Chef Vaibhav Bhargava, who hails from Delhi, has been cooking for over 16 years now. He first stepped into the kitchen while pursuing a Hotel Management degree from the IHM (Institute of Hotel Management), Chandigarh. At IHM, he worked in live kitchens and explored his culinary skills further. After pursuing the course, Chef Vaibhav completed his training at the coveted Noma in Denmark, which holds 2 Michelin stars and is regarded as one of the world’s finest restaurants. He later worked at the Hyatt Regency in Delhi, Olive Bar & Kitchen and ITC MAURYA and experimented with all kinds of dishes, while mastering the art of cooking Asian cuisine. In a candid chat with the TravelRasoi team and while treating us to delightful drinks such as “Abra ka Dabra” and “Puff Puff Bong”, Chef Vaibhav shared more about his experiences as a chef and plans for future.
Tell us more about your current profile?
At present, I am working as the Corporate Chef at the Molecule Air and Bar restaurant in Gurugram. Here, I primarily focus on designing the menu as per the customer’s demands. We also do a lot of fusion food out here. For instance, Paneer Butter Masala has been stuffed with Italian stuffing and turned into Ravioli style starter. We also offer starters like Mexican tostadas. Our signature dishes include Chicken Tikka Masala with Makhni sauce. Here, we also prepare a variety of starters such as Dimsums, Idli on Fire, Dip with Pizza, Edible Lava Coal etc. Basically, we offer a mix of Indian and Asian food to our customers at the Molecule.
How different has your journey been from ITC Sheraton to Molecule?
ITC Sheraton is a big hotel that caters to different customer verticals. Things were more organized over there. My experience at the Molecule Air and Bar Restaurant has been completely different. Here, our thought process is completely different and we’re not competing out here. Every unit within the Molecule caters to a different set of customers and we’re all trying to serve the best food to our clients. I have a team of 20-25 people and all of them are young and have bright ideas to share.
How do you describe your journey so far?
It’s been over 16 years now and I feel there’s always a learning involved. I have been fortunate enough to work with some of the finest chefs in the world. I have always worked with a young and enthusiastic team, which provided me plenty of opportunities to be creative as well as imaginative while cooking. I have also started travelling a lot from the past couple of years, which has given me the right kind of exposure and helped me in learning more about the food preparation styles that are followed around the world.
One advice you would give to aspiring chefs?
It is not easy and it is not all glamour. It’s a tough job and you have to work hard as there’s no shortcut.
Do you cook for your family?
Yes, sometimes I do but we mostly prefer to go out and enjoy food together. I love cooking for my son. I made him an Eggzza once and he was thrilled to have it. It was nothing but a fusion style Omelette Pizza that I prepared for my son and he liked my innovation.
What is your favourite food?
I like ghar ka khana. I am very fond of Daal Chawal, Bhindi, Arhar ki daal, Rajma Chawal.
- What do you do during your free time?
I love to travel, socialize and meet people. There are times when I just want to pick up my car and go for a long drive somewhere in the hills. I also love to engage in workouts and play badminton during my freetime.
- Where would you like to see yourself in the next 5 years?
I would like to set up my own restaurant in the next five years. I also look forward to sharing my experience and knowledge with students in catering colleges. Apart from this, I would also want to give back to the community and work with NGOs.
- What do you do during your free time?
A quick meal to start your day with energy packed ingredients in to it
This item breaks the boundaries of guilt free snacking! The ideal recipe to sneak in nutrition to your stubborn family members who refuse that healthy can be tasty. Not only does this recipe boost nutrition it adds a crunchiness to bhel that our taste buds have never experienced before!
60gm Quinoa Pops — Chilli Lime
45 gm puffed rice
25gm tamarind chutney
25gm coriander chutney
20gm sweet curd
20gm chopped onion
20gm chopped tomato
5gm green chili chopped
15gm garlic chili chutney
15gm mustard oil (optional)
15gm cubed or shredded coconut
15gm cubed boiled potatoes (small 1 cm cubes)
15gm. cubed raw mango
15gm coriander for garnish
1 quinoa cracker
Pour in the puffed rice and quinoa pops in the bowl first.
Mix in all the other ingredients and carefully mix it with a spoon.
Depending on your palate you can adjust the sweetness with the tamarind chutney and spiciness with the garlic chili chutney.
Add coriander for garnish and quinoa bhel is ready to be served.
It is recommended to consumer this within 15 mins of making it otherwise the puffed rice and quinoa pops will absorb the chutney and the crunch and texture will be lost.