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Chef de Cuisine - Ajay Negi

Taj Dubai

Chef Ajay Negi is the culinary genius behind Taj Dubai's signature award winning Indian restaurant Bombay Brasserie. Bringing with him over 15 years of international experience, Ajay mastered the culinary artshaving worked in Indian regional hotspots like Udaipur, Jalandhar, New Delhi and Shimla. Having started his career in 2001 as a Commis 3 in the kitchens of Radisson Jalandhar in Punjab, Ajay was very intrigued by spice mixes, marinades and the baking of fresh breads in the 'tandoor' (Indian clay oven). In Dubai he further refined his skills working at restaurants like Patialaby Kunal Kapur and with Armani Amal.

Chef Ajay now boasts an ever-growing record of achievement, as well as the unique ability to combine traditional Indian flavors with modern and contemporary presentations. His cooking style is all about balance; he loves creating dishes with unique and different flavors and textures. He aims to surprise people with new spins on old favorites.
He has an insatiable curiosity for pairing flavors in food and loves to incorporate modern food ideas from different parts of the world into his creations.

Q & A with Chef de Cuisine - Ajay Negi

1. The main influences that made me interested in food and cooking as a career...
I come from a family of foodies especially my Mom. Lunch and dinner were an elaborate affair. Being the youngest in the family I used to always hover around my mother in the kitchen. Slowly she started entrusting me with little things to do and that is how my love affair with food began.

2. My earliest memory in the kitchen ...
When I first started off my career in Punjab - it was undoubtedly peeling onions. The first dish which I remember cooking was Butter chicken.

3. My favourite dish from childhood ...
Aloo paranthas and makki ki roti. I think my mom was a fantastic artisan baker because the breads she made at home are impossible for me to replicate. But the thought of her homemade bread still lingers.

4. My favourite dish to cook...
Raan (Indian roast leg of lamb) which is cooked in the tandoor - I was always intrigued by the tandoor (an Indian clay oven used to cook kebabs and bake breads). I was lucky enough to work and gain in depth knowledge about it and till date I am fascinated by it.

5. A cuisine that I want to learn...
Japanese – I am not a big fan of Japanese food, but their techniques always fascinate me. It would be great to be an Indian chef with skills of a Japanese master chef. The ingredients they use and the love and respect they have for the same always attracted my attention. It would be really nice to learn how to make a good sushi roll or the perfect Nigiri.

6. My secret to great food...
- Season well
- Don’t over complicate
- Put a lot of heart into your food

7. The last cookbook I bought...
El cellar de can roca

8. A culinary show or movie that I love to watch...
Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen nightmares and the movie Burnt featuring Bradley Cooper.

9. In my free time, I would like to...
Always cook for my family. My young daughter has many requests and has my days off planned for weeks in advance.

10. My guilty pleasure...
Kulfi falooda

11. I will describe my restaurant/hotel to a first time guest..
Modern and traditional techniques merged together to create a perfect gastronomical experience with the focus on taste and flavor. Not to forget that we do really good homestyle food as well.

12. 4-5 personal tips that I would like share...
- Work hard and success will follow
- Always cook from your heart
- Do what you love and you will not be working for a day
- Season well