A progressive culinary professional with over 15 years of experience, Executive Sous Chef, Atul Upadhyay leads a dynamic team of culinary experts under the aegis of the Executive Chef at the resplendent Taj Palace, New Delhi. Known for his culinary creativity and passion for food, he cherishes regional Indian cuisines and classic European fare with equal flair.
Prior to his current role, Chef Atul, as he is fondly known, was the Executive Sous Chef of the idyllic Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur where he looked after our famed restaurants, Jharokha, Bhairo and Neelkamal. He has also had the privilege of working for several renowned hotel brands across the country and even an international luxury cruise line.
With the profound knowledge of an array of cuisines, Chef Atul’s immense diverse expertise lies in Indian, Mediterranean and Asian cuisines. His innate ability to recognize subtle nuances in flavours allows him to explore innovative flavour combinations. He loves to experiment and inject creativity in the kitchen at all times.
"What I endeavour to conjure every time I am cooking is what I call, the 'perfect plate' - a well-conceived dish that incorporates complementary flavours and leverages the unique textures of individual ingredients such that it carries the invisible signature of the person who created it. This to me is the greatest reward of my profession!"
1. The main influences that made me interested in food and cooking as a career..
My mother has been my greatest influence. An exceptional cook herself, she would whip up the most delicious food for us. The joy of creating something that tempts the senses drove me into the culinary world. I had always been enamoured by the sheer creativity of chefs and culinary experts, more importantly since the medium of expression is food – the second basic need. Hotel school helped me hone my skills and helped me learn and understand the world of food from a larger and more professional perspective.
2. My earliest memory in the kitchen..
I was my mother’s favourite apprentice in the kitchen! I would love to help her around as she created the most delectable food for us. I especially enjoyed working with the traditional Indian mortar and pestle (“sil-batta”). It had a different charm altogether that completely amused me. Pounding chutneys with fresh winter greens was something I absolutely enjoyed when I first started cooking.
3. My favourite dish to cook..
A comforting risotto!
4. A cuisine that I want to admire and want to learn..
I am an ardent fan of classical French Cuisine. It is timeless and has shaped our kitchens today. I am keen to learn new dimensions to grand French cuisine.
5. My secret to great food..
Freshness is key - of ingredients, of produce. I practice and preach a rather simple, yet time-tested approach - use quality ingredients; deploy the most appropriate cooking techniques and thirdly, train your squad. The result is great-tasting, high-quality consistent food, every single time.
6. The last cookbook I bought..
Legendary chef, Paul Bocuse's French Cooking
7. The Chef that inspires me..
Our Executive Chef at Taj Palace, New Delhi - Chef Rajesh Wadhwa. An industry veteran, his experience is absolutely unmatched.
8. A culinary show that I love to watch..
Kitchen Confidential and Top Chef
9. In my free time, I like to..
I dedicate all my free time to my family!
10. The kind of adaptations I have had to make while combining two cuisine..
While we do endeavour to cater to different palates and preferences, I always believe that the very psyche of any dish must not be altered with. Else, the "synthesis" may turn out as "puzzlement".
11. My guilty pleasure..
I enjoy simple, rustic, home-style food with lots of homespun ghee.
12. I will describe my restaurant to a first time visitor..
Taj Palace is home to New Delhi’s much-feted multi-award winning culinary experiences. From European to Indian, the hotel offers an array of restaurants that serve authentic cuisines with impeccable flair. The hotel also boasts of the capital city’s largest and most coveted banqueting and conferencing venues and remains the first choice for international conferences and meetings, celebratory dinners, glittering weddings and sparkling soirées. Our culinary experiences for events are the finest in the country.
13. My menu design..
I always ensure that irrespective of variety, my menus feature logical sections that render it easy for diners to search for dishes. Arranging items sequentially and in logical groups, and effective typography go a long way in ensuring the success of a menu.
14. My recommendations in my restaurant..
Tandoori egg biryani at Capital Kitchen, Dum ki rogani nalli at Masala Art, Magaret duck at Orient Express, Steamed seabass, young ginger and coriander at Spicy Duck
15. The unique dining experience in my hotel..
A unique dining experience like no other, the Chef’s Studio at Taj Palace, New Delhi combines the finesse of fine dining with our signature personalised service. An exclusive, by-appointment-only space located at the heart of the hotel, the studio offers an experience conceptualised by our culinary experts with fine attention to detail. The en-suite studio kitchen gives an opportunity to interact with your very own private chef. An elegant dining area with Versace-Rosenthal dinnerware, Ercuis cutlery, Riedel glassware and Limoges porcelain bring out the luxury quotient of the studio. A menu handcrafted to perfection complemented with fine wines creates an unmatched dining experience.In addition to the above, we also offer private dining in mesmeric settings, with handcrafted menus and impeccable service at our poolside and at the lush putting greens. These intricately curated experiences feature a personal butler to indulge you with impeccable service and a handcrafted menu created by our culinary experts paired with Champagne and vino from our cellars.