Executive Chef Arun Mohanraj

Savoy, Ooty - IHCL SeleQtions, Ooty

Chef Arun Mohanraj has an extensive culinary experience of 17 years with various iconic hotels and reputed brands. With IHCL, he worked with some marquee hotels such as Gateway Madurai, Taj Kumarakom and currently at Savoy in Ooty. At Savoy, Chef Arun is notably known for his innovation, creativity and a very passionate approach for the careful selection of fresh, local and hyper-local produce from the hotel’s surroundings. From simple to intricate, he offers a wide range of culinary delights to suit every taste for a unique and memorable dining experience.

His personal trend is expressed in preparing food in an innovative, fascinating and healthy way by selecting top quality products from the given geography and blending those with local herbs and fresh wild-growing spices. His remarkable creativity, garnished with years of experience, pleasantly surprises every guest at Savoy, tasting classic dishes in a non-conventional mixture sealed by his unique signature.

“What is the essence of a brilliant meal? It isn’t just about precisely selecting and preparing each product, it’s the emotional experience that matters. Experience is what every single dish is, a feeling created through senses, a message to be brought by food!”


Q & A with Executive Chef Arun Mohanraj


1. The main influences that made me interested in food and cooking as a career...

Like many other Chefs, My Mother is my inspiration. In my opinion, food is not a physical substance, it is a very interesting melange of Love, Emotions and gift of nature which comes in forms of various ingredient.

2. My earliest memory in the kitchen...

Our family has farming areas with Coconut Tree in abundance, at the age of thirteen I learned to make Coconut Barfi from my mother and gradually I started making it myself, in a span of few months my family, relatives and neighbours got a taste of my Barfi. From then it became a ritual till I moved out of my native place to become a professional Chef.

3.  My favourite dish to cook...

Koi Udhakka  

4. A cuisine that I want to learn...

Japanese

5. My secret to great food...

It’s an open secret-PASSION

6. The last cookbook I bought or the last incident that has inspired you...

Anthony Bourdain-What inspired most about him that he started his career as a “Utility Cleaner” however the passion for gastronomy made him famous, all around the world and he carved his own niche.  

7. A culinary show that I love to watch...

Kitchen Confidential

8. In my free time, I would like to...

Spend time with my family especially with my Son Aditya

9. The kind of adaptations I have had to make while combining two cuisines/palates /guest taste...

It’s a very tricky aspect of cooking, every home has its own exclusive recipe which differs from another hence it’s imperative that any/all chefs including myself is able to read guests’ mind; in order to do so, I like asking detailed and multiple questions to the guests to cater/respect each aspect of the desired dish.  

10. My guilty pleasure...

I am born traditional and vegetarian Brahmin family, however, after embracing the Chef’s profession, I have been savouring all kinds of meats; I consider it as my job commitment as well as a guilty pleasure.

11. I will describe my restaurant/hotel to a first time customer...

Where we don’t just serve food, Come to Savoy-We serve Passion and love with great authenticity.  

12.   My menu design (what kind of research goes into its preparation, can you walk us through the process)...

A lot of orthodox reading from books as well as online research, I also like going to consult home-chefs from traditional villages and places where food has been an intrinsic part of the culture.

13. My recommendations in my “Dining Room” (Restaurant)...

Badaga Thali, Koi Udhakka, Dak Bungalow Murgi Roast  

14. What is the unique dining experience In your hotel?  How was this conceived...

We have just started a Tea Garden within our hotel premises, which used to be a redundant patch. While it is “work in progress” stage, we have planned to give a guest experience in the midst of the tea bushes. The multiple course menu will be paired with some exquisite homegrown Nilgiri Teas. We have done extensive research to harmonise the flavour profile of a particular dish with the most compatible tea.