Chef Rajesh Raina is the Head, F&B (Kitchen) Operations at Raise The Bar, a rooftop restro-bar in Clarens Hotel, Gurugram. He handles kitchen operations, including menu planning, portion standardisation, food preparation and presentation, and also manages the inventory, kitchen staff, equipment and quality as per the health, hygiene and safety regulations.
He also ensures customer satisfaction by following quality norms and procedures and maintains MIS for sales, costs and inventory control. Apart from the complete kitchen operations, Rajesh also plays a key role in workforce management.
Rajesh is a corporate chef with an experience of over 20 years in F&B operations and management across various cuisines.
Rajesh has been awarded a bronze medal in the international culinary contest organised by the Indian Culinary Federation in New Delhi. He has also received a certificate for HACCP (International Hygiene System).
In a candid conversation, he reveals more about his work and himself:
What is your philosophy on food?
Food can bring delight to you even in the toughest of situations. Food is not just the basic necessity of life, but it is something to enjoy, cherish and praise. Nature has gifted humans with creativity and the brilliance over culinary, achieved since the inception of civilisations, which has made the global palate awe-inspiring and amazingly delectable. It is not just about the taste, but the aroma and the presentation of food also create magic.
What is your favourite cuisine?
Although I have travelled extensively and presented my culinary skills in restaurants across the world, Mediterranean, Italian and Arabic cuisine have always been my favorite.
Who is your idol?
Chef Devendra Kumar – Director Kitchen Le Meridian, Delhi — is my idol.
What is your favourite spice?
Whatever I cook, the last hint of Mexican paprika makes my dish complete.
What is your hot-selling dish?
Fried chicken popsicles —chicken mince coated with panko crumb and served crispy with garlic mayo are perfect for a casual evening with friends and family.
Lessons from the kitchen?
The three lessons that I can never forget are – Clean as you go, first in first out, and hands.
How do you de-stress?
Cooking is the perfect stress buster for me. My passion and the first love always keeps me happy and alive.
Cooking is my true passion in life. I thrive on innovating new dishes and fusion cuisine in my kitchen.
Last meal on earth, what would you choose?
Grilled chicken marinated with mustard dip, fresh greens and focaccia garlic bread.