THE MASTER OF ALL CHEFS
Manjit Singh Gill Corporate Executive Chef, ITC Hotels
Chef Manjit Singh soon took charge of his new responsibility, but was also overwhelmed by a certain degree with this sudden new development in his life. Even though it was the first big jump toward making him a name to reckon with in the culinary world, Manjit found it hard to sit on the executive chef’s chair. The hot seat intimidated him, and he didn’t occupy the chair for the entire first week. Such was his fear that he took meetings sitting on the opposite side of it. However, a week later a realization dawned on him that it would be well near impossible for him to run such a mammoth operation by being friendly and not authoritative. Manjit still remembers the first decision he took when he sat on that chair. It was to make the duty rolls of the entire staff and displaying it on the glass panel of his office. There was not even a small murmur of dissent and everyone happily went along.
The new role threw up fresh challenges because it was more than just preparing a recipe, which Manjit was dealing with now. The new duty and responsibility would require him to also work outside of the kitchen in developing new recipes, planning menus, hiring or training food preparation workers, maintaining an inventory of food supplies, following a food cost budget, readying purchase orders, reporting to the management and completing other administrative tasks with F&B revenue and profitability.
That the executive chef was doing his job diligently and the reputation of Maurya Sheraton was on the rise as the best fine dining and luxury food destination in Delhi, was established when Manjit got a double promotion within a year and a half of taking on his new role. He was promoted from an M-7 (a category used ITC to rate employees) to an M-5 at one go. The management gave him that jump to make him the senior-most even though the executive chef grade came much later, which gave him the perks and the emoluments associated with it. He formally was designated the executive chef in 1985. The Sardar from Amritsar had well and truly arrived.