(Director of Food Production, Chef Culinaire Taj Group)
Lifetime achievement award category was introduced
two years back by renowned Curry Club. This year the
award panel nominated Chef Satish Arora for this
prestigious award, based on:
1) His contribution to the hospitality industry
developing so many high quality chefs (who are all over
2) His contribution to the Indian Hospitality Industry
and to the Taj Group.
3) Bringing Chefs profession in forefront in India.
4) His involvement in success of many restaurants in Taj
5) Developing the new upgraded menus for Airline
Curry Club Awards
Curry Club was founded in 1983 by Mr. Pat Chapman. He
also originated Good Curry Guide in 1984. Today this
guide is the only Indian Restaurant Guide in the U.K.
Pat Chapman has pioneered the award ceremony in 1992 to
honour and recognize the best of best whether it is
food, restaurant chef, etc. His company also brings
culinary groups to India as tourists. They visit popular
hotels and taste authentic food. Chefs from different
hotels give group demonstrationsÖ.
How he made it to the top !Satish Arora was born in 1947
in Delhi in a Punjabi family. His father Shri Om Prakash
Arora was in civil service. In his school days he played
truant and was caught even playing marbles instead of
being at school.
age of 16, in 1963 when it was time to choose his
career, his low percentage was the great cause of
concern for his family. As luck would have it, one of
his friends brought for him prospectus of the New Delhi
Catering Institute. Much against his fathers wishes he
opted to join Catering College as he was fascinated by
cookery, bakery, food and beverage - subjects dear to
his heart and tummy.
Much against his fatherís wish, Satish was admitted to
that college. It was a turning point in his life. Coming
top of the class each year, he was the college's first
student to get a distinction for his Hotel Management &
Catering Diploma. It enabled him to join the elite
kitchen brigade at Mumbai's Taj Mahal Hotel as a
trainee. After ten months he was sent to Germany for a
further year's practical training. On his return he was
promoted to the highly prestigious position of Sous Chef
at Mumbai's Taj Mahal Hotel, India's top hotel under
Executive Chef Mascarenhas.
After a span of 6 years when his boss- Executive Chef
Mascarenhas retired Satish was given the position of
Executive Chef. At just 26 years of age and with only 6
years in the hotel, Satish became the youngest Exec Chef
in the world at a 5 star deluxe hotel. The going was
tough, but Satish gave it everything. He was always
first to work at 0630 am and last to leave at 1 am after
locking all cold rooms and closing all gas valves.
He married Sushma in 1972, She was a home-science
student from Delhi and a very good cook at home. With
her full support Satish enjoyed and advanced in his
career. As luck would have at this stage Taj also
started expanding from one hotel to today's 55 Indian
hotels and 15 overseas. It was Satish who established
the in-house chef training systems that such expansion
required. His individual achievements are too long to
list here, but one highlight was in 1983 when he was in
charge of all cuisine for a summit meeting of 48
Commonwealth Heads of Government in Goa for which
Margaret Thatcher and Indira Gandhi personally thanked
him. Since then he has cooked all over the world for
Queen Elizabeth and Queen Beatrix, numerous Princes,
Prime Ministers and Presidents (including Clinton,
Gorbachov and Mitterand) and an A-list of celebrities.
he was appointed Chef Culinaire Taj Group and in 1990 he
was promoted to Director of Food Production, where his
contributions include reinventing Taj's in-flight
catering at Mumbai airport.
Satish's son Puneet Arora works in London for Bombay
Halwa as Production Manager and Executive Chef and his
daughter Kanika is a Mumbai fashion designer. 90% of the
chefs now working in the Taj the chain, and a good many
more in London, the US and Australia were trained by
Satish personally. They are the world's top chefs, and
it is therefore true to say that no one has done more to
bring Indian food to public awareness, yet there is no
more modest or more dedicated person than Chef Satish
During my 40 years of culinary journey with Taj Group,
there are certain memories I cherish always. I share a
few of them.:
My First Day: 1967 September- I was selected as a
trainee chef. My first day in the kitchen was difficult.
I waited outside Chef Mascrenehas Office to tell him
that I have joined his kitchen as a Chef Trainee. He was
so moody that he did not look at me till 5 pm. I stood
there without food. Next day he gave me 100 kg onions to
peel and 100 kg boiled prawns to shell.
Abroad: 1968 July- When our General Manager Mr. Ajit
Kerkar told me that I am selected to go abroad for one
years training. I was just 9 months in the hotel.
Promotions: 1973 April- I was made Executive Chef
of Taj Mahal Hotel Mumbai, To take over from Mr.
Mascarenhas who had put in 50 years of service. After
the announcement by the F & B Manager, Mr. N.B. Dauwala,
I had tears of joy. I was just 26 years old.
Challenges: 1973 May- when I had my first
interaction with stalwarts of kitchen who were
humiliating me always thinking that it was the
managementís mistake to make me an Executive Chef. I
went to the most difficult Chef De Partie in Hot fish
section to tell him to make Pomfret Bonne Femme for the
lunch buffet. He ridiculed me. I banged on the steel
worktable, and made pomfret. This drama continued for 3
days and then all old cooks accepted me as their boss.
Probably they wanted to see if their boss was a hands on
Chef or not.
Participation in Growth: 1974 onwards my involvement
in Development of chain as Taj started expanding. I
participated in kitchen planning and training the staff.
from the Great: 1983- CHOGAM (COMMON WEALTH Heads of
Govt) Retreat at Goa. I was responsible for looking
after 38 heads of Government. Each one having his or her
dietary instructions. At the end the reward was Mrs.
Indira Gandhi patting my back and spoke to Mr. J R D
Tata over the phone to tell him how wonderful the last
grand buffet dinner was Mrs. Margaret Thatcher (then PM
of UK) signed my chefs cap in appreciation.
Medal: 1988-I got a Gold medal in Japan where I
participated with Taj Chefs Team in Culinary Olympics in
Serving the who is who: I was selected by management to
go to London to take care of a state Banquet by Indian
president Venkatraman to the entire royalty and who is
who of Britain. I was presented to Queen Elizabeth,
Duke, Prince Charles Lady Diana, Margaret Thatcher and
Airline Catering: 1999 I was appointed by Singapore
Airlines on their Culinary panel as Chef advisor for
Indian kitchen. I was on this position for 8 years.
Ultimate Award: 19 December 2006 Awarded
International Life time Achievement award in London
Hilton by Curry Club of UK. I spoke in front of 800
professionals from the Hospitably Industry.