|Sanjeev Chetal, Sous Chef of Tiffin Room, Raffles Singapore|
Sanjeev Chetal, Sous Chef of Tiffin Room, Raffles Singapore
What do you do and how did you get into the industry?
I am currently the Sous Chef in-charge of Tiffin Room at Raffles Singapore. I have been in the industry for more than 18 years and joined Tiffin Room in 2010. Prior to Raffles Singapore, I was working with renowned hotels and restaurants, including The Claridges Hotel and Grand Hyatt in New Delhi.
Cooking is my passion and I have gained a lot of experience the past 18 years. My job keeps me intrigued as I learn new things every day. I am a collaborative worker and a team player as I believe in transmitting the passion and love I have for my job to the people that I work with.
What's the best/ worst part of your job?
The best part is that I do not consider it as a job, as my profession is my passion. Working at Tiffin Room and Raffles Singapore provides me a different working environment where I am exposed to cultural diversity to explore new horizons and be creative to experiment with new creations. To be able to make our guests happy and provide them with memorable experiences, which they may never forget, is without a doubt, one of the best parts of my job.
I believe that there is no worst part of my job, however, as my job requires my undivided attention, I wish I were able to spend more time with my family, who is living away from me.
What's your personal favourite meal at Tiffin Room?
I am a big fan of all the dishes on the menu at Tiffin Room. The Indian food at our restaurant is delicious, with a wide range of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, prepared using the freshest and best quality products. Many guests comment that at the Tiffin Room, it is the only place you can get authentic Indian cuisine. My favourite dish is the Dal Tadka with Chapatti. The flavour is natural and rustic that reminds me of home. It is a recipe from North India also known as “Dal fry”.
Tell us a story about one of the dishes you prepare...
We organised a Kebab and Biryani Festival at Tiffin Room and I wanted to try something different and innovative. This led to various experiments and trials using a variety of ingredients. My efforts were paid off when I created a savoury kebab, the Salmon Ki Galouti, which is made of salmon minced with onions, coriander and spices, and prepared in a live station. It melts in your mouth and the dish was welcomed and appreciated by our guests. We are bringing the popular Kebab and Biryani Festival back to Tiffin Room, that is available from now to 9 June 2014, and this dish can enjoyed during this period.
What's one of the most memorable things you've seen behind the scenes?
The most memorable moment was from my early years in the industry where a guest came up to me as he was mesmerised with the flavours the dish Dal Tadka brings. He hugged me and was beyond words as the dish reminded him of his mother and his childhood. That was a touching moment and a turning point in my career.
The perfect day off would be...
Family is the essence of my life. Hence, my perfect day would include spending quality time with my boys and my wife. It is a joy watching them grow up and I appreciate the joys of fatherhood.
A life in the day of a chef is...
...starts early and finishes late. It is always a constant look out for the food quality, preparation and presentation.
For a chef, it is very important to inspire the team and keep their spirits high, to be innovative and reach new horizons. Of course, there is some amount of paperwork involved but that is an integral part of the job. The most important aspect is to provide an exceptional experience for our guests and to ensure that there is a dedication and sincerity in our service.
“United we stand, divided we fall” - Service is all about working as a team and, being a true leader means being the support system and encouraging your team which is an essential aspect of this trade. A restaurant needs to work as one unit to give the best experience to our guests.
What do you do for fun?
It would be spending time with my family and friends. It releases stress and helps me to generate creative ideas. I love to travel so whenever I have time I love to explore new places.
Being with my loved ones also encourages me to learn new things and sometimes things that even surprise me - it leads to a clearer perspective in terms of my job, making me better at what I do.
During leisure time, I would also think about transmitting passion and love for this job to the people that I work with.
What's something you'd like guests to know about the cuisine prepared at Tiffin Room?
At Tiffin Room, we have a wholesome menu with carefully selected ingredients. We make most of our food from scratch and prepare all of our dishes fresh. We do not compromise on quality and presentation.
I am working consistently on my menus. I always like to taste the dishes and find room for improvement. I am truly passionate about cooking and will always experiment with new ideas. I love to offer a variety for my guests and provide them with an unforgettable experience.
How do you select your ingredients and why?
When I select the ingredients, I look for quality. There are many options available in the local and overseas markets. I am impartial to either as I go for the optimum product, whether home grown or foreign as I believe in the art of preparing food to perfection and trying out various options to provide excellent outcomes.
Our suppliers at Raffles Singapore are extremely knowledgeable of their products and the quality they offer enables us to provide our guests with the best dining experience and satisfaction. Another important point is that whatever ingredients we use have to look appealing and taste good.
What can guests look forward to in the upcoming months?
In the upcoming months, guests can look forward to new buffet menus with refreshed food items and new creations, as well as a few themed promotions. The Kebab and Biryani Festival promotion will be back from 29 August to 13 September 2014.