With an exceptional experience of 20+ years in the hospitality industry, Chef Reetu Uday Kugaji is a name that has brought smiles to several faces. In the Past she has been a Program Head-Culinary arts at the Queen Margaret University at ITM IHM in Navi Mumbai , In the past, I have also worked as an Associate Professor-Food Production at D. Y. Patil University, School of Hospitality and Tourism Studies, Navi Mumbai. She loves to travel and taste different cuisines to create an inviting cuisine of her own. She’s a great mentor and a true chef who knows how to win hearts by creating delicious delicacies. She is presently working as a Hospitality and Food Consultant, Specialty Chef and Food Author at www.plattershare.com, Chef Consultant and Culinary Expert at “FITMAG” http://www.fitmag.in/, Specialty Chef with www.Percept Knorigin.com , www.cinecurry.com , Oxygen Infotainment and www.chefsutra.com and as a Food Author with www.pioneerchef.com , theurbanspice.com ,www.pinksworth.com , www.tanyamunshi.com, http://www.mangobunch.com/ and, Chef, Food Author & Food Expert at http://womenpla.net/ , Food Author & Food expert at http://www.mangobunch.com/.The food author and the Speciality Chef shares her experiences about her journey from a Hotel Management student to the celebrity Chef with the Articles Today. She is also a Food Blogger and has a fantastic blog https://chefreetuudaykugaji.com/blog/ . Recently she shared her experience with The Articles Today in an exclusive interview:
What inspired you to adopt cooking as profession?
All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother. As a kid I have grown up seeing my mother Mrs. Manjit Arora cook the most delectable cuisines for the entire family. That gave the first click in my mind that, yes food is such an interesting and enormous art. I guess that I have got it through my genes. My mother is my inspiration and I knew that her fantastic cooking inspired me and her experimentation in food dishes always surprised me. As a child I knew I wanted to be a chef. I would also like to thank my role model Chef Satish Aroraji, a chef extraordinaire who has always been a constant source of inspiration for me. He has made our nation proud – a big obeisance to him.
With a tag of celebrity chef, how far your journey to success has helped you hone your potentials?
I think there is nothing like a Celebrity Chef, I am a Chef and I am proud of it. Success comes to those who are hardworking, dedicated and passionate. So am I. I am extremely proud of my roots and upbringing. Immense faith in God brings me peace and more confidence.
We believe, you’ve cooked for almost all the biggies in the industry including Sachin Tendulkar and our Hon. Ex-President Smt. Pratibha Patil, please share your experiences while deciding for the right kind of cuisine for specific occasions and people?
I am indeed blessed and feel honored to be actually cooking for these dignitaries, all I needed to concentrate was that they have a very busy schedule and they usually do not have fixed meal times. I have intricately prepared cuisines designed to capture a delicious and exciting range of flavours, textures and aromas. So ensuring that the Menu has a balanced nutrition and at the same time I made sure lots of fresh veggies and fruits are included in their menu, rather than making it large, elaborate and a heavy meal.
What were the challenges that you came across at the onset of your career? How did you overcome your obstacles?
The major challenge is that that our work is both very demanding and requires constant change in this world of culinary. I have learnt a lot from every one I came in contact with. For me, it is very essential to keep learning and experimenting with food. Accepting the change and moving forward with it and of course never let your passion for curating food dishes die. The only Constant in Life is CHANGE.
What is your advice to the new comers who wish to become future chefs?
Never Give Up. You are here for a purpose. I believe we are the blessed and chosen ones. Make a positive difference…. Be humble and kind….. Follow your dreams and you will achieve your Goal.
Besides being humble, be proud of your roots. Extreme faith in God almighty, Passion, Creativity and lots of Patience is the Mantra to be a great Chef. Dedication, commitment, and destiny will take you a long way.
Behind every success, there is an inspiration. What inspires you to give your best shot?
My inspiration besides God Almighty, I owe my success to my mother Mrs. Manjit Arora and my father, Mr. M.S.Arora, who supported me right from day one. Also, my soulmate Uday Kugaji who encourages and motivates me towards success. Also my role model Chef Satish Aroraji, a chef extraordinaire has always been a constant source of inspiration for me. My students have always been an integral part of my life.
. State in one line about your passion for the cooking and innovating new cuisines
My mantra is that ‘the only ingredient required for cooking is “Passion”.
I believe that food is like oxygen to me. Food for me is God. As my profession demands cooking and tasting Non-Vegetarian foods & in spite of me being a pure vegetarian, I perform my duties religiously as I understand the cause behind it is holy and noble. I profoundly believe that food whether vegetarian or non-vegetarian, if cooked with utmost love and positivity touches the heart of a person relishing it.
Would like to conclude with the Divine blessings of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba “Only a Great Teacher can mould a Great Student”.
Real Chefs share and teach. Just a few decades ago, the recipes and methods of cooking them were kept a secret. Now has come an era where we as chefs believe in sharing our knowledge, creating more quality chefs and passing the vast knowledge to the generations. Taking immense pride in being their teachers, role-models and Mentors. A bow down in respect to all the Chefs. Respect to all the chefs!