The Best Address

Executive Chef Ranjan Anurag

Ranjan Anurag is an Executive Chef and Culinary Trainer currently based at Houston, USA. He has been actively working in the hotel and restaurant industry for the last two decades. A graduate from the Institute of Hotel Management in Bangalore, Chef Anurag has worked with finest properties in the world, including the Taj Group of hotels, Marriott Hotels and Resorts, and currently at Veranda, a flagship award- winning restaurant by Beyond Curry’s LLC in Houston, USA.


Chef Anurag loves to travel and his passion for traveling brought him to the USA in 2012. When he was offered a job to run an Indian restaurant in the USA he took no time to make the decision and moved to the USA to explore the western part of the world and understand the food and culture.

Executive Chef Ranjan Anurag

Chef Anurag’s vision is to bring Indian culture and cuisine to the forefront on the global culinary map. He says our cuisine is branded globally for curry, but as a matter of fact Indian cuisine is one of the most versatile, rich and exquisite cuisines in the world, i am continuously working to break this myth of people by using modern cooking and presentation techniques, where Indian cuisine can be seen as par to other distinguished cuisines. His artistic culinary creations and exceptional abilities and skills are admirable.


Do you have a favorite time of the year or set of ingredients that you look forward to working with?

Every season and time of the year has its own beauty. As a chef I don’t think we should limit our creativity on the basis of seasonality perhaps we should make best use of produce and resources as per seasonal availability. My favorite time of the year is autumn/winter as this time of the year has lot to offer in terms of produce. Winter is all about fresh vegetables, crisp greens and also time for preserving, curing and smoking. I always look forward to work with fresh produce, aromatic spices and herbs.


What would you do if you weren’t a chef?

Since my childhood I was always fascinated with two things first is food and second is fashion designing. If I weren’t a chef I would have tried my hand in fashion designing for sure. I always believe that these two industries you ample opportunity to showcase your creativity and skills through your work.


Do your personal preferences influence the menu at all?

I would say YES. Sometime personal preferences help us in the decision making process e.g. when I introduce any new item in the menu I always put myself into a guest’s shoes and try to analyze If I would be a guest how I would like this dish and if I as a guest, I am convinced with the taste, presentation, flavors and texture then I am sure the guests will also like and appreciate. But in a nutshell I can briefly say in the hospitality business especially as chef it’s very important to work with guest preference, to meet and exceed their expectations.


What do you think is the most over-hyped food trend currently?

I think molecular gastronomy is the most over –hyped food trend currently, where a lot of chemicals and additives are used to create a dish. I strongly believe that each and every ingredient has their own characteristics and they speak for themselves when they are used in a natural way rather than spoiling their beauty and characteristic by adding chemicals and changing their appearances. My fundamental of using ingredients is to use them in their purest way, to get the best out of them. Also GMO foods are over hyped e.g. meatless meat, soy protein, corn etc. is getting popular as a meat alternative, they are very unhealthy and they have a very harmful effect on human body.


When are you happiest?

I am happiest when I put my chef uniform on and I am in my kitchen, cooking to make someone’s day. It gives me immense pleasure and satisfaction when I see smile and joy on guests face after having meal in my restaurant.

When you’re not in the kitchen where can you be found?

If I am not in kitchen I love to spend time with my family. Also whenever I get spare time I love to spend a few hours in a garden and be close to nature.

Where is your favorite place to dine?

For me, there is no specific favorite place to dine, I love to explore different places to dine. I always look for simple and chef crafted food with clean and bold flavors.


What’s your favorite takeaway or comfort food?

Simple home cooked vegetarian food it can be daal chaawal with any seasonal local vegetable.

What makes the local food scene so exciting?

We are in Houston, Texas, USA and here we have a very diverse community which makes the local food scene very exciting. Houston is rated as the most diverse city in USA.


In Houston we have different areas known for sampling different cuisines, to name a few we have China Town to sample oriental delicacies, Mahatma Gandhi district also known as little India to enjoy Indian delicacies, mid-town and down town to enjoy Italian,  Mexican, Cajun, global delicacies and local flavors can be sampled all across the H-town. In this town we have lots of food trucks throughout the city serving local delicacies.


