Bahrain Confidential interviews Michelin-starred Chef Vineet Bhatia

Known as one of the most creative and accomplished chefs, Vineet Bhatia has built a strong reputation not only in Bahrain but also the world. In addition to running restaurant, Chef Vineet has written two cookbooks, “Rasoi: New Indian Kitchen” and “My Sweet Kitchen. Just recently, we had the chance to sit down with him for an interview at The Gulf Hotel’s Rasoi by Vineet.

How many restaurants do you have?

I have 12 restaurants located in London, Geneva, Mumbai, Mauritius, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi.

How would you describe your ‘ethos’?

Our ethos is quality produce cooked simply with a lot of passion and care. A lot of people “cook” but not with care, which is very mechanical. Our team is very ingrained to feel responsible for every dish that comes out; they ensure that the passion translates in each one.

How would the diners notice that?

By the taste and visuals.

Tell us more about the creative process that’s involved in coming up with new dishes. That must be a lot of pressure you’re under; to always surpass what you’ve already been doing.

It’s not really a pressure, I think it becomes a part of your DNA. That is what your modus operandi becomes; that you are always trying to push the boundaries. Fortunately, I travel extensively and I learn a lot from it.

How would you describe the training process for your chefs?

It is intense, very intense. A lot of hours are spent into training because this will be their foundation. If you don’t have a sound training given to your team, they will never grow. And because we revisit our restaurants frequently, it also motivates them to try something new. We empower our team to create something for themselves and the guests every once in a while.

What challenges do you face in this particular Rasoi by Vineet?

Fortunately, we haven’t had any issues in this outlet. You get everything in Bahrain – from the produce to the spices.

People were used to Indian food being inexpensive and you have brought Indian fine dining to a market that’s not used to it. What were the challenges you’ve faced?

A lot of things have changed since the inception of my first restaurant. People are more receptive to trying out new things compared to 20 years ago. Acquiring the Michelin star in 2001 burst the bubble for us; we made history by being the first Indian restaurant to be awarded with a star. It was a slow grind but fortunately, people started to appreciate our progressive Indian cuisine.

How do you benchmark your success?

You don’t measure success.

Do you enjoy your job?

I love my job; I travel for almost 10 months of the year. I also love flying because I wanted to be a pilot when I was a kid.

We’ve noticed that you have a tattoo. What does it mean?

This is my family. I had my sons and wife’s name tattooed on my wrist.

What’s the secret for a restaurant to be successful for more than seven years?

Good quality, consistency and looking after the guests.