Chef, everyone knows that you are a perfectionist and all-rounder. You are a chef, an entrepreneur, a restaurateur, a blogger and a traveller. Please tell us what do you enjoy the most about your life?
Chef Krishna Khetle:- 19 years are on and a lot of water has passed under the bridge ever since my first step in the kitchen, cooking is my passion and travelling is my hobby hence this industry has seen me travelling around the world, apart from cooking I enjoy Music too. I love that food has constantly fuelled my creativity and has taught me to embrace the moment, people, places, textures, flavours and sensations. A lifelong passion for cooking can be credited to my mother. I strongly believe in my travel experiences and experimenting that has helped me shape my culinary journey.
How different is to be a restaurateur as compared to being a chef?
Chef Krishna Khetle:- As a restaurateur you need to know all your Capex and Opex, you need to have a helicopter view on your brand and, it’s always challenging job to open a concept, run it successfully and most important it has to be consistent throughout. Apart from cooking, there are many aspects to run a successful restaurant such as day to day operation, guests’ need and latest trends in the market, you have to be always on your toes coz at the end ‘DEVIL LIES IN DETAILS’.
You have travelled to 48 countries to enhance your cooking skills. Chef, please tell us how has it helped you in becoming a person you are today.
Chef Krishna Khetle:- As I said, cooking is my passion and travelling is my hobby, most of it has taught me to espouse every moment, people, places, textures, flavours, and sensation that a cook can know. I firmly believe it that travel experiences and experimenting have accommodated me to develop my culinary journey. My excellency in working in competitive & challenging environment gives me the upper edge from the rest and to keep my constant goal to cultivate and maintain the finest of culinary operations and in fostering the growth of the Food & Beverage industry while aiming to innovate and craft high-value culinary experiences for restaurants.
What is the one learning from travelling which will stay with you forever?
Chef Krishna Khetle:- People, places, memories, cuisine and diverse cultures.
Since you have been a pre-opening culinary associate JW Marriott, please tell us about the responsibilities and the kind of research which a pre-opening culinary team has to do for the hotel?
Chef Krishna Khetle:- It was first JW Marriott & Renaissance of India and one of the leading brands in the world with USA standard’s obviously I was very excited like everyone, Our first goal was to set our dream leadership team to cover crucial aspects of pre-opening operations while ensuring that we have the right leaders and subject matter experts in the team which would be vital to a successful hotel pre-opening planning and execution, The best part of this pre-opening experience is being able to bond well with the team at each level, in short, we were trendsetter.
JW Marriott brought an international brand, state of the art advanced kitchens in India, expert culinary team, best of the best ingredients, international standards, what else you want!!
Congratulations on being accolade for consecutively 4 years for, the Italian Cuisine in Cafe Mangii. Please tell us about the Italian menu which you curated for Mangii?
Chef Krishna Khetle:- Café Mangii – Mangii means Mango in Italian, we opened first Café Mangii in Khar, small cute epicurean slice of Italy and then we opened back to back 10 on pan India Level which includes Le Mangii, Pallette etc. Mangii was known for famous wood fire thin-crust pizzas and freshly made pasta apart from this our freshly baked Italian bread, freshly made pasta, lasagna, meat cooked and finished in a wood fire oven, Sw, Burgers, Fondues, desserts etc every dish was handcrafted.
Outt of which my favourite was
Pasta – Fuisilli mammarosa , Penne ala romana , Fresh gnocchi patata- Spinach fondue
Riso – Champagne risotto, risotto primavera etc.
Meat / Poultry – Lavender steak, pink pepper jus / Chicken Mangii – Stuff chicken with red wine
Pizza – Pepperoni pizza, Vegetale pizza
Dessert – Baked Philadelphia cheesecake, Tiramisu etc
You have spent a major part of your career with Costa Cruises, Chef, please give us some insights into the kitchen of a cruise, How different it is to cook in a hotel kitchen and a cruise kitchen?
Chef Krishna Khetle:- Life as a chef onboard a cruise ship isn’t always a bed of roses. It is a lot to cope with, but It’s all doable. Generally speaking, the food onboard a cruise ship can’t be compared with that of a hotel kitchen, which is on dry land. Onboard, we had many different nationalities working together, such as Germans, Swiss, Austrians, Filipinos, Indians and Indonesians. If you want to achieve the best possible results in your job, then you need to learn to be aware of and understand the habits and peculiarities of different cultures. By comparison, though, the noise levels in the kitchen are lower and the atmosphere is calmer. It is incredibly interesting to work together with so many different cultures and to get to know the people.
One of the most important points on the ship is hygiene. You don’t only work according to the HACCP concept, but also the USPH (the VSP catalogue). This means that absolutely loads of cleaning goes on in the kitchen and everything is very tidy. Everyone is responsible for his or her own post; if you make something dirty, then you have to clean it again.
The difference between working on land and ship is Onboard you have to do quantity and quality work under tremendous pressure, limited hours of sleep, away from family, language issue, different nationalities, you need to adjust with extreme weather wherever you go so mentally you have to be prepared etc. On land, YOU HAVE ALL LEGACY. But on the other hand, you get an opportunity to travel around the world.
You have opened and given concept to 54 restaurants till now which is a big number. Chef, please tell us about this passion for restaurants and this expertise in consultancy?
Chef Krishna Khetle:- So I never thought of being a consultant chef, it just happened. It’s just my hunger towards my cooking skill and places, I feel India and globally we can do wonders when it comes to food, cause ultimately food is the ingredient which binds people together.
My consignments at restaurants instilled in a keen eye for describing and managing kitchens as well as conceptualizing on new menus and dish presentations. Being a chef with great experience, successfully nurture the growth of the Food & Beverage industry while endeavouring to innovate and craft high-value culinary experiences for restaurants. Cause recipe has no soul unless you do it as a chef!!
You are the Founder and Director of Vilayati. How did you, conceptualize it? Tell us about its ambience and DJ Nights?
Chef Krishna Khetle:- Brand – Vilayati is the Hindi terminology means a person coming from outside India & bringing his experience with us i.e Made in foreign. Vilayati is the wholesome experience coming from the travel diaries of Chef K.K from nearly 48 countries bringing back the contemporary style of cooking and Nightlife i.e the Vilayati touch. Vilayati is a modern casual dining restaurant and lounge focused on progressive Indian cuisine and Modern European food, it focuses on providing diners with a unique experience that blends fine food and beverage with unmatched entertainment at two distinct levels.
Raising the bar for F&B in Navi Mumbai. The interior of the restaurant provides comfortable and modern seating with interiors to match the theme, a well-stocked bar with modern signature cocktails and spirits & signature presentation styles of puas. The lounge area features a great ambience perfect for night outs and corporate events, a special focus will be on bringing a host of events and artists never seen or heard before to give your evenings a twist .expect to see the best Dj’s, bands and singer-songwriters here every week. We have mocktails made out of fresh fruit, got sodas, pauas etc
You have and are conceptualizing restaurants abroad, how different is to conceptualize Restaurants in a foreign land as compared to India?
Chef Krishna Khetle:- Very tough, it takes a lot of time, efforts more important you are competing in the international market. Compare to India the making of restaurant’s and procuring all necessary govt body licenses is tough there, of course, skilled manpower is the biggest task. You do not have a legacy of manpower as India, you have to run your operation by a handful of multitalented people. Sourcing the right ingredients is the task. Capex, Opex, preopening, after doing all this you have to on top-notch on your overall experience as a concept and most important it has to be consistent. You have to cater to the needs of your guest.
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