He could not control his curiosity; he could smell the delicious aroma of caramelizing onions wafting from the copper vessel that was fired up on the stove. He stood upon a chair in the kitchen and watched as his mother evoked the magic of food……

Life has a way of leaning towards the most ironic situations; some call it destiny, others co-incidence, and some say luck.

One can never tell what it is in his case. Isolated from the exotic world of food and sticking to a strong diet regime for a few years thanks to fate’s weird sense of humor, he was already attracted to the notes of ‘flavors and aromas’.

Although the sanitary smells of the hospital corridors still haunt him, the only child of two great connoisseurs of food was glazed in love, tossed in care and seasoned with culture by his parents whom he considers as “Master Chefs”.   And so as the years rolled, his soul was gently guided into the world of culinary wonders by his mother’s innovations in the kitchen.

It was just a matter of time, but he was soon scaling the academic ladder with a smooth grace, ultimately reaching the pinnacle when he entered India’s best Hospitality College in Mumbai. His three years in the Bachelors program were interspersed with his plans and schemes, tackling campus politics and networking. But the highlights of these years were the training in one of the World’s greatest hotels in Dubai and that of ITC Grand Maratha in Mumbai.

Then in 2007, he was selected to a team to manage the Emirates Dubai airshow, 2007 and worked for the flight catering company during the airshow period.

After that he was to be served opportunities not in spoonfuls but in dollops.

He went on to train rigorously for the Japanese and Norwegian theme dinners in the college, participated in India’s first annual sushi competition and many others and with the help of five highly dedicated and close friends he successfully established a research called “Flavoromatic gastronomy-a metamorphosis from glutton to gourmet” which is ranked as the top researches in twenty-four Indian Hospitality Management Institutions across India.

Just when everyone thought it couldn’t get better for him, he walked into the Culinary Institute of America(CIA) to the pride and surprise of his entire family. It was like his dreams were unraveling themselves right before him; there he was, in the premium institution of culinary arts in New York.

He then went on to represent CIA as a culinary innovator for PMA (Produce Marketers Association) to California and as a culinary ambassador for Epicurean in Boston. It was when he was training under Chef Floyd Cardoz of Tabla in New York that his passion was fired on all burners and eventually led him to have a much stronger and professional outlook for the industry as whole.

Ambition boosted with passion and luck played their shot again, and he was chosen to assist James Kent and Tom Allan of Eleven Madison Park under Chef Daniel Humm, the Bocuse d’Or (Chef Olympics) USA competitors. Overwhelmed when Kent and Allan won the Bocuse, USA, he added another goal-to-be-achieved in his diary of progress.

At this moment perhaps, the contrast between his past and present is the most prominent; yet there is a vague similarity between the two. That Café Coffee Day loving young teenager who had served experimental burgers and pastas and some unforgettable dinner experiences to his little cousins, families and friends and this striking young professional of an international standard who favors the Caramel latte at Starbucks. Two completely contrasting stages of the same person for whom food is life and seasoning is much more than just salt.

He has come a long way from that child peeping over his mother’s arm at the curiosities of the kitchen, and he sure has a long long way to go.

— As written by Maithili Desai (



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  1. wow Viraj,

    never knew about this blog of yours, your intro by maithili is just mind blowing, and nostalgic too …….

    you have a great space here , will regularly visit it from now onwards……

    Congrats and all the best for all your future ventures……….

    • Thank you! you have a wonderful blog too! i had not know u had one…am gona promote yours…and follow it…:) be in touch! post ur blog on….and visit a lot of meets in india…specially Mumbai….u will love it.

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