After conquering culinary arena of Mumbai, Ashish Bhasin has joined The Leela Ambience Gurugram Hotel & Residences as Executive Chef. He joins the hotel’s team after most recently serving at Trident Mumbai BKC hotel. He has more than 19 years of culinary experience in luxury hotels and very well known for his creativity and promoting lost cuisines of India. Ashish completed his basic education from prestigious Mayo College Ajmer and culinary education from IHM Pusa. As Executive Chef of The Leela Ambience Gurugram Hotel & Residences, Ashish will be responsible for all 6 dining venues Spectra, Zanotta, Diya, Skydeck Lounge, Rubicon Bar & Cigar Lounge and The Leela Patisserie, as well as in-room dining for 412 rooms that includes residences and banquet venues which spread over 27000 sq ft / 2508 sq meters.
Beginning of culinary journey:
After completing his culinary education, he joined Taj group of hotels and worked there. Thereafter he joined The Oberoi New Delhi. Later he got the opportunity to take independent charge of the kitchens of Trident Udaipur. From there, he moved to The Oberoi and was the first Indian chef to be made an Executive Chef. Subsequently he got an international posting for 2 years in Egypt on the Red Sea in a hotel called The Oberoi, Sahl Hasheesh. At Taj Mahal New Delhi, he was associated with the opening of Ricks, Emperor’s Lounge and the reopening of Machaan and also worked briefly at Taj Palace Hotel, New Delhi. He was also associated with the opening of Café Fontana and was a of their signature restaurant Orient Express, during his tenure, he ensured that each dish created by him reflects his passion for food. His Luck has always been on his side, he always had the opportunity to work with some of the best people in the industry.
He is chef inborn:
People eat to live and Punjabis live to eat is something I believe in, says Ashish. My love and passion for food has given me the strength to distinctly feel each flavour. I noticed this ability of mine when I was in college and, therefore, made up my mind about choosing cooking as a profession. I participated in various kinds of activities during my school days. An all-rounder, some would say, but particularly passionate about scouting. We went for many camping trips and would have to make our own food on a chullah. The cooking bit of the trip always left me fascinated, but never once did I think that it would become my profession. In fact, at that point in time I was sure I would join the Defence Forces. In 1994, as most of my friends were gearing up for hotel management entrance exams, my inquisitive mind too would wonder if I had an aptitude for working in hotels. This thought led me to sit for the exam. To mine and everybody else’s surprise, I cleared the exam and decided to go for the course. On the very first day of college I stood in the middle of the kitchen telling myself that this was the place for me.
Enhancement of culinary skills on global platform:
A chef is always hungry to gain and enhance his culinary skills from all the resources they get to learn from. After spending few years he decided to advance his knowledge of Asian cuisine. He travelled on his own to many countries and learnt many cuisines. The country he travelled to gain additional knowledge includes Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand, China, Singapore, Philippines and Mauritius. These countries have a vast and diverse product base that is perfect for sophisticated culinary endeavours.
Encourages regional cuisine:
Ashish is well known for promoting regional cuisines through hidden talents. He promoted “Rivaayat” in his previous hotel. “Rivaayat” is a unique culinary initiative which seeks to revisit and revive the lost and dying food heritage of India. Under Rivaayat many cuisines from many part of India were showcased, which consists of Dakshin, Karwari, Punjabi, Awadhi, Shajahanabad, Bhojpuri, Patiala, Assamese and Sailana. All editions they hosted in Mumbai were very popular and crowd puller. On Rivaayat, chef Ashish says “Good things never stop. Promoting regional cuisines was not my job but was passion. I have a hunger to promote and learn and take Indian Cuisine to next level. I have already started putting regional dishes on my Buffet at The Leela. I have future plans to do regional food festivals at my Indian restaurant”.
Awards and accolades:
Chef Ashish awarded Top Chef (Hotels) in inaugural Foodfood award, held in year 2017. The award is constituted by Padmashri Chef Sanjeev Kapoor’s cookery channel namely Foodfood. Under his culinary leadership his many restaurants were awarded among top restaurants by foodfood, eazydiner, times food guide and so on. The turning point in his career was the opening of one of the most iconic restaurants, 360 Degree at The Oberoi, New Delhi. As part of his research, he got the opportunity to travel across the world, sampling cuisines from the by-lanes of Bangkok to the Michelin starred restaurants of Hong Kong.
Author: Sitaram Mewati – Award Winning Journalist