Executive Chef Vikas Milhoutra

Taj Dubai, Dubai

Hailing from Mumbai, Vikas Milhoutra’s love affair with food began at a young age. Whilst travelling with his parents around India, Vikas was wowed by the diversity of the cuisines he discovered. The new ingredients, cooking techniques, traditions and flavours fascinated him, inspiring him to learn more. His mind firmly set on a career in food and hospitality and with the determination to achieve the best, Vikas took up a place at India’s first and best hotel school, the Institute of Hotel Management - Mumbai, in 1987.

Chef Vikas excelled, and so it was no surprise when he was given the opportunity to begin his professional career at the iconic Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai. The rest as they say is history. From there on after ten years of service at the prestigious property rising to the position of Sous Chef at the award winning Golden Dragon restaurant, Chef Vikas has travelled the world, working with Taj properties in Goa, Maldives, London and most recently Taj Santa Cruz, Mumbai. He recently joined Taj Dubai as Executive Chef where he will oversee all food related operations including banqueting, in-room dining, Byzantium Lounge, Tesoro, Treehouse, Eloquent Elephant and the award winning Bombay Brasserie.


Q & A with Executive Chef Vikas Milhoutra


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

To get to a person’s heart is through his/her stomach was the key driving force .The vibrancy of colours of produce from different origins and fragrance of spices /herbs was like a therapy. Once you get this orchestrated together in a great recipe the satisfaction and happiness on the faces of the guests is a big reward. It is like performing a LIVE opera where the appreciation or otherwise is instantaneous.

 

2. My earliest memory in the kitchen…

Helping my mother during a family vacation while we stayed at a fully equipped chalet.

 

3. My favourite dish to cook…

Peking Duck – it requires a great amount of skill of all cooking techniques to get it perfect and in my mind a good Peking Duck is a work of art!

 

4. A cuisine that I want to admire and want to learn…

Japanese, the art of perfection.

 

5. My secret to great food…

Understand your ingredients, know your guest’s taste, perfect the cooking techniques – always go by your instincts. Taste the food before you let it pass and ask yourself the question “will you eat a 2nd serving of the same thing and if the answer is yes – let it go!!!!!

 

6. The last cookbook I bought…

BASQUE COUNTRY – a culinary journey through a food lover’s paradise.

 

7. The Chef that inspires me...

Chef Jason Atherton from London who runs the highly successful Pollen Street Social in London.

 

8. A culinary show that I love to watch…

My Kitchen Rules.

 

9. In my free time, I like to…

Spend time with family and nothing else.

 

10. The kind of adaptations I have had to make while combining two cuisines…

Don’t lose the soul of either of the cuisines or else the “fusion “ends up as “CONFUSION “.

 

11. My guilty pleasure…

Haleem with a lot of clarified butter, brown onions and mint.

 

12. I will describe my restaurant to a first time visitor…

A place where every recipe is cooked with heart and a lot of love – recipe is only a framework.

 

13. My menu design…

Work to your strengths after understanding the regional tastes and preferences. The menu should showcase both the original in all its grandeur as well as interpretations of the cuisine of the restaurant.

 

14. My recommendations in my restaurant…

Every dish on the menu - because it is out there because we are proud of it.