Chennai: InterContinental Chennai Mahabalipuram, the luxury beach resort announced the appointment of their new Executive Chef, Lawrence Amalraj. As an optimist with an adaptable personality, the stalwart chef is in-charge of the daily operations of the F and B outlets and bringing culinary innovation to the forefront. Chef Lawrence comes with close to 20 years of experience, having served in Hotels such as the Taj Club House, Raddisson Blu and Double Tree by Hilton. His strong pre-opening expertise is visible in the launch and management of new food and Beverage outlets. His operational intelligence has helped in creating a seamless and smooth management of the kitchen, making him a favourite of the staff and guests alike.
Speaking to Chef Bharath, Lawrence Amalraj said, “ In luxury hotels and restaurants, it is a bit challenging to maintain the quality of food in regional cuisine. Currently, it is difficult to find chefs who specialize in regional cuisines. For instance, if you got to Goa, it is difficult to get good Goan food at luxury properties. I also think that chef’s need to be interested to learn the nuances of cooking regional cuisine to deliver quality food.”
According to him, a decade back, guests wanted to try international food and understand the flavours that made them so different. “Indians are now looking at hyper local cuisine and they are exploring flavours from different parts of India. They seem to be going back to their roots and enjoy the local flavours. Alongside, people are drawn towards Progressive Indian dining. They seem to enjoy the old classics with a slight modern twist.”, Lawrence said.
On the unique aspects of kitchen and the efforts taken by the Kitchen team to ensure customer satisfaction, he said, “It is important to ensure that the quality of ingredients used are top notch. Alongside, it is necessary to ensure that the raw materials are handled correctly. Post which, it becomes necessary to ensure personal hygiene as well as the cleanliness of the kitchen. Food needs to be labelled properly and stored systematically.”
Lawrence, apart from being an expert in Western and Mediterranean cooking, also specialises in Japanese and Mangalorean cuisine as well.”Consistency is key to ensure quality. The recipes have to be followed properly. I have also come to realise that describing the dish to the guest and presentation please the guest and improves their dining experience. At InterContinental Chennai Mahabalipuram, we involve in a lot of planning and preparation according to the demand and need. We ensure a strict quality check of our ingredients and ensure that we store and use our ingredients judiciously.”
Going back to roots:
Moving forward, InterContinental is going back to roots. “We will be offering local cuisine apart from the general offerings. We are looking at incorporating the local offerings of Tamil Nadu such as the Yerasutta Varuval. What will set us apart is our simple and elegant presentation at the right value propositions.”, he concluded.