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Chef Arun Sundararaj’s Culinary Prowess Across Borders

Chef Arun Sundararaj’s Culinary Prowess Across Borders
One of Chef Arun's favourite dishes, Panchdhan Khichda,
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With an undying passion for food and a knack for flavours, Chef Arun stands out for his perfection and his exemplary journey

Simrran Gill
December 02 , 2021
03 Min Read

Tell us a little about your culinary journey.

I grew up in the city of Mumbai and was fortunate to get the opportunity to travel extensively as a child, which provided a tremendous exposure to different cuisines and ingredients. My parents’ frequent travels gave me the opportunity to put my culinary skills to test at a very early stage and those formative years proved to be the building blocks of an exciting and successful journey in the culinary world. I began as a Trainee Chef at the iconic Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai where I acquired basic kitchen skills and learnt about the various cuisines offered by the IHCL. During my tenure at The Taj Mahal Palace, I also got the opportunity to work in London, Paris and Switzerland representing the hotel and introducing Indian cuisine at various events.

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Chef Arun Sundararaj

How have your childhood travels inspired your culinary skills and choices?

My travels, both domestic and international, have immensely inspired my culinary interest and prowess. I hail from a family of doctors and my parents spent many years overseas. In India, between Mumbai and Kerala, I was inspired by the various cooking techniques and ingredients. When I stayed overseas, and travelled with my parents, my curiosity and interest were further fuelled. I have always been adventurous as a traveller and looked forward to exploring the local and celebrated dishes of a particular location. The world of gastronomy is limitless and over the last few decades, it has further evolved in innumerable ways.

What are the things that you absolutely hate cooking, despite their popularity?

I truly do not hate cooking anything. But, personally, I do not have a taste for bitter gourd. But at home I still need to cook it for my sons.

Chef Arun's sons cherish the humble bitter gourd

What is that one ingredient that brings life to everything that you cook?

Passion…is the one single ingredient that has always brought life and flavours to my culinary art.

Any chefs you admire, and for what attributes?

I admire many chefs and they have brought value to my culinary journey. The learnings have been immense — whether it is techniques, temperament, learning through research, understanding guests and their discerning requirements, passion for high-quality ingredients, balancing flavours, innovation, motivation and team spirit, and managing challenging situations. There are so many great chefs around us - from those who I learnt from in catering college, those I met through my career of almost three decades across hotels globally, the cooks and chefs with vast experiences and passion in my team at Taj Mahal, New Delhi, from the heart and kitchens of my grandparents, parents and wife, these are all great. culinary artists and I have treasured learnings from each one.

Also Read: Megha Jhunjhunwala’s Journey from the West 

Chef Recommends: Chef's Favourite Picks From Taj Mahal's Restaurants

Panchdhan Khichda

With five different ancient grains from lost Gujarati and Rajasthani recipes, its name stems from the Sanskrit word kiccha, meaning a dish of rice and legumes. It is packed with vitamins and minerals.

Ocean Turns Purple

Inspired from sun rays cast over the Southern Ocean — with a purple hue making the marine life look white — there is white butter poached sea base, accompanied by the purple potato, served on a bed of wild mushrooms resembling the ocean floor.

One of Chef Arun Sundararaj's favourite dishes, Ocean Turns Purple


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