In 2005, he joined the Grosvenor House in Dubai as a Chef de Partie before being promoted to Sous Chef in their 1-Michelin star Indego restaurant. Thereafter he joined the Armani Hotel in 2009 as the hotel’s Sous Chef, and then in 2011, worked as the Chef de Cuisine at Le Meridien Hotel’s MAHEC Indian restaurant. Later, he joined the pre-opening team of St. Regis Hotel in Mauritius.
In 2013, Chef Bharath joined Lite Bite Foods as the Senior Executive Chef of the company’s fine-dining Punjab Grill restaurants, which at that time had 10 restaurants throughout India, and one restaurant in Singapore. In 2014 he returned to his hometown, where he joined Alila Diwa Goa resort as its Executive Sous Chef. A year later, Chef Bharath he rejoined to Lite Bite Foods to establish Punjab Grill in Bangkok.
Who first taught you to cook?
At home, my mother but professionally my chefs in the hotel management school.
Your very first cooking experience?
Learning the basics of French cuisine like base sauces and cuts of meats, vegetables etc.
Why cooking as a career?
Actually I always wanted to be an IT professional but due to our financial situation I could not pursue that career, so I decided to choose my second passion – cooking.
Chef Satish Shenoy, my mentor. Under him, I started my career internationally and under his guidance, I learned a lot about contemporary Indian cuisine, how to mix authentic Indian cuisine with international cuisines, how to blend different spices with meats, seafood and vegetables, and how to present and plate dishes. Without him or his guidance I would not be what I am today.
How often do you change at the menu at the Punjab Grill?
We change the a la carte every year, and the tasting menu every three months depending on seasonality.
Do you serve vegetarian dishes?
Yes, we have many vegetarian selections in the menu. Also we cater to dietary restrictions like vegan food, dairy free food and gluten free food.
What are your customers’ most frequently requested dish?
Malai lobster, tawa scallops Tandoori Jheenga, Chaamp Tajdaar, tandoori Portobello mushroom, Gucchi pulaon and Kesari Gucchi curry, biryanis.
How easy or difficult is it to find the right ingredients for Indian cuisine in Bangkok?
Procuring fresh seafood, fresh mutton and fresh vegetables is very easy but when it comes to spices we have to depend on suppliers who can supply them from India. Finding the right brands can also be challenging.
Can non-Indians master Indian cuisine?
Yes, but they have to do a lot research on Indian cuisine, go for training, and also they should have a good knowledge about spices and how to blend them.
Can you please tell us about the regional variations of Indian cuisine?
As India is a vast country it has lots of regional cuisines and different variations in every state, depending on their geographical conditions and staple diets. I am from Mumbai on the west coast of India so I prefer lots of seafood and other coastal belt dishes.
Who are your best customers?
Other than Indians, I would say American, British, Australian, Arabic and few local Thais.
Famous people you have cooked for:
Roger Federer, Bollywood celebrities, and diplomats from various countries.
Best and worst kitchen experiences:
Best experience would be when I became the first Indian chef to win Iron Chef Thailand. As for the worst, there are many but because of these experiences I have learned a lot and progressed in my life and career.
Other than Indian food, what other national cuisines do you like?
Thai, Mexican, Italian, Chinese and Japanese. I have learned a lot from these cuisines and try to use their
influences in my cooking.
What are your favorite restaurants in Bangkok?
Benihana in Avani Atrium hotel, Cantina and Mexicano. For Indian cuisine, apart from my own restaurant, I like Charcoal, Rang Mahal, Indus and Saras Shri Ganesha.
World’s best cuisine: Thai, Indian, French?
What’s next for you?
To earn a Michelin star for my restaurant.