Also H-town is famous for its barbecues and popularity of barbecue joints is obvious by the long queues outside these food joints. During the weekends lots of farmers market happen where we can see several small and family owned business showcase their craft from fresh produce, sauces, relishes, preserves, drinks, cheeses, smoked & cured meats, breads, local wines etc. and can be sampled and enjoyed thoroughly in these markets. I love to visit these farmers market which gives us the true sense of local produce and specialties.

Which is the dish you’ve created that you are most proud of and why?

My latest creation is Shakarkandi Ki Chaat (Roasted Sweet potato, Spiced pumpkin seed and cumin yoghurt dip). I am very proud of my creation because generally this roasted sweet potato chaat is considered as street food back home in India. I always wanted to introduce this dish in the menu and after lot of brain storming I gave this dish a makeover to fit into a fine dining restaurant menu. When we plated this dish the color, texture and balance of the the dish looked amazing.

You’re having friends over for dinner tonight. What’s on the table?
Definitely a wide variety of food. The selection of dishes will depend on what set of guest we are entertaining, but a few items which must appear on the table will include: an elaborate cheese board, lots of snacks to munch on, fine wines, kebabs, biryani, Dal Makhani, curries, breads, lots of options for desserts.


Name your favorite city that has it all: food, culture, and nightlife.

As per my travel exposure I will break this into two part.

  • India: Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi & Lucknow
  • International:  New York, Chicago, Dubai, London, Istanbul, Mexico City


Can you tell us more about the cuisine at your restaurants?

At Verandah we serve high quality fine dining Indian food. We have taken age-old recipes reflecting our traditions and brought to them, modern touches and techniques, this is why we call ourselves a progressive Indian restaurant. Our aim is to maintain the taste and authenticity of food at our restaurant for which our Indian cuisine is known for.


Shakarkandi Ki Chaat

(Roasted sweet Potato chaat with spiced pumpkin seeds)

This is my take on tradition Shakarkandi Ki chaat, where I have tried to bring a Progression approach to prepare and present the traditional sweet potato chaat, with same flavor profile .Generally chaats are considered as a junk food but by redefining this recipe I wanted to break the myth of people about chaat. This particular chaat has got so clean and fresh profile with lots of health benefits.

  • Serving: 4
  • Preparation Time: 20 min.
  • Cooking Time: 40 min.


  • Sweet Potato – 2 Large
  • Purple Sweet Potato – 1 Large
  • Salt – 1⁄2 tsp
  • Roasted Cumin Powder – 5 Grams
  • Black Pepper, Crushed- 10 no.
  • Pomegranate – 1 ea.
  • Lemon – 1⁄2 ea
  • Chaat Masala – 1⁄2 tsp
  • Pink Himalayan Salt – to taste
  • Roasted spiced pumpkin seeds- 40 Gms.

For Yogurt Dip:

  • Drained thick Yogurt – 50 Grams
  • Black Salt – to taste
  • Sugar – 5 Gms
  • Roasted Cumin Powder- 1 Gms


  1. Preheat the oven at 400 degrees F.
  2. Clean, Wash and dry the sweet potatoes. Sprinkle some salt on all sides of the sweet potato. Wrap them individually with aluminum foil and place them in a roasting tray. Roast them for 30 to 40 min till they are tender.
  3. Once sweet potatoes are roasted, remove the foil and allow them to cool.
  4. Once the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them and cut into 1⁄4 inch slices. Sprinkle some crushed black pepper, roasted cumin powder, Himalayan salt, and chaat masala. Squeeze some lemon juice on top.
  5. Meanwhile take the arils out of the pomegranate. Reserve some arils for garnish and take the juice out from the rest.
  6. Take a saucepan. Add the pomegranate juice and reduce it to 1⁄4, which can be used as a dressing for chaat.
  7. For yogurt dip, take some drained thick yogurt in a bowl. Season it with salt, sugar, chaat masala and roasted cumin powder. Mix it well.
  8. For plating, stack the marinated sweet potato slices one on top of another alternating the both colors of sweet potato. Put a few dollops of yogurt around the sweet potato and pour the pomegranate reduction on top of the sweet potato stack.
  9. Garnish with reserved pomegranate arils. Add some roasted pumpkin seed to plate for extra crunch to the chaat.




1 Comment

  1. Abhishek srivastava

    Keep shining


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *