A CHEF UNDER THE TREE: BY Khatibah Rehmat

Seekh Kababs by Executive Chef Litwin Sanjit.

Bharma Aaloo

I met the first executive chef who ran till the main gate like a simple person leaving all his important work and welcomed me and escorted me further to show his work place - Hotel Rain Tree, the five star property situated at Anna Salai, Chennai. By the way his name is Chef Litwin Sanjit not at all Chef SANJAY. Again there is a small story behind his name. I asked him that his name was Sanjay, then very sadly he said to me, that people over here do not put pain to learn an uncommon name. So, instead of calling him Chef Sanjit they call him Chef Sanjay. I instantly started laughing for his unsaid pain over his name and also over the lethargic nature of few of the Tamils. Well, at the mean while he showed me the entire hotel, the banquet, the VIP Lounge, the bakery kitchen where things were being prepared out of fondants etc, the lobby, the lift, his own cabinet, the master kitchen, the terrace lounge from where one can see the whole of Chennai, etc., you can also say that the entire corner of the hotel. I was actually very pleased with his mild nature and his way of putting each and every word to me.

Chef Litwin Sanjit was born, brought up and is working in Chennai. He has completed his bachelors in hotel management from M.G.R IHMCT, Chennai. A freestyle cooking chef who began his career by being a trainee chef, according to him he opted this to gain more knowledge and to experience more about cooking. He took two years of rigorous training and was being trained under the master chefs of few five star hotels again in Chennai itself. That was the phase when he learnt Regional and European cuisines. After that he moved his foot a bit forward towards Hotel Trident Hilton, once again a five star property. That was the point when a seed was sown into his heart, body and soul where he started experimenting with ingredients to make a perfect cuisine even out of left overs. He started loving his work more and more which kept on sticking himself inside the kitchen in compiling the recipes and used to be more excited for preparing a different meal every now and then.

Let us come back to The Hotel Rain Tree, where he joined in 2005 as a pre-opening team-member. There he received an invaluable, classical training from Chef Jugesh Arora and Chef Mark Crocker. They taught him how to manage an extremely busy hotel kitchen where he would be surrounded with innumerous junior chefs at the same time. According to Chef Sanjit, this was what he gained as a personal and practical skill which is required to go through this situation as a whole. He further got the opportunity to work with renowned chefs, Chef Alexandro and Chef Vita, there he learnt to improve and to set his skills. He used to cook food with classical techniques by giving it a modern twist using quality ingredients, flavours and techniques which were being borrowed from Europe and Asia. After this he was also known as a freestyle chef.

Chef Litwin Sanjit is an expert and is highly specialized in Italian, Mediterranean, Modern Indian and Fusion Cuisines. For him being a successful chef or running a good restaurant there are few principles of life, where he says that he loves using fresh local products, local dishes and interpreting it in all new ways and focuses more upon flavours to make it a complete dish as a whole.
Secondly, his another part of principles are: Value for money, Constant Innovation, Consistent Quality, and of course Great Flavour and taste which holds the customers for a longer period of time. Litwin further added that he was lucky enough to have his passion as a carrier. For this he feels grateful that he was so fond of cooking and eating good food since childhood which enhanced his joy of doing work whole heartedly. There are countless little happiness which he receives from his work, this is all about the utmost love and passion for inventing new food out of raw ingredients from which he can produce amazing, mouthwatering and tantalizing dishes.

He loves to be a part of his team where he plays the leading role being an Executive Chef amongst the junior chefs and further developing innumerable skills in them. At the end of the day when Litwin gets a positive feedback from the guest counts then, he feels really proud being in this position where his juniors also play a vital role from the kitchen to the dining area. At this point the satisfaction level of this chef rises so high that it almost reaches to the sky very high. Well, when you will reach to the Rain Tree there you will see several restaurants in different sections depicting their own specialities such as:
1) THE KITCHEN — Global Cuisine Restaurant, it covers the seat for 108 people.

2) MADRAS — The South Indian Specialty Restaurant, it covers the seat for 64 people.

3) MADEERA — The Contemporary Bar and Lounge which serves beverages and Drinks. It also covers the seats for 64 people.

4) UP NORTH — The Roof Top Restaurant which covers a seating of 108 people.

5) HIGH SKY LOUNGE — A sky Lounge by the Pool which gives a spectacular view of the city with the seating of 48 people.

I am sure enough that after knowing so much about this place no one will be able to stop themselves from going there at least once and once you go there, you will be willing to go again and again. Let us now know something about the signature dishes of Chef Litwin Sanjit, though in his early careers, he was known for making the South Indian dishes only and later continued with the European dishes. But now, when time has changed and his experiences have risen then he has come up with many other cuisines. Get ready to control the water into your mouths. Here are few names of the signature dishes made by Chef Litwin Sanjit:

1.Grilled Scottish Salmon, sautéed new potatoes, leeks, bokchoy, saffron, olive broth.

2. Tenderloin Medallion,Roast vegetable, roast veggies, cauliflower puree, green peppercorn jus,

3. Herb grilled fish, cous cous sautéed greens, warm tomato, olive and caper,

4. Jalandhari Seekh,

5. Murgh Tikka Kandhari,

6. Bharme Aloo Pothohari,

7. Nalli Nahari,

8. Bhatinda Tari Wala,

9. Baked zed paneer pin wheel with dhaniya pesto and podi crust,

10. Usilampatti Kari Kozhambu,

11. Mansatti Meen Kozhambu from fisherman's village.

Now, it's all up to you people whether you want to go to the Rain Tree and try these tantalizing mouth watering cuisines or you just want to stick back to the sofas of the living room of your homes? I personally had a wonderful experience, now its your turn!

Interview Taken by: Khatibah Rehmat

Interviewed: Chef Litwin Sanjit

Picture Courtesy: Chef Litwin Sanjit

Special Thanks To: Chef Jugesh Arora.

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