RAMASWAMY SELVARAJU

Having been awarded as the ‘Best Chef in India’, Chef Selvaraju possesses diverse experiences in culinary sciences from across the globe & is currently heading the kitchens at Vivanta by Taj, MG Road, Bangalore.

As a child, Chef Selvaraju grew up with comfort soul food that his grandmother & mother prepared. He had always been disposed towards cooking. While at the juncture of opting for higher studies, he was at crossroads with a tough choice of choosing Life Sciences or Culinary Sciences. As good fortunes had it, he intuitively chose to pursue culinary at the IIHM, Chennai despite the criticism faced by his folks.

Once he began his culinary schooling, his only dream was to enter the Taj Group of Hotels. To his delight, the Tajwas one of the recruiters of the young chefs of the institute and after an intensive food trial that was judged by 14 members, he was selected. Thus, his journey with the Taj began. Having worked under a few renowned chefs such as Chef Cyrus Evalia while training, he started understanding all about the kitchen and food. When he was sent to the Culinary Institute of America, his interaction and work with some of the great chefs enhanced his culinary skills.

Chef Selvaraju proudly endorses working at Taj as a remarkable experience. Having been with them for over 29 years, he’s travelled across and worked in many of their properties at India, Oman, Dubai, Sri Lanka, and Maldives; and worked with chefs from world over from America to Germany, Lebanon, Morocco and other European countries.

At the age of 23, he was probably amongst the very few chefs in the world to adorn the title of an Executive Chef of a star hotel. Having widely worked across various cuisines, he has mastered Modern European, Mediterranean and Indian. He was presented with an opportunity to head one of the finest Modern European restaurants our country has, Graze.

Under Chef Selvaraju’s leadership, Graze saw sous vide cooking being introduced arguably for the first time in India. This technique of cooking where food is cooked in vacuum, retains the nutrients, juices and natural flavours. He believes in serving the food uncomplicated and straightforward. His say on mastering a cuisine that is not of one’s native is “When we learn a cuisine, it’s important to understand the region it hails from, the culinary patterns practiced and the primary ingredients that influence the flavors. On learning & practicing this over time, you can master it seamlessly.”

Graze has a collation of the finest 46 dishes on the menu. They do give the menu a makeover every four to six months primarily influenced by the seasons. You could find a winter menu and a summer menu. This frequent change attributes to about 30 to 40 % of the menu. These new additions are inspired by recent trends, learning, and travels. Chef Selvaraju believes innovation is the key to your brand recall. From experimenting with different types of rice to using black garlic, edible flowers, sauces to exercising new cooking techniques, the Graze kitchen ensures they offer a welcome change to their guests each time. He also adds how customers are more knowledgeable and well informed on various cuisines. This directs their choices and preferences. He admits many guests prefer probiotic milk, healthy juices, & gluten free food. They also adapt slow cooking to ensure the nutrient values of the food are intact. At Graze, they not only ensure the ingredients requested for in a dish is efficiently levered,but also the dish is simple, wholesome and tasty.

Guest relationship plays a vital role in a chef’s life according to Chef Selvaraju. They take personal care to understand the requirements of each guest to serve up a perfect dish. Graze boasts many aficionados who come back for their favorite food, and one such is the popular Seafood Cappuccino.

For the captivating personality that Chef Selvaraju has, he loves sharing his knowledge. A known name in the media, you can often listen to him on radio sharing a few culinary secrets.

A true leader by heart, he works towards creating more leaders. His strong teams of 80 chefs witness him in action each day and learn from this master chef. He keeps his team motivated and encourages constant innovation by introducing various in-house culinary contests. He remarks, “A winning chef is the one who ably leads and creates more leaders.” He also inspirits young aspiring chefs by involving in various college culinary fests to judge, and share his worthy knowledge. His involvement and work towards the needy in the society is commendable and makes him a socially responsible person; he’s trained a young boy who hails from a less fortunate background to aid him in making his dream of becoming a chef come true.

Awards and accolades are just a couple of ways to appreciate and honour the skills of Chef Selvaraju, and they’re not new to him. He’s bagged the Black Box Culinary Competition Awards Australia for thrice now, and most rightly he was honored the ‘Best Chef’ by the Ministry of Tourism that was awarded by the President of India.

A highly self-motivated person, he competes with himself each time to perform better each day. A disciplinarian by nature, Chef Selvarju is an early riser. His day begins at 5.30 a.m., and he admits ‘My day is never done without a visit to the gym & a good swim.” A spirited and zealous personality, Chef Selvaraju wakes up each day to take on new culinary challenges in his kitchen, mentor the next–gen chefs and create happier memories for his guests.

Interesting facts

  • During the time when the Tsunami hit Sri Lanka, the Taj at Colombo had set up a beautiful beach side buffet that was washed off. But in no time, Chef Selvaraju’s valiant team dished up enough food for the 300 people present there even during the harrowing times.
  • Chef Selvaraju has cooked for many celebrities & names to reckon with from the current Prime MininsterHon.NarendraModi to Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, Sachin Tendulkar, AmitabhBachchan to Bill Clinton, Kofi Annan and our very own Dr. Devi Shetty from Bangalore.
  • Last Supper Meal - Simple gharkakhana – dal chawal

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