Executive Sous Chef Ramit Kohli

Taj City Centre Gurugram

"What we think, we create..."

Young, dynamic and an expert in culinary innovation, Executive Sous Chef Ramit Kohli brings with himself 14 years of prolific experience in the kitchens of the Taj. As the deputy head of the culinary operations at Taj City Centre, Gurugram, where he has been since pre-opening, Chef Ramit leads a team of 60 chefs across multiple kitchens at the landmark hotel.

One of Taj’s long-service award winners, Chef Ramit began his career with the company way back in 2004 as a management trainee under the prestigious Taj Management Training Programme. He has worked in the kitchens of several iconic Taj hotels including the Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi, Taj Coromandel Chennai and the Taj Diplomatic Enclave New Delhi where he looked after the upmarket Indian restaurant, Masala Art and also worked at the award-winning European restaurant Orient Express.

He has also worked in the kitchens of hotels in strategic locations such as the Taj Chandigarh and the Vivanta Blue Diamond, Pune. Throughout his career, Chef Ramit has served a host of diplomats and celebrities such as Sachin Tendulkar, Dr. Manmohan Singh, Rani Mukherjee, Akshay Kumar and MS Dhoni to name a few.

Chef Ramit combines the dynamism of a culinary ideator and the craftsmanship of a seasoned creator. The never-ending thirst for culinary innovation combined with the belief that the kitchen has no boundaries is what motivates him to excel. When he’s not in the kitchen, he is in his garden. He thoroughly enjoys travelling, exploring new destinations, cultures and cuisines. An ardent food enthusiast he loves Indian comfort foods and traditional Indian sweets.

Q & A with Executive Sous Chef Ramit Kohli

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

Interestingly, I had set out to become an engineer and was all set to join a Bachelors in Engineering programme! However, it was the unfathomable expanse of culinary innovation that inspired me to choose this career. I realised that there was just so much to explore and learn in the food world that I just had to be a chef!

2. My earliest memory in the kitchen and my  favourite dish from childhood

When I was in school, my mother prepared a delicious, rustic mango pickle at home every summer. As her little apprentice, I assisted her in drying the mango under the sun and helped her mix the spices together. I relished the pickle almost everyday during lunch after school! Then there was Karachi Halwa which I absolutely loved as a child. An old Delhi specialty, the sweet was brought to India during partition by those who migrated from Pakistan. It’s chewy and the sweetness dissolves on the palate as you keep on chewing. Another childhood favourite and almost a staple during recess at school was Ram Ladoo – delicious deep fried lentil dumplings served with freshly grated radish, fresh coriander and mint chutney.

3. My favourite dish to cook

Pan seared river sole with orange and dill sauce. It is light, easy and fuss-free to prepare and has very subtle, delicate flavours.

4. A cuisine that I want to learn

The cuisines from the north-eastern states of our country top my bucket list. Of late, there has been a tremendous interest amongst culinarians like me in the cuisines of the region.

5. My secret to great food

Never compromise on the quality of ingredients and produce. While cooking, maintaining authenticity is supreme – and this is irrespective of the dish being contemporary or classic. Then comes presentation, which is crucial because we eat with our eyes first.

6. The last cookbook I bought

A Taste of Morocco by Robert Carrier

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

I enjoy watching culinary shows where the history of the cuisine and the food is also showcased. Raja, Rasoi Aur Anya Kahaniyaan is one of my current favourites.

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

Work in my home garden where I grow a selection of herbs and vegetables.

9. The kind of adaptations I have  had to make while combining two cuisines/palates / guest taste – for e.g.  Indian and Intercontinental...

I have used a lot of molecular techniques to combine cuisines – Indian and international.

10. My guilty pleasure

Rich, gooey chocolatey fudge cake and classic cheesecakes are my all-time favourites!

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

Set in the heart of India’s financial and technological ‘Millennium City’, Taj City Centre Gurugram is just 30 km from the national capital and 19 km from the airport. The strikingly contemporary tower with 208 luxurious rooms and suites looks over a capacious turquoise pool. Singapore-based Warner Wong Design’s urbane aesthetic reflects in the imposing glass and granite façade with latticed Indian accents and locally-inspired motifs.  From fine dining restaurants like Thai Pavilion and Culina 44 to holistic wellness rituals at the award-winning Jiva Spa, this Taj hotel in Delhi offers a modish retreat for the global business and leisure traveler. Our multi-lingual staff is equipped to arrange pitch-perfect formal events and glamorous soirées for guests at the meeting spaces and banquet halls within the hotel. Should you choose to explore the region, our world-class Concierge curates experiences and things to do in Delhi and that get you inside access to the city’s lush retail and cultural landscape.

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

I start with an in-depth understanding of the clientele – its tastes, preferences, demographics etc. One has to understand the audience that is being catered to. Also, a quick check of what competing hotels have to offer must also be taken cognizance of. This lays the foundation for a skeleton menu. Functional dynamics such as available resources, seasonality and equipment involved are critical to consider at this point. The keyword is balance – of ingredients, of colours, of cooking styles. Now comes the creative layer when I explore ideas to present the food in innovative ways, whilst keeping the essence of the dishes intact. A couple of rough sketches of what each dish looks like are also made at this stage. Food trials come next. This is when I look out for feasibility and operational issues if any, the overall look and presentation, the mouthfeel of the dish and most importantly, the flavour. Finally when the menu gets charted, I look out for simple dishes with multiple ingredients and innovative presentation ideas that would make me think further, “Can this dish be served in a different manner?”! Menu designing is always a never-ending exercise.

13. My recommendations (in your restaurant(s)/hotel)

World of Taj, Comfort Food and All-Day Breakfast selections at the all-day dining restaurant, Culina 44 are must-haves. The iconic Thai Pavilion serves the most authentic flavours of Siam and is on every food connoisseur’s go-to list. Our signatures infusions and cocktails at Tease cannot be missed. Especially after midnight since it is one of the only few bars open till 3 am. And for celebratory experiences or intimate evenings, I strongly recommend a personalised Chef’s Table at the poolside, at the Thai Pavilion private dining room or at the private yoga deck.

14. Personal tips that I  would like share with our guests

Cooking good food comes from the heart and presenting it in a tasteful manner comes from the mind.