Chef Ravneet Singh Manchanda, Executive Chef, Hilton Bahrain, on early inspiration and the importance of good training.
When and how did you first know you wanted to be a chef?
It all started in my mum’s kitchen, who herself is an excellent cook. And growing up in the family, we always had lots of guest at our place. I used to help my mum bake cakes, make pasta from scratch – after high school, I enrolled in a culinary university where the passion for cooking became stronger. From then, there was no turning back.
Throughout your senior career, you have put a strong emphasis on training and staff motivation. Is this something you have carried with you into your position with the new Hilton and why is it so important?
I strongly believe in training and growing the team; being a chef, it becomes all the more important as recipes need to be followed to keep the consistency. At Hilton, all our team members go through vigorous training on menus and dishes where each one is taught from the basics. In the kitchen there are no shortcuts, to master your technique there is only one way, to do it again and again and that is what training is all about.
What have been the main challenges you have faced in the pre-opening period and how have you addressed these?
Pre-openings of hotels are a very interesting time for any chef during their career, the advantage is that you are given an empty canvas and you get to design the whole painting. At the Hilton Bahrain, this phase started during Covid times, so getting the right talents was the biggest challenge as everything used to take a lot of time but we had time on our side, so we could overcome this. Looking back, there were so many rush times where deadlines had to be met and things had to be delivered, but it all went well.
With several outlets to oversee, it may be a difficult question but what is your favourite type of cuisine and your own signature dish?
As a chef, I have been trained in multicuisine environments but, if I had to pick one, that would be more the style of European cuisine. My Signature dishes that we have on our menu are first, a vegan dish from our Lamar Café – Roasted Beetroot Salad with candied hazelnut, pickled dates and cashew nut cream. The second one is from Origin Kitchen and Culture – Harissa Grilled Seabass which has pepper tomato coulis, za’atar potato and tahini sauce. ✤