Chef Rajesh Kanna
Chef Rajesh Kanna shares with The Yum List some interesting stories from behind the scenes and some exciting happenings coming up at the Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur.
What do you do and how did you got into the industry? Rajesh Kanna- I am the Director of Culinary, Restaurant and Bar at the Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur Hotel. I began my career as a waiter at Panorama Hotel Singapore in 1995. It was hard work as I did not attend a hotel school; hence every day was a completely new learning experience. Soon after, I joined the Westin Singapore (yes, we had a Westin in Singapore back then… coming back soon) my job was mainly just polishing glasses and cutlery and after three years I had gotten bored and so I decided to take up the challenge of being Commi Chef. My culinary life story began then – and I never looked back since.
Share with us an interesting story from behind the scenes. One event of many that sticks to mind is related to the fires I’ve fought in the kitchen. But, there was this one particular incident where I burnt some arm hair and my eyebrows off. It had me looking weird for a little white (LOL) but when I think back… it was hilarious and moreover it taught me an important lesson and now I make sure my kitchen brigade knows exactly how to use the equipments in the kitchen and how to put out a fire!!!
What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had with food?Well I guess nothing can beat burning your eyebrows off, but the most memorable one would be seeing my mum cook chicken curry every Sunday during my childhood days. Even though I can have chicken curry anytime I want now – what made this memory a memorable one was the fact that I come from a moderate family and back then, having chicken for your meal was a big deal! So, those Sundays… the smell of chicken curry from my mom’s kitchen always puts a smile on my face!
What’s the best/ worst part of your job? The best thing about this job is that I get to see all my chefs do well, excel and build a name for themselves! I have been in this line for a while now and I really enjoy the feeling of seeing my subordinates succeeding and enjoying this line.
The worst – well I do love my job very much but yes, it will have to be the long hours – it does get to you no matter who you are!
What’s your favourite Malaysian food? Mom’s Chicken Curry….without a doubt!
What’s your personal favourite meal/ drink at Villa Danielli? I do enjoy our wood fired pizzas and flavourful pasta selection with a beer or wine. It is a good combination to enjoy after a long day at work!
What’s your favoured food and wine/ liquor pairing? A braised lamb shank with a good red wine – perfect!
The perfect day off would be… …spending a Sunday with my family while having a picnic.
A life in the day of a chef is… My job requires a lot of checking and follow-ups. My morning starts with check my emails (as it is important in this day and age) then I will go and make sure that the breakfast buffet is all set to receive guests. This is followed by making my rounds to all the kitchens, ensuring they are in good and acceptable order. So basically a day in my shoes involves lots of checking, checking, checking, and follow ups, follow ups, follow ups.
What’s something you’d like guests to know about the cuisine/ drinks prepared at Villa Danieli? Well, I would want guests to know just how great simple food with genuine ingredients can be in an Italian ambiance. You’ve got to visit Villa Danieli to experience it on your own!
How do you select your ingredients and why? Every Chef ensures that good quality food is served to the guest, so I have always chosen my ingredients that not only look good but also packaged and stored nicely. This brings me to also ensure that the supplier I deal with has a good system as this certainly ensures that I can get the BEST ingredients in a timely manner.
What can guests look forward to in the upcoming months?This October – Villa Danieli presents an exclusive wine dinner from the winery of Frescobaldi’s Vineyard. Renowned for its superior quality and distinctive flavours, Diners can savour thoughtfully plated dishes complemented with Frescobaldi wine, which heightens the flavours in each and every bite. Starting 4 – 31 October 2013, this 4-course set dinner with Frescobaldi wine is at RM220++ per person.