Executive Chef Sameer Shah

Rambagh Palace, Jaipur

In past 20 years, I have worked for the best Indian Hotel companies like Leela, Oberoi and Taj. I started my career with Leela Mumbai and worked there for 4 years. Then with Oberoi Towers- frangipani for 3 years. My journey with Taj started in 2004 - Taj Lands End, where I got an opportunity to open VISTA.  

In 2006, I moved as Executive chef to beautiful Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur. And in 2012, I moved to the prestigious Rambagh Palace, Jaipur.

Q & A with Executive Chef Sameer Shah

1. The main influences that made me interested in food and cooking as a career
Chef by accident. I don’t remember stepping in my mother or grandmothers kitchen ever in my childhood. My childhood dream was to join Indian Army. Joined Hotel Management after finishing higher secondary.  It was in catering college that I discovered my flair and skills for cooking and since then some very hectic and stressful but nevertheless beautiful and exciting years.
2. My earliest memory in the kitchen and my  favourite dish from childhood
My favourite cuisine is Kumaoni cuisine because I have grown up feeding on that cuisine and even today I prefer to have it cooked by my mom or my wife on my day off.

3. My favourite dish to cook
All the regional dishes. I believe it is our responsibility to keep the traditions alive and pass it on to next generation. Traditions are not history; they are our past, our present and our future.

4. A cuisine that I want to learn
Kumaoni cuisine from my mother and all my aunts, and hopefully introduce it to the world.

5. My secret to great food
“A recipe has no soul, we as a cook must bring soul to every recipe” Chef Thomas Keller.

6. The last cookbook I bought
Bachour  - simply beautiful and Food lover’s companion

7. A culinary show or movie that I love to watch
Stories of Chef Rene Redzepi on Instagram, they are most amazing and informative short clips.

8. In my  free time, I would like to
My family is my best friend so after work is over, rest of the time is only for family and nothing else.

9. The kind of adaptations I have  had to make while combining two cuisines/palates / guest taste
I am not a very big fan of combining cuisines because every cuisine is unique and has history & science behind it and that has to be preserved.

10. My guilty pleasure
Aloo parantha with homemade butter.

11. I will describe my restaurant/hotel to a first time customer
- Dine like a Maharaja and Maharani
- 22 karate plated cutlery and Versace crockery
- Cuisine from the four most popular Royal dynasties of India.
12. My recommendations in your restaurant(s)
- Dhundhar murg
- Sikandari raan
- Bharwan Gucchi masala
- Chilgoza khumb palak kofta