Soud Chef Rakesh Chamoli, an Indian national, has 13 years of culinary experience, 11 of which are in the UAE.
Can you give us a glimpse of your career journey so far?
I started my career as a chef in 2008; I graduated with a degree in Hospitality Management in 2007 with honours. With a strong passion towards the kitchen and all its aspects, and a profound love for food preparation, I specialised in international cuisine, working for international brands such as Marriott, IHG and Accor.
For hospitality management, I did six months of industrial training at Babylon Hotel Raipur India. I have also worked for Vijayawada ITC Group in India. I moved to Dubai in 2010, and started working for Habtoor Grand Resort, Autograph Collection. In 2015, I moved to the World Trade Centre as a chef de partie at the Novotel and ibis hotels.
In 2016, I was part of the pre-opening team as senior chef de partie for Metropolitan Boutique Hotel under Habtoor Hospitality Group, handling all-day dining, banquet and room service, plus catering and events. From 2017 until now, I have been sous chef at Nassima Royal Hotel, which was turned into voco Hotel Dubai under IHG management and part of the pre-opening team for the first VOCO brand in Middle East, handling all culinary operations.
What’s your favourite dish to eat and why?
I love street food. When you work for hotels and you’re surrounded by many international dishes from different cuisines, you tend to go back to basics when enjoying food, as well as Asian and Indian specialties.
What are you cooking up today? Tell us more about the dish.
Today, I’m going to prepare almond-cured salmon with coconut lime saffron sauce, one of my favourite dishes, using Nestlé Coconut Milk Powder – it’s rich in flavours and protein.
As a chef, what are the top ingredients and products you’re using these days?
During these difficult Covid-19 times, it’s a challenge to procure a lot of products from outside of the UAE, so I’m focusing in my recipes on local produce and alternative food solutions to maintain consistency and deliciousness.
What are some of the most recent important food trends you can tell us about?
Looking at trends in the market, all concepts are going back to the basic recipes and not complicating things. For example, using fresh herbs and ingredients is now preferred. Most chefs are now adding a touch or their signature, not more than that. You can be creative, even with basic dishes, just make sure you maintain authenticity and presentation, and preserve cultural background.
What would you advise suppliers and foodservice professionals who are looking to offer their best to the market and meet demand?
Demand for foodservice professionals is high now, and they should focus on products that can be prepared in a short period of time, while yielding quality results. Plus, look for trending recipes in the market and find alternative foodservice solutions for such dishes.