Sanjay Kak

Culinary Director
"Today the culinary and hospitality industry is almost similar to the IT industry in terms of the presence of talented professionals from India. India pioneers the global aspect of hospitality through events like the Young Chef Olympiad."

Currently : Culinary director, IIHM.

Previously : Executive chef, culinary development & controls, Speciality Restaurants Limited. Executive chef Taj Group of Hotels, Taj SATS Air Catering, where he developed menus for top airlines and retail brands.

Earliest memories of food : Crunchy haak (collard greens) and batte (cooked rice in Kashmiri) cooked by my grandmother on a daan (wood-fired stove) with dry red chilli as the only spice.

YCO 2015 VS YCO 2018
Over the years, our preparation for the com-petition has become much better... there is better outreach and camaraderie.

BIGGEST TAKEAWAY For me, interacting with culinary students and mentors from across the world has improved my out-look by many notches. It has also helped us to improve teaching strategies on the ground. For the mentor, I think the experience of coaching a stu-dent for an international competition of such stature was the highlight. It meant researching and formulating potent strat-egy and implementing it.

UNITED WORLD OF YOUNG CHEFS UWYC, held in January 2018, was a dream come true for any culinary professional. Over 50 nations cooking their national dish under one roof in our kitchens was a wonderful prospect (despite the sleepless nights!). Hundreds of ingredients had to be sourced, some un-known to us, some very rare in this part of the world. I was co-ordinating with over 20 suppliers till the morning of the event and when it unfolded at the Hyatt Regency lawns that evening, it was magical. It was a new high..