Signature Dish(es) :-Banana Wrap Grilled Fish
Awards & Recognitions :- Won the gold medal for Indian Hot Food during Taj Olympics & Tata Business excellence award for achieving operational excellence.
Favourite Restaurant(s) :-Republic Of Noodles
Favourite Dessert(s) :-Duet of Halwa- Gajar and Beet root
Favourite Drink(s) :-Spiced Hot Red Wine / Tomato Jaljeera and Poodina Nimbu Pani
What inspired you to become a chef?
Cooking for me is not just an art but a tactile way to express myself. Although there are so many different aspects of cooking but each aspect is prone to its own sets of challenges which is exactly what excites me. Food has changed its meaning for me over the years; just like seasons, it has been continuously changing and evolving in so many ways. Food, and the industry itself, made me a different person – there are a lot of growing pains in this industry, and it does take a toll on you. This is a perfect career option for people who are go-getters, who want to create something exquisite and keep creating – recreating every day, and who want to share their love of food with family and friends or even a stranger that they may meet only once in a lifetime. These are the aspects that attracted me to this profession and inspired me to become a chef.
What is the one cuisine that you are most comfortable cooking? Enjoy the most?
Being a North Indian, I have an affinity for North Indian cuisines like Butter Chicken, Dal Makhani, Sarson ka Saag, etc. I am specialized in North Indian food that I learnt to prepare during my tenure at “HAVELI Restaurant now Varq” at The Taj Mahal Hotel Delhi. Later on, I was also heading the same kitchen.
Indian food is very special to me as for it has nostalgic or sentimental value associated to it. Since my childhood, I have been watching and growing by it. Its high caloric nature, high carbohydrate level, or simple preparation intrigues me. The nostalgia may be specific to an individual, or it may apply to a specific culture/region and Indian food is something which carries lot of sentimental value from region to region and every individual is crazy about their food and so am I.
Is there a chef you admire the most? Who and why?
I admire skills of all Chef’s who have skilled themselves in this fine profession of culinary arts irrespective of designation – they might be a junior buddy chef or a senior but it is skills that matter to me. In a span of 33+ year of my career, I have had many mentors from whom I learnt and I admire all of them. Even today, I have a few chef’s working with me whom I admire because of their skills.
Late Md Shafiq (we used to call him Bade Mian) was always a guiding light for me. I learnt a lot from him and still remember him many times when I cook.
When are you happiest at work?
It make you feel happy to make other people happy and the best part is : you don’t have to say anything…When they take a bite of what you make for them, the smile on their faces says it all… When you cook from your heart and serve it with love, the food just tastes better and the magic it works…and that’s the happiest moment for me.
What have been the key drivers for the success of your journey?
True Passion, hard work and dedication.
Handling a big team and I take pride when any of my team member is appreciated.
ABOUT Rajeev Janveja Corporate Chef- Lemon Tree Hotels
Rajeev started his culinary journey with the Taj Group of Hotels after completing his studies from IHM Lucknow. Over the years, he has honed his skills at various Taj hotels across the country as well as with some other leading retail food businesses.
During his illustrious career, Rajeev has launched many quality restaurants like the Machan and Ricks at the Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi; ARENA, an international all day dining at the Taj Deccan and the iconic restaurant Thai Pavillion at Vivanta by Taj, Begumpet. He was closely involved in the renovation, planning and opening of the Indian restaurant Masala Bay at the Taj Land’s End, Mumbai.
As the Corporate Chef of the Lemon Tree group, Rajeev is directly responsible for all the 50 hotels that fall under the three brands- the Lemon Tree Premier, Lemon Tree Hotels and Red Fox brands. He is also accountable for the group’s upcoming hotel projects. Rajeev’s key mandate at Lemon Tree is to develop food concepts that cater to the mid-market business traveler who is looking for unique food experiences.
Rajeev has been a part of various high profile food promotions across the world and has participated in cookery sessions in countries like Switzerland, Singapore, Malaysia and France. He has also featured on cookery shows on Star TV and Sony TV.
Rajeev is also the proud recipient of the ‘TATA Award for Business Excellence” for achieving operational excellence at the all day dining restaurant Paradise Lounge, at Taj Deccan Hyderabad.
With a career spanning over 33 years, he brings with him a rich and relevant experience of launching exciting new restaurants and food concepts.
Rajeev is playing a key role in revamping LTH’s culinary strategy and will assist the group achieve the vision of being the dominant mid-market hotel chain in India by 2016.