Executive Chef Ali Khan

The Gateway Ambad Nashik, Nashik

With 19 years of culinary experience under his belt, Ali Khan stepped in as Executive Chef of The Gateway Hotel, Nashik in the year 2016, after serving as Executive Sous Chef of the ever so heavenly Vivanta by Taj Madikeri, Coorg. Chef Ali Khan was pre - opening Chef at Coorg and was the potential to set up the entire kitchen with the Executive Chef Johnson in 2012. Prior to Coorg, he was Sous Chef at Vivanta by Taj - Fisherman's Cove, Chennai. He also holds bachelor’s degree in Hotel Management from IHM Kolkata and is a Commerce Graduate from Kolkata University.

Chef Ali began his career in Bakery at Oberoi's Rajvilas in the year 1997 with pre-opening team and moved with his bakers skill to Hyatt Goa, Grand Hyatt, New Delhi, Crown Plaza, Bangalore before joining Taj. He brings with him huge experience of Bakery, Indian and Tandoor.

An accomplished chef, Chef Ali has won several awards as pastry Chef. His mantra in life is to understand guest’s palates and tweak the dishes to delight. He ensures to be present in Coffee Shop during breakfast to meet all resident guests to check their satisfaction and create new dishes each day. He is admired by the guests for his humanity and genuine care which comes out of his skilled hand each day.


Q & AAAAA with Executive Chef Ali Khan


The main influences that made me interested in food and cooking as a career...
- I got my inspiration and influence from my elder brother who was a successful Chef with Oberoi Hotels. I have grown seeing him crafting delicious dishes and being appreciated by guests for his culinary skills, besides this he was always a star in the family just because of his cooking career. He impacted me profusely to opt for cooking as my career and I pursued my Hotel Management from IHM Kolkata, thereafter this fine journey began for me, that is to cook and delight our guests at hotel.

My earliest memory in the kitchen and my favourite dish from childhood...
- As a kid I was always eager to wait for any Birthday in the family, as this was the time when we used to see some delicious food in the form of varieties of cake and pastries and I was too fond of them. My curiosity grew as I grew up to explore and make such delicious pastries and cakes and gradually I started at home, baking myself for family functions. My all-time favourite dish was Strawberry Cake.


My favourite dish to cook...
- Ghostbiryani. I like to cook variants be it famous Hyderabadi, Awadhi or Kolkata Biryani..

A cuisine that I want to learn...
- As a Chef and an epicurean, I truly believe that learning never stops! Whichever part of the world I am in, I make it a point to learn and understand the local food, culture, taste and palate. At present, I am learning the intricacies of authentic Oriental cuisine.

My secret to great food...
- Start with the freshest ingredients, respect tradition in food, however be fearless in your zeal to push the boundaries (this somehow shows in the final dish).

The last cookbook I bought...
- CHOCOLATE 50 EASY RECEIPE BY Academia Barilla and I am a big fan of Books by Chef Jamie Olivier and Elina.


A culinary show or movie that I love to watch...
- I love watching Gordon Ramsey’s HELL'S KITCHEN, Culinary Genius and our own Chef Vikas Khanna, Master Chef India.

In my free time, I like to...
- Experiment new things and create new dishes which would create a wow experience for my guests and will take them by surprise.

The kind of adaptations I have had to make while combining two cuisine...
- It’s all about maintaining and creating a fine balance between two distinct flavour profiles. However, I make it a point to never compromise on the taste, texture and appearance of the final product.

My guilty pleasure...
- Chilli chocolate

I will describe my restaurant/hotel to a first time customer as...
- The hotel is iconic in the city and truly a landmark. It's USP is that there is a strong emphasis on originality and authenticity in the lap of luxury and nature. Each corner of the hotel tells a story and each award - winning restaurant is part of a culinary legacy.

My menu design... What kind of research goes into it's preparation, can you walk us through the process?
- In one line “What our Guests want”. However designing a menu or compilation of cuisines and dishes is a mammoth task and needs very high efficiency and attention to detail. It begins with a concept or thematic creation, identifying expertise of skills, sourcing of authentic ingredients followed by research based on internal workshops and trial and error creations of recipes, documentation of theories and practical creation of recipes and plating tactics with the final trials before offering it to our esteemed guests.

My recommendations at the restaurants in The Taj Nashik...
- Our menus are a mix of contemporary, traditional and healthy options. At our specialty restaurant, Grill, I recommend the chef Active Salad, Char Grilled Bacon Wrapped Prawn, Norwegian Salmon. At our Indian Restaurant Panchratna - the local Maharasthian home - style Thali is really popular with our guests.  At our coffee shop  Citrine, Thai curry,lassoni palak and chicken tikka Lababder

4-5 personal tips that I would like share with our guests...
1. Love and respect for ingredients.
2. Trust your food instincts.
3. Never encourage food wastage and encourage sustainability.
4. Keep trying your hand in the kitchen. The more you try, the more you learn.
5. Stay true to the integrity of the ingredients when experimenting.