Vivek Singh, Executive Chef and in-charge of Food & Beverage at Centara West Bay Hotel & Residences Doha talks a sky-high culinary journey and progressive cuisine.
You have spent the past 10 years as head chef with two of the region’s biggest airlines. What prompted you to come back down to Earth with a hotel position and how do the two styles of catering differ?
Starting my career with hotels was like love at first sight, I never felt I could fit in at any other place. Then, out of nowhere, in 2013 I received an opportunity to fly with Etihad Airways as chef onboard, hence my journey in aviation started. I was blessed in true terms to visit places, try authentic food and interact with masters of cuisine in different corners of the world while getting paid. Cooking at 40,000 feet was an experience which cannot be explained, interacting with celebrities, presidents, business owners while preparing meals for them in the first-class cabin of the A380 helped me to develop interpersonal skills and learn to be a true ambassador of hospitality. I oversaw the Expo 2020 operation with Emirates airline and later the first and business class lounges of the world’s biggest airline; Emirates lounge was my last adventure. I have been away from hotels for almost a decade and Centara West Bay Hotel & Residences Doha is the perfect place to start another decade-long journey in hospitality to make memories and friendship. In my experience hotels and aviation are very similar in terms of hospitality, passion and service.
Who has been the biggest influence on your culinary career?
All of my mentors and the amazing chefs I have worked with for the last 16 years. Everyone has had a big influence on me. There are endless names, too many to count.
You’ve recently launched a new menu at Dalchini. Please talk us through the process of how a new menu is created.
Dalchini is a hidden gem which I recommend everyone to try if Indian cuisine makes you curious. It takes the most innovative and progressive approach to one of the oldest cuisines in the world. Dalchini Social Brunch is the best; we have to surprise you! New menus are created by listening to your guests – it’s as simple as that.
What is your favourite item on the new menu and why?
Patta Chaat – we’ve taken the most humble street food and converted it into a theatrical display of the most progressive Indian cuisine. It consists of dehydrated kale leaves served on chickpeas with tamarind and mint. It’s a flavourful starter prepared live next to your table with NO2 for effect. Do not miss this experience when you next visit Dalchini for Brunch. ✤