Chef Vivek Rana Who Believes That Authentic Flavour Of A Dish Should Not Be Adulterated
Image Credit: Chef Vivek Rana/ The Claridges Hotels & Resorts

Chef Vivek Rana commenced his journey in Mumbai, building up his initial culinary experience by working diligently at luxury 5-star hotels for 5 substantial years. Having worked across the globe, Vivek has unmatched passion to create delicious dishes and provide high-quality service to the guests.  He is keen interest in is focused on absorbing new concepts, consistently working on the research and development of new and existing products and designing & testing recipes. Being an award-winning chef and an exceptional food expert, he has progressively gained immense experience & recognition in his culinary journey receiving awards and appreciation for the restaurant he worked for. 

Today, leading the culinary space at The Claridges, Chef Vivek Rana consistently brings innovation and passion to all the 4 restaurants at the hotel and the iconic bakery of The Claridges. Curating unique food festivals to bringing in diverse culinary concepts, he has a deep understanding of food through his diverse experiences in the industry.

What has been your inspiration to this trade?

Being a chef its privilege for me as it has taught me to be extremely discipline and at the same time discover my creativity in my culinary journey, Currently being a executive chef at the Claridges new delhi and cultivating and innovating innumerable recipe for each of the diverse FNB out let has been a dream and every day my team and iam inspired to go and extra mile to provide exceptional culinary experience to patrons 

Being a army kid, I use to travel with the family almost all over India and exposed to different food culture and cuisine of India We use to go out army mess very often, Food at army mess still has that British culture on it and dishes like scotch egg and roast chicken, tipsy pudding used to be a part of menu, I always use to peek in to the mess kitchen very often and use to see what the cooks are doing in the kitchen.

From that day my curiosity and passion led me to research and understand diverse cuisine in-depth and innovate my own unique recipe. Truly grateful to my father who motivated me to actively chase my dream and passion and inspired me to do best in which every field i choose to work for.

When conceptualizing a new menu what are the few things that you always take care of?

Concept note – What is the concept of the of the restaurants, price point, kind of people expected, Kind of cuisine Authenticity – It’s always good to be innovative but for me authentic flavour of the dish should not be adulterated, We should be always be very care full to the real taste of the dish. Local produce – I want my ingredients to travel as less as possible for this i am sourcing most of the ingredients from my local farms , which help me to interact with the farmers, i can tell them to grow few of the items according to my specification.

What had been you comeback mantra to adapt to the businesses post the pandemic?

Post pandemic everyone had suffered a lot , now it’s a time we all should work together and motivate each other, Success of  Any good organisation is the motivated staff, Always support and keep the staff happy they will keep the guest happy 

Having worked across the glove which Indian cuisine is most underrated and why?

Most of the Indian cuisine is underrated even the most popular Punjabi food is also just limited in few dishes where there are lots of dishes which are not getting there fame, Punjab has lots to offer , more in there vegetarian cooking than in non vegetarian cooking, Imagine when Punjabi cuisine has so much to offer which we are not aware , what is hiding in other cusine 

 Cuisine from hills are much underrated (mostly north east). Since my dad was posted in the hills of Arunachal Pradesh I had discovered all the north eastern states and experience their culture and culinary, Had eaten at there home to small restaurants in villages, Use of oil or ghee is so limited in there food , Thats why the best  athletes are produced by north eastern states now.

There are so many varieties of herbs and mushrooms grows in north-east which even the local people are not being aware of, Black rice of Manipur is getting his due lately.

The culinary genius that you are how do you see the industry embracing age old recipes, old grains like amaranth, millet etc and sustainability as the way forward?

Few of the chefs are going back to basic and are using age old recipe in their regular menu , Like i do serve ( gur ki jalebi with bajre ki kheer) in my restaurant at winters , Lots of millet based products are there in regular breakfast feature . Even lime and orange skin are been preserved to make jams and pickles out of it.

 What has been your idea of comfort food?

Comfort food for me is the food which brings me back the memory back of my child hood , it can be a normal bread and butter which i use to have in Irani café at Mumbai or army mess food or the taste of the food which was cooked by my mother, Food i use to have in festivals or food in my hostel canteen. I always keep at least one or two food in my menu which i tasted in my childhood and i had created my own version where i can share my memories to the guest, food is not only about the taste its a experience its a religion for me 

What’s your fondest food memory?

Around 2014 I was in Italy at Umbria and walking down the street , came across a small restaurant run by two sisters , I was so blown away by the cuisine for next 1 week my stay at Italy i had all my lunch at that restaurant only . 

Eating meal at Alinia Chicago. So after I got my 1st bonus in New York city, I booked my table at alinea and from that time onwards was just dreaming about that place, On the final day me and my fellow chef we both entered the restaurant and it was like you are entering in the cinema theatre, once we sat down with every course there was more surprises for next few months i was on food coma.

Launching pickwicks and compiling menu, getting deep into the classic British food recipes and putting them in menu doing trails and slowly looking at the success of the restaurant re launched by you in just another feeling.

Starting dimsum lunch at Jade with chef Bir Singh was one of the best culinary journeys, also made and tasted almost more than 200 varieties of dimsum and putting 40 in the menu and from day one seeing restaurant packed with dimsum lover every day 

 Who is your worst critic when it comes to food?

My toughest critic is the CEO, The Claridges Hotels & Resorts- Mr. Vikram Aditya Singh. Being a great leader, he pushes me to outperform myself and curate unique culinary concepts. 

He possesses great knowledge about diverse cuisines and culture; he is the worst yet the best critic I have who ultimately pushes me to do my best.