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Chef Kanchan M. Desai – Crafting Culinary Masterpieces with Passion and Innovation at ‘The Crown’

Chef Kanchan M. Desai

Chef Kanchan M. Desai, the Executive Chef of “The Crown,” has not only mastered the kitchen but also nurtured a culinary philosophy that’s reflected in every dish he crafts. He is an extraordinary figure who has spent over four decades perfecting the art of gastronomy. In a candid interview for the “Chef-speaks” section of the Incredible Goa Food and Hospitality Magazine, Chef Kanchan shared his journey, culinary principles, and insights into his role as an executive chef.

A Culinary Journey of 42 Years

Chef Kanchan’s path into the culinary world began with inspiration from his mother’s mouth-watering delicacies. He fondly recalls standing next to her in their home kitchen, learning the secrets of flavours and textures. His journey gained momentum as he joined the prestigious IHMCTAN Mumbai, where he was introduced to a world of culinary excellence. This was the turning point in his career, setting him on a path of no return. He joined the IHC Group and worked at the Taj Mahal Hotel Mumbai and Taj Flight Kitchen Mumbai before returning to Goa in 2009-10.

Cooking with Passion and Love

Chef Kanchan’s culinary philosophy is simple yet profound: “Cook with passion & load your food with tons of love.” He believes that this passion and love resonate in the flavours, creating a memorable dining experience for guests. He also emphasises that these principles are shared with his kitchen brigade, ensuring a consistent and heartfelt approach to their craft.

Managing Hectic Responsibilities

The life of an executive chef is a demanding one, but Chef Kanchan navigates it with precision. He diligently oversees the entire kitchen operation, from food preparation to guest feedback, new menu creation, staff training, and coordination with other hotel departments. However, he also recognizes the importance of preventing burnout and stress among his team, ensuring a harmonious and efficient working environment.

Local Flavours in a Global Context

Goa’s rich culinary heritage presents a unique challenge to Chef Kanchan. To create a balance between local flavours and global appeal, he emphasises understanding each guest’s perspective and culture. He introduces dishes gradually, maintains consistency through feedback, and hosts food festivals showcasing local cuisine, ensuring that Goa’s culinary traditions shine on a global stage.

Collaboration for Seamless Dining

Collaboration with other hotel departments, including F&B service, front office, and housekeeping, is key to delivering a seamless dining experience. Communication about guest preferences, dietary habits, and allergies is crucial in exceeding guest expectations and turning them into loyal patrons of “The Crown.”

Innovative and Appealing Menus

Chef Kanchan stays ahead of food trends by creating clear, creative, and innovative menus. He emphasises branding, consistency, value for money, and market research of competitors. This ensures that “The Crown” continues to offer a unique and appealing dining experience to its guests.

Balancing Consistency and Creativity

Maintaining consistency while exploring creativity is an art, and Chef Kanchan has mastered it. Standardised preparation procedures and staff training play a pivotal role in introducing new items to the menu. Guest feedback is invaluable in the continuous improvement of the menu, ensuring it stays fresh and inviting.

Adapting to the Pandemic

The pandemic presented challenges to the hospitality industry, but “The Crown” adapted with robust takeaways, a focus on hygiene and sanitation, and the addition of an Alfresco Dining Hanging Garden Restaurant, providing a safe and comfortable dining experience. They also have a rigorous staff training program to maintain guest confidence.

Advice for Aspiring Chefs

Chef Kanchan leaves aspiring chefs with valuable advice: have a strong aptitude, master the basics, cook with passion, remain calm under pressure, be adaptable, and develop leadership and communication skills. He reminds them that there’s no substitute for the love and knowledge passed down from a mother’s kitchen.

While wrapping up, Chef Kanchan’s culinary journey is a testament to his dedication and love for the art of cooking. His passion, adaptability, and commitment to excellence have shaped “The Crown” into a culinary haven in Goa. With his culinary expertise and warm spirit, Chef Kanchan continues to delight guests with every dish, ensuring that dining at “The Crown” is a memorable experience filled with passion and love.

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