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DEEPAK RAWAT, F&B DIRECTOR, ROSEATE HOUSE AND RESORT

Jasmeen Dugal  (click here to know more about this blogger)

He's young, creative and hot property in the culinary world. Harnessing his culinary passion to an astute vision, the young man behind the success of world renowned Japanese restaurant Megu, in India, is now Director F&B of Roseate House And Resort. In conversation with him.

 

You are India's most successful restaurateurs today... having spearheaded fine dining restaurant MEGU and now​ Director F&B of Roseate Hotels And Resorts. Where did your culinary journey​ begin?

 

My journey began when I was ten years old and had asked my father 'what is that place' and he replied 'that is a hotel — Hyatt'. I replied 'I will go there'. I wish, I had asked for something else because Hyatt Regency was the first hotel I stepped in through the staff entrance, for Industrial Training. I always wanted to be a chef and keeping that in mind I started my journey by filling up a form of Hotel Management and entering Dr. Ambedkar Institute of Hotel Management, Pusa. After studying for three years I started hunting for a job as a commis in kitchens however, I was not destined to be a chef and hence relaunched my career as a mixologist in Dublin, ITC Maurya Sheraton. As a young professional I wanted to earn big bucks and after a year and six months experience I joined Costa Cruise Liners as a mixologist. That was one of the most beautiful amazing experiences in my career… where I saw a different world, global trends and techniques and my love for languages developed. However, soon, I realized that this is not my cup of tea and I should move back to my country and learn how to open, run and operate restaurants.

 

Then I got an opportunity to work at Set'z and learnt how to operate a seven kitchens' multi-cuisine restaurant. I've always loved the flair, grace, professionalism and charm of hotels, which took me to Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi to work at Wasabi. Japanese cuisine was new to me and challenging. Wasabi, during that time, was the best Japanese restaurant in India —still is —and I learnt a lot with the help of my mentors and guests who were well travelled and experienced. I'm thankful to everyone at Taj who were and are still a part of my journey. I only worked for a year at Taj because soon MEGU entered Delhi at The Leela Palace, and this was the first time in my career where I got the opportunity to open an International, world renowned restaurant. The toughest part was that I had to compete with Wasabi — one of the finest restaurants that taught Delhi to enjoy Japanese cuisine. I left The Leela Palace in 2015 after running MEGU successfully for four years and winning several awards including Best Japanese in India.

 

My latest opportunity was to open Roseate House as Head, F&B. The hotel is a class apart and ahead of its time. The architecture is eye-catching; when I first saw the renderings of the hotel, its food and beverage outlets, I said to myself 'this is what I wanted'. Planning, organising and implementing processes on your own is a different feeling altogether, where you learn more and do more; and do everything by yourself. This was and still is challenging. And that's what I love because there is still so much to do and achieve. Last three years have been fruitful. Roseate Hotels And Resorts has a good name in the national and global industry. And now I have been given the responsibility of taking care of all the F&B divisions of Roseate Hotels And Resorts; current and upcoming.

 

What do you find most challenging as a restaurateur? Conversely- what do you love most about it?​

 

I am in an industry where we deal with human beings, full of emotions, which is the most challenging task. We have to make sure that each and every one coming to us for a simple meal, or for any occasion, should go back with a majestic experience which only comes with a personalised touch that leaves the guest with memories to take back home and speak about us to his friends, family and other industry stakeholders. On the other hand, I have colleagues with whom I work with every day and spend more time with than at home with family. I have to create an experience for them by nurturing their talent and taking care of their daily challenges.

 

3You're on the young end of people in your position. Did that make it harder?

 

Well, there was a time when it was hard especially when I used to go for business meetings, industry forums and in my hotel too where I met people at the same level but with more experience than me. However gradually they began accepting me and this helped me gain more confidence and passion to achieve more.

 

S​hare your core focus when you build a new property, in this case the new restaurant Kheer at Roseate House.

 

I always believe in doing what others don't do. It's very important to understand the need gap and fill it. You have to be unique, different and simple, but with class. To become unique and different, it is not necessary to be complex; instead, be practical and easy to understand; that's how you get acceptance and people around absorb you easily. People who have experienced 'Kheer' will definitely know what I'm talking about!

 

Are you thinking of the reviewers when you are creating the concept of a new restaurant?

 

One shouldn't be creating a concept on the basis of what reviews one would get but what our guests are looking for!

 

How do your restaurants and bars​ stay fresh and relevant in ever-changing culinary world?

 

We always believe in doing something new. We change our menus, and do food and bar fests according to the season, trends and demand, which we have always been appreciated for. We also work on bespoke concepts which is what our patrons love and come back to us each time. They can reach us 24X7 because of the relationship we develop. In fact, I love discerning diners; they always keep you on your toes. This actually makes the job challenging — you have to keep doing something new and different. In today's world if you are innovative you are alive else you are as good as a body without a heartbeat i.e. like  a restaurant or bar without people!!

 

How do you curate the overall culinary experience?​

 

The culinary experience has come out of the kitchen nowadays; it does not start and end on the table. It starts with a reservation call or at the reception followed by smooth table assistance and assisting the guest gracefully with his or her orders. Personalisation is important. Minor details matter in creating a culinary experience. We at Roseate Hotels And Resorts believe in making each day special for each guest and it begins at receiving the guest at the porch. A guest who comes to celebrate a special occasion in any of our outlets is received by me at the lobby with a bouquet of flowers, while the guest experience manager takes care of the arti and tikka. Then the guest is escorted to the restaurant and given a welcome drink. This all is well coordinated and we take help from their family members to make the moments spent with us larger than life, with of course, food and service playing a starring role. Small details like a cake with their childhood picture, first date photograph, a favorite drink they used to like when in school, their favorite vegetables or preparation [which we do out of the menu] are a few examples of how we create a culinary experience. Trust me, when we see the expression of surprise on their faces and listen to words of appreciation, that is when we feel — MISSON ACCOMPLISHED.

 

Do you believe that part of creating a successful luxury restaurant is constant contact with clients? Is social media the route or a more personal touch considering it comes under the aegis of 'luxury'?

 

'Out of sight' is 'out of mind'. Constant contact and personal relations is what's required. We mat be busy in our lives and surrounded by many people but we do remember those who are in touch regularly. I always keep in touch with my clients, exchange information about crazy stuff in Food and Beverage, and update them whenever we do something new in our outlets. Social media is a route to reach out to masses and to be visible but in the end it's about relationships.

 

You've travelled extensively. What sets the Indian restaurant scene apart from world food capitals?​

 

Indian cuisine is all about flavors and techniques. We are popular for our spices and 'curries'. There are restaurants overseas that have begun using Indian spices in their cuisine. In every corner of the world you will find an Indian restaurant. We have so many states and each has its own specialty and cooking style. I have many friends form different parts of the world and whenever they come and visit me they only eat Indian food and it becomes a task for me to find the best places for them!!

 

We have noticed that one of the topmost culinary trends overseas is restaurants using mobile apps for guests to pre-order meals to tablets that let them pay table-side. Is this something you would consider?

 

It is a fantastic application which saves time of the guest and the restaurant and makes life easy for the team but I won't consider it because food is a delicate perishable product. It deteriorates with each minute. Ordering food from the application doesn't guarantee food reaching the guests or vice versa. One or the other might be delayed.

 

Moving forward... what are your goals in this business?​

 

I only keep one goal — doing something new, challenging and giving my best each time. Whatever I will do, I will do in Food and Beverage because that is what I am passionate about!!
 

Roseate House And Resort
Deepak Rawat, Director F&B of Roseate House And Resort
 
24-MAY-2018
 
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