Chef Dibyendu Roy is the executive chef at Goa Marriott Resort & Spa. A smiling and cheerful personality makes every experience at Marriott more enjoyable. It’s his passion for food and feedback that always keeps him on his toes. As much as he enjoys trying new things, he personally would come to guests and ask for their feedback for improvement. Here is a small attempt to know Chef Dibyendu Roy and his culinary journey a little more, up and close.
Tell us something about your overall journey.
It has been 20 years I am with this industry. Here’s a little more about my culinary journey and my achievements.
The journey started in 2002 when I got selected for Hyatt regency Kolkata as a preopening team. This was my first real kitchen experience. In 2006 and 2007 I managed to get two promotions back to back. It was the happiest moment of my life but suddenly everything came to a halt, after a road accident. It was almost the end of my career but I never give up.
After six months, I was ready and back on my feet and fly off to the USA with a better opportunity with the Ritz-Carlton, Stomas. After two years of gaining experience from there, I got transferred to Ritz-Carlton Shanghai and the journey with Marriott continues.
Working with brands like Hyatt, Oberoi, Marriott, JW Marriott, and Ritz-Carlton abroad has always taught me to be a better leader. In my 20 years of journey, I have served diplomats and presidents like the first woman president of India, Mrs. Pratibha Patil to Barack Obama, and many more.
What is your cooking philosophy?
My philosophy behind the food I cook is the experience that I create for my client. The emotion that comes out on the first bite tells my success story
When did you decide to become a chef?
I always wanted to try something different which is interesting and fun as a career. I came from a Bengali foodie family where everyone is fond of good food. During my school days I used to watch roadside vendors chopping vegetables with such expertise, they had no degrees but their talent was such an inspiration.
During summer my mom used to make homegrown vegetable pickles which last for six months, tried those recipes but never got them right. It is during this process that my interest in different spices and food started growing and I ended up joining a culinary school.
What is your signature dish? What do people love about it
I have curated plenty of exclusive dishes so far and I am learning every day to make it better. Personally, I think roasting or pork crackling with burnt onion and apple chutney is one of my signature dishes that always stands out from other recipes of mine.The crackling skin of roast pork with soft and tender meat is always a hot cake.
What is your favourite and least favourite dish to prepare? Why?
In my career, I have learned the different styles and techniques of cooking from different chefs. I have created plenty of recipes in my career but the recipe which I am proud of is’ sesame and ginger crusted prawn”
Lots of fresh flavours come out on every bite of it.
Every dish I cook has a different story behind it, some are overpowering with flavours and some are mild in flavours. Each dish has its own character and they all are part of my success.
How do you describe your overall cooking?
I always prefer to use locally grown products. “GO LOCAL “is a big shoutout to our local farmers and vendors.
There was a time when our industry preferred to buy resources with additional cost from outside and was happy to call it “IMPORTED”. With time people have understood the health benefits associated with local and seasonal growth. We have so much produce in our neighbourhood which we are still unaware of, so as a part of my cooking style I like to make maximum use of local products.
Name the three kitchen ingredients you can’t do without?
Vegetables, fresh herbs and dry spices complement each other. It’s always a challenge to make a perfect recipe with one ingredient, one add colour and another add flavour to the dish. I always give priority to local elements like we have coconut, kokum, cashew nuts and jaggery in an everyday recipe. It is difficult to point out a particular favourite ingredient still I think star anise is one of them leading the chart.
Name two of your strengths and two of your weaknesses as a chef.
Passionate and creative. I love to learn new cooking techniques from any food artist. Rest I don’t know if it’s a weakness or yet another strength but I still try and learn from my down the line & never feel ashamed about the same. I still work long hours to get things right and accurate.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
Food is the biggest inspiration for me to be in this industry. I keep on learning from random chefs around, everyone has their own story to share on their plate. Their passion and dedication inspires me a lot.
What’s your personal favourite cuisine and dish?
After working for more than 9years in China, Asian food has become my comfort food because of its secret flavours in every bite. Fresh herbs, flavours always attract me more than spices. Lots of restaurants have so many great recipes which I am yet to try. My favourite restaurants are Din Tai Fung (Taiwanese restaurant) and Bellagio in Shanghai and I love their food.
How do you control the quality and consistency of dishes to ensure customer satisfaction?
I still prefer to cook with my team. This not only motivates my team but also consistency is checked. Every meal that goes out from the kitchen gets checked twice. I have a separate team on floors who always check on guest satisfaction after their meal and do necessary changes if required.
What as per you is Marriott’s biggest USP and how have you contributed to it?
Marriott is known for Innovation, creativity, and loyalty toward their guest. Being a leader of this organisation I follow the same. I believe we don’t just do events but we create memories for our clients.
What is the uniqueness of Goa you admire?
Goa is rich in culture, music, dance, and art which is always celebrated in every corner. The passion for baking that Goans possess is also very inspiring.
Which other hotels/restaurants in Goa do you personally like visiting for a foodie indulgence?
Goa is now becoming a food Hub and there are many great restaurants. Every restaurant has its uniqueness, and its specialties too. I wish them all success.
How do you keep going and keep your team motivated on low business days?
I believe that a successful team can make a successful restaurant. It is very important that we always appreciate their hard work and dedication. A simple thank you after a busy day can keep them motivated.
Team lunch, team outings, and training always help my team to stay motivated, even on dull business days.
Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
Being a chef I always wanted to be a part of this food industry. I would love to be more involved with multiple properties and to lead a bigger successful team.
Images by: Dibyendu Roy