Subject to the ever-present brain drain scenario across the country, we at Dehra Talkies have come across several city-based professional chefs who had quit their culinary careers in big places and eventually returned to Dehradun to work in their hometown. Having studied in renowned culinary institutions, these aforementioned chefs have worked with many huge brands at the national as well as global level, before coming back to their roots and contributing to boosting the gourmet culture of the state.
Chef Tanuj Nayyar
Chef Tanuj Nayyar began with his culinary journey at the Institute of Hotel Management, Nagpur back in the year 1995. After passing out, he worked with several 5-star brands and with several ocean liner companies. During his career, Tanuj has worked with 37 nationalities and has cooked for famous personalities such as Queen Elizabeth, Nelson Mandela, Rod Stewart, among others. After working extensively at the national as well as international level, Tanuj finally moved back to his hometown and since then is working as an Executive Chef, leading the culinary brigade at Jaypee Residency Manor in Mussoorie.
“My all-time passion and vision have been to explore various places in Uttarakhand and the cuisine which hasn’t been explored yet. I love traveling to various farms and villages, doing tie-ups with the villagers & farmers of Uttarakhand, and buying their produce for creating something extraordinary. This idea of supporting the farmers of Uttarakhand and using their fresh produce in the recipes is what makes my culinary journey more exciting”, says Tanuj.
Chef Keshav Chawla
Keshav Chawla did his bachelor’s in Hotel Management from Hyderabad. Post that, he worked with several big brands in India as well as abroad. Taking his passion for food a few notches up, Keshav pursued Masters in Culinary Arts from the Culinary Academy of India Hyderabad, thus belonging to India’s first batch to ever pursue such a course. His forte in cooking is continental and baking.
Keshav says, “After working for so many years in different parts of India as well as abroad, I got this feeling of coming back to my hometown and starting something of my own. Being a Punjabi, I’m a foodie first and then a chef. In all these years, I very well learned what a true food lover wants, and to have that creative freedom, I shifted back to Doon and opened my own catering business by the name Crave More. I feel that Dehradun has a large scope for different types of cuisines which are still unexplored. I would love to add that to promote Uttarakhandi cuisine, I also bake pizza bases made of Mandua flour and they are much loved by foodies.”
Chef Sidakpreet Singh
Chef Sidakpreet did his graduation from IHM Pusa, New Delhi in the year 2009 and has worked with several hotels, restaurants, and catering firms in India and Asia. He is trained in Progressive Indian Cuisine and Live Kitchen Banqueting. After gaining experience of 11 years in his field, Sidakpreet shifted to Dehradun 3 years ago and started with his restaurant and catering business.
Sidakpreet says, “Despite studying and working out for many years, I’ve always had a dream of coming back to my hometown and starting something of my own. Coming from a Punjabi family, I was introduced to cooking at a very young age and my mother and grandmother have been a constant inspiration ever since; I give them credit for making me take up culinary as my career. After shifting to Doon in 2017 and doing proper market research, I came up with my own restaurant The Garage, and was the first one to introduce modern Indian cuisine to the city. I keep on experimenting with different foods and have introduced several of my own creations which are much appreciated by the food lovers of town. Currently, during the COVID pandemic, we have halted the dining facility and are operating as a cloud kitchen. Lastly, I would like to mention a quote by which I lead my life: If you have a dream, you have a responsibility to yourself to make it come true, because if you don’t, you’ll just remain a Dreamer.”
Chef Namanraj Singh Jolly
Chef Namanraj is a full-time pastry chef based in Dehradun and running his own bakery since 2014. He attended the Institute of Hotel Management, Aurangabad as well as the University of Huddersfield, United Kingdom to pursue his career in Culinary Arts. To further specialize in Baking & Pastry, Naman joined the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts Institute in Sydney and pursued Diplôme de Pâtisserie (Baking and Pastry Specialization). Since then, he has worked with many Celebrity Chefs of various nationalities part-time and full time.
During his culinary career, Naman has worked with several 5-star brands in New Delhi and Mumbai. He has also worked with Adriano Zumbo Patissier, a celebrity pastry chef in Australia known for Macarons and Patisserie products, as well as with a flight catering bakery and patisserie company in Qantas Airways of Australia.
After returning to India in October 2014 and putting all his exposure and skills into place, Naman started his own bakery in town and has been working as a full-time pastry chef since then. He says, “My family has been into baking since after partition. Belonging to a family of the oldest bakers in town, I always wanted to carry this legacy forward but in a more enhanced manner. After completing my Diplôme de Pâtisserie from Australia and working for big brands, I just packed my bags and returned to Dehradun to start my own brand Bake Masters. I introduced many dishes on the menu which I learned during my culinary journey in Australia and the same have garnered popularity amongst the food lovers of the city.”
Chef Alok Gulati
Being the youngest chef on our list, Alok did his graduation from the Institute of Hotel Management, Aurangabad. He has worked in 5-star properties in Aurangabad and Jaipur, before moving to his hometown in 2019. His forte in the culinary field is health and nutrition and introduced his own brand in the city serving healthy food.
“During my job in a 5-star in Jaipur, I realized that my passion got streamlined to healthy and nutrition cooking. Post this, I pursued several courses in sports & fitness, as well as in clinical nutrition. Since my passion was into healthy cooking and conventional hotels are not that much into this trend, I decided to move to Doon and set up my own brand.
After coming back to Dehradun, I wanted to be a trendsetter for healthy eating, keeping taste, and nutrition into consideration. I conducted market analysis and found out that there were no health outlets that were serving authentic recipes and that too at affordable rates. Seeing this, I opened my own brand Chef De Nutrition, which serves authentic healthy recipes, keeping taste, quality, and nutrition all in priority. This has been the best decision that I’ve ever made and slowly and eventually, I plan on taking this forte of mine on to the next level.”