an exclusive interview, straight from the words of Chef Altamsh Patel to know more about how he evolved from his experiences, his vision and mission.

HospiBuz: What made you feel that being a Chef is the perfect career path for you? Please tell us about your epicurean journey and hurdle that you faced in it.

Related imageChef Altamsh Patel: My Mom is a phenomenal cook and i use to love assisting her in the kitchen. However my father like any other father wanted me to become a Doctor as my elder brother was into computer engineering. But i had some other plan. I wanted to be a Chef, I pursued degree in Hotel Management at Rizvi College of Hotel management in Mumbai and then had a dream start to my career with Taj Group at TajSATS Air catering, Mumbai.

During this period I have worked under the guidance of legendary Chef Satish Arora, Chef Hubert Pereira , Chef Rajeev Bansal , Chef Sanjay Kumar and a host of expatriate Chefs who visit from time to time and this wonderful exposure has shaped my career and culinary outlook immensely.

During this period of six years have received various awards and accolades which have only strengthened my resolution to learn and grow, sharing these learning with other colleagues of my team gives me great satisfaction. Presently I work as Sous Chef responsible for Japanese and Continental Cuisine.

HospiBuz: You have travelled as “Chef on board” on Jet Airways, where explaining the menu and taking feedback from the business and first class passengers was one of your tasks. Please share some of those unique feedbacks which brought novelty into the menu preparation?

Related imageChef Altamsh Patel: It actually helped me a lot to know about the complete process. As i was not aware of the timings for which the food is heated in airlines oven by crew, how does the food behave after heating in airlines oven? What difficulties do crew face while handling and serving food. For me crew feedback was more important as the food that we prepare in our kitchen is finally served by crew to the guest. Mostly passengers use to be happy when we use to interact with them and take their feedback and many ladies passengers use to also ask for recipesJ.

HospiBuz: What is your idea of the perfect meal? Which is your best experience of being a Chef and which is the most challenging?

Related imageChef Altamsh Patel: Due to frequent travel and exposure to the world, guests are very demanding these days. Value for money has emerged as the single most distinguishing criteria for guests in selecting their dining destination. With stronger emphasis through FSSAI guidelines, consumers are getting benefitted in terms of food safety and traceability like never before.

Growth year over year in the food service business has been at a very high pace. Restaurant hubs are mushrooming everywhere. But only the fittest will survive. Guest will only come back if you offer wholesome experience with best food, service and ambience. One needs to standout and think out of the box.We see a maze of food concepts today – Wide variety of packed cut vegetables, choice of exotic fruits and vegetables, frozen foods, retort foods, quick service restaurants serving an array of delicacies, regional cuisine food kiosks, malls with live food counters, home delivery foods, diverse fine dining, international brands at all levels to name a few. Airline menus have become adventurous and varied yet the food courts, lounges and food counters at airport terminals have grown phenomenally. What we are witnessing is a boom in food service industry.

HospiBuz: What is your role in the menu development, overall design and beverage components at TajSATS Mumbai?

Related imageChef Altamsh Patel: . I make it a point to visit different specialised cuisine restaurants to see their kitchen planning, ingredients, cooking techniques and plate presentations. The training stint at Wasabi by Morimoto and Zodiac grill at Taj Mahal Palace gave me great satisfaction and learning. At TajSATS we get opportunity to develop our own dishes and suggest it during the menu presentation of various domestic and international airlines. I make sure that some of the modern dishes are in our menus so that passenger should get a feel of 5star hotel restaurant while having food in flight.

HospiBuz: Into the Japanese kitchen for All Nippon Airways you developed your own dishes and your dishes are very much appreciated by even the Japanese Chef. What research and innovation have you done to reach to this point of success?

Related imageChef Altamsh Patel: While culinary skills are the mainstay but Chefs today are expected to be tech savvy as there is a constant development in food trends and industry at large. He should have good knowledge of all IT gadgets and Social Media to remain updated. Before people used to buy expensive cookbooks to know more about the industry, now all the info is available at fingertips. Knowledge of financial management, food safety guidelines and legality too has emerged as areas of core competence for Chefs. When I was put into Japanese kitchen i use to read Japanese cookery books and use to google every possible thing about Japanese Cuisine. I always use to follow standard recipes, i have a very good habit of noting down all the recipes whatever i learn on day to day basis , i still study that while menu planning and creating new dishes.

HospiBuz: What makes gastronomy of TajSATS better than other luxurious hotels?

Related imageChef Altamsh Patel: We at TajSATS cater food to many domestic and International airlines for which we produce Indian, Japanese, European, Chinese, Singaporean Chinese, Korean etc. Different skills are required to produce food which will be cooked then chilled and then will be again reheated by crew on the aircraft. We use all the ingredients what are used by restaurants of 5star hotels. Flight Kitchen Chefs have also started food plating to make food more appealing. For example I was sent to learn some of the signature dishes of Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai and we had put those dishes on the menu of All Nippon Airways. So the business class passengers on ANA can enjoy collaboration menu.

HospiBuz: What would you suggest to our readers and the aspiring young chefs?

Related imageChef Altamsh Patel: My major learning has been to establish strong fundamentals and consistently build their upon. Striving for excellence in all parameters of food namely taste, texture, visuals, flavour and aroma is something that pushes the boundaries of my skills as a Chef…

I believe working without passion for an aspiring chef would mean like a lemon with no zing… If you see food and flavours in everything around you and truly love to cook and serve others in a way only you can- Welcome to the passionate world of culinary art !!!

HospiBuz: HospiBuz is working on its vision to be the most informative journalism portal where industry professionals can showcase their talents, skills and success stories. With your immense experience and knowledge in the industry please suggest HospiBuz, on what Hospitality industry journalism needs the most and should be covered.

Related imageChef Altamsh Patel: It should mostly cover success stories of Hospitality professional and modern techniques what are followed in hospitality industry. Should also cover the events and competitions which keeps on happening around the cities related to our industry.

Thank you so much for your prestigious time!!