Talking to Restaurant India, Rajesh Shetty, Executive chef at GVK lounge by TFS-Performa, T-2 International Airport, Mumbai shares about changing food trends.
Tell us about your culinary journey?
I have been in the industry for last 20 years and have worked with companies like Taj Group, Oberoi Group. I have travelled globally to countries like Africa, Canada and Dubai working at some international properties. I joined TFS in 2013 primarily responsible for opening the lounges at Airports. We opened 4 lounges; we are opening another business lounge at International airport in Mumbai.
How is the job of a chef at airport different from that of normal hotels?
I think now it is same everywhere. But, earlier managing airport was difficult because of security and other measures. Most of food are coming from outside to cut on time. Now, it is pretty much similar to a fine dine restaurant. Everything is made fresh. It’s a 24 hrs operation.
What are the varieties you are serving?
We are serving Indian food because we cater to maximum of Indian customers. There are two basic services at the lounge- a buffet service where we provide an extended buffet where guest can select from Indian, Thai, Continental and Chinese. We also do street foods like Chaats. We have live station where we do pastas, dimsums and it’s an ala carte.
How often do you play with the ingredients?
Every two weeks we keep on changing the foods, renovating the menu for people who don’t wantto enjoy same food. We do some modern cuisine with mix and match of ingredients. We use high-end products.
What is the amount you charge from the guests?
There is no price for guests. The airline pays it. Everything is covered by the airlines.
What trend do you see in Indian market?
People are travelling more in India, the scenario has changed compared to 10 years back. People are asking for some more, they are creative, they know what’s happening around the world and they try to imbibe this on them. We have also great craziness of Supermarkets where people are experimenting a lot for foods. People are supporting farmers to meet the need of their cuisine. There is lots of technology transfers, better products are coming in the market.
Who are some of your regular customers? What is the number of people you cater to?
My regular customers are expats and VIPs who are travelling from Mumbai comes to our lounge. We do 1600-1700 people daily. Praful Patel, Anil Kapoor, Kofi Annan and lots of celebrities are visiting us.
What is your plan opening a restaurant of your own?
It’s very good time to be in India, because everyone is exploring. People are trying new things and the demand is there. New chefs are coming to India with new style to cooking. People are well aware of what they are eating. I would love to open one in future.