India's Top Female Chef Shares The Gameplan To Rule The Culinary World
We got into conversations with Senior Executive Chef Manisha Bhasin, ITC Maurya. She has been in the business for the about last whopping 30 years. She is one of the renowned Chef’s in India who was also recognized by President Obama, She is ruling the culinary world but like most of us - her favorite is Biryani.
Manisha shares her story of how it all started and what keeps her motivated to be the Queen of the Kitchen!
Tell us bit about yourself and your journey to being one of the most acclaimed women chefs in India.
It's been a long journey starting with my education in IHM bangalore in 1987, joined ITC as a kitchen management trainee and have been with them ever since. I became Executive Chef of Sheraton, New Delhi in year 2000 and then ITC Maurya in 2008 which is the flagship hotel of the group
When and how did you become passionate about cooking?
At a very young age of 14 or 15. I learnt cooking from my mother and grandmother. Found it to be a great expression of creativity as it is a great stress buster too. And then later graduated in hotel management and chose to be a chef.
What is it that keeps you motivated and excited after all these years?
Each day brings in fresh ideas and new challenges and one meets different people, You never stop learning and teaching
Kitchens outside the home have always been a man's turf. Why do you think we don’t have more women chefs? Have you been treated differently because you're a woman?
It is a mind set.Today women are venturing into lot of unorthodox professions and kitchen which was traditionally a woman's domain became man"s the minute it had a commercial angle. That scenario is changing fast
The culinary world is notoriously male-dominated. Any advice for our readers aspiring to enter this field?
Just stay focussed and passionate about what you do and you will succeed, not expect special treatment from male colleagues just because you are a woman. And yes work double hard to earn their respect as a professional...you have to be better to be equal.
When the chips are down, how do you deal with those kinds of situations?
Lie low and wait for the next big opportunity to excel and showcase your potential. At times you got to create these opportunities
Lastly, we'd link you to share one of the most memorable experience from your journey with our readers?
When in 2015 President Obama recognized me from his previous visit in 2010...he seemed to remember that the hotel had a lady Executive Chef
Comfort Food - Moms cooking, biryani
Favourite Cuisine - changes with the times whatever I am doing research on, but my constant fav is Indian
Chef you admire the most - all my mentors who have I have learnt from over the years
Your signature dish - barbecue lamb chops with bourbon sauce
First thing you do when you enter the kitchen - check the cleanliness and stock position
If you were not a chef, what would you be (alternate career) -a painter or a gardener