"The Game of Chocolates is Going to Get Darker in India"

From being a chef for the most prestigious ocean liner company Cunard and helming the largest kitchen at sea, he has made his dream and life have the best of the best. Travelling to the most exotic places, working with 37 nationalities and cooking for Queen Elizabeth, Nelson Mandela, Rod Stewart has made me open my mind and think out of the box.

“I have kind of developed a style of my own cooking where produce is king. Global influences, local ingredients and modern techniques are the trinity of my cuisines”, said Celebrity Chef & Author, Vicky Ratnani.

In conversation with Restaurant India, Celebrity Chef Vicky Ratnani, shares about his travel escapades and what’s the next big thing in this to do list.

From a renowned Chef to a renowned author, how has been your journey so far?

The journey has been amazing. I think we have just started to take the big steps. The thing about F&B is that, either you have the passion for it, or you must be crazy. This industry is all about passion, focus and dedication. The industry has gone leaps and bounds where people have the choice to visit a 5 Star Restaurant, a casual dining space or a Multi Cuisine family restaurant. There is so much happening in the industry and you have to keep up with the peace to survive. I don’t call people competitors but contributors, because at the end of the day, we are in the making the people happy business.

What are the current projects in your bag?

I work as the Culinary Director for GIPL. The company owns Pizza Express in India; we are bringing down Ministry of Crab from Sri Lanka, also partnering with a health food startup called the Hello Green. Health is the New Trend. I also consult on the menus from Insignia lounges in INOX cinemas.

What are the chocolate trends to look out for in the coming future?

Everything is becoming artisanal, handmade, and organic with every brand adopting the ‘Farm to Table’ concept. At the end of the day, you are what you eat. So, the game of the chocolate is going up in the country. I think Chocolate is only going to get darker.

You were the pioneer in bringing international ingredients to India. What were the challenges then and how did you still manage to rule with this concept?

About 6 years ago, when I started, people used to keep telling me not to use such foreign ingredients in my dish. I knew, one day, the market is going to be flooded with a variety of international & gourmet cuisines. So, I have given people the recipes 6 years ago which can be cooked even now.

Today, there are already many international brands and foreign cuisines here, but I think we’ll see a lot more. People are willing to spend more money on good food and organic products.

What’s new for Vicky Ratnani in 2019?

Travelling has always been my passion is travel. I have a property called, Vicky- The Gastronaut. Right in the early 2020’s, it’s going to be R&D for me where I am trying to envision the kind of food that I am going to cook for the next 10 years.

I think that farm-to-table will increase too. There are a number of farms and agri-businesses that are working on the logistics to improve the supply chain between farm and restaurant. As consumer knowledge increases, a lot more people are opting for more organic products.

When so much travel & food is involved, what sort of palate is your favourite in India?

When you cook fancy, you eat simple. I have had all kinds of cuisine but my love for Sindhi curry is irreplaceable. South Indian & Coastal foods are also my favourites.

What do you think about the Future of Chocolate Business in India?

Culturally and Culinary makes us one of the advanced races in the world. In every ingredient, we are upping the game and chocolate is definitely one of them. Artisanal chocolates are going to come across really well in the future.

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