This week we have an interview with Jeewan Singh, Executive Chef at the Jehan Numa Palace in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. We first met Chef Jeewan in 2016 at The Clarkes (an Oberoi Group Hotel) in Shimla and were blown away by the warm hospitality and creativity of his culinary art. An alumni of IHM Pusa (Delhi) and the Oberoi Centre for Learning and Development, Chef Jeewan is one of the foremost young and upcoming chefs from the rapidly increasing tribe of Hospitality professionals pouring out of Uttarakhand.
Where and what did you study?
I did my schooling from Ranikhet, Uttarakhand and Hotel Management from IHM Pusa, New Delhi; Later, I did my higher studies from the Oberoi Centre for Learning and Development (OCLD), Delhi.
What kind of work do you do?
By profession I am a chef. It is the most creative and innovative job in the world – to make people happy with your food.
What tools, technologies have you learned?
While doing my management training from OCLD – we have been exposed to the latest technologies and equipment that are utilised internationally for food prepration, as also to nutritional science .
Which are your dream companies to work for?
No doubt Oberoi is the best and I worked for that company for 10 years.
Would you get a job to suit your skills in your Himalayan Hometown?
Yes, there are lots of multinational hotel chains coming to the Himalayan region because of the natural beauty and the kind of vegetation you get, the fresh air, fresh food and fresh environment – Ananda in the Himalayas, Oberoi Wildflower Hall, and JW Marriott are the classic examples.
What kind of companies / opportunities do you wish for in your state ?
I think there is more scope for the hotel industry to expand in Himalyan region. If you compare the Swiss Alps, there are countless hotels in those mountains – in fact, a major part of the economy across the Alps is based on tourism. But in the Himalayan region this area is not fully explored yet.
Where do you hope to be in your career in 2 years, 5 years, 10 years?
May be owning a small hotel or high-end restaurant based on Himalyan cuisine.
How many of your batchmates are working in your home state and how many are working outside in cities?
Most of my batch mates are working abroad or in metro cities across India.
Which are the best colleges in your home state in your perception?
For hotel management we have the Institute of Hotel Management, Dehradun.
Who are your top 5 idols?
Mother Teresa, Anandi Gopal (first lady doctor of India), Sushma Swaraj, Narendra Modi; Professionally – Chef Gordon Ramsay.
Please provide us a brief background sketch – home town, ancestral village, and interests/hobbies and current city.
I basically belong to a hill station called Ranikhet, which is 60 kilometres from Nainital. The serene and natural views of the Himalayas is mesmerising. My interest and hobbies including reading books and experimenting with new dishes.
What vision do you have for your Himalayan home state?
To promote Himalayan cuisine on a broader scale as it has health benefits too. And to have my own restaurant based on Himalayan cuisine.
What advise would you give to youth who are now completing school/ college ?
Focus on quality learning, master the basics and then start evolving from there.
In your opinion how can governments balance development and environmental /cultural traditions?
With the new government in my state, the government has already started taking initatives to promote local cuisine through tourism.
The Mountain Walker recently started a series on the aspirations, thoughts, learnings, and world view of people from the Himalayan states of India. Over the last few years, scores of talented and educated professionals from Himachal Pradesh, Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, and Darjeeling have been pouring out of their Himalayan abodes and seeking opportunities in the cities and metros of India. This series is about them, and by them.
(If you belong to one of the Himalayan states and have something to contribute to this series, write in to: firstname.lastname@example.org)