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Executive Sous Chef Ganesh Venkiteswaran

Chef Ganesh Venkiteswaran is currently working as an Executive Sous Chef at Conrad Dubai overseeing daily operations of 7 food and beverage outlets. He graduated in Hospitality & Hotel Administration from Institute of Hotel Management (IHM) Goa, which is ranked as one of the best hotel and hospitality school in India. He started his career with The Leela Palace, Goa as a Management Trainee for 2 years and then worked at Madinat Jumeirah, AL Qasr where he gained immense exposure in international cuisine working with some of the top chefs at that time. His next assignment was working at Jumeirah Emirates Tower at the best steakhouse, The Rib Room, The Agency Bar and a contemporary fine dining restaurant VU’s. During his tenure he received a lot of awards and accolades.

Later he got an opportunity to work as a part of the pre-opening team of Waldorf Astoria in RAK where Chef Ganesh oversaw the operations of the three signature restaurants. He then joined The H Dubai as Chef De Cuisine where he managed the operations of five F&B outlets and spearheaded the opening of Delphine Dubai. Working in H was a great learning curve as Chef Ganesh was In charge of a busy banqueting operations, gaining experience in volume and large scale banqueting. After working at The H Dubai for 4 years, he joined as a pre-opening team member at Waldorf Astoria, DIFC where he supervised the F&B Outlets and then joined Conrad Dubai.

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

The changing seasons always bring something new and great to work with, I curate my menus based on seasonal fresh ingredients that are available. We change all our menus seasonally. It keeps us busy and our guests happy.

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

If not a Chef, I would’ve been in the Aviation Industry.

Do your personal preferences influence the menu at all?

I believe we are in an industry where all our guests’ requests and needs are our top priority. Being the curator of a menu, I can always use my personal influence with the theme and the ingredients. I love to create a menu that opens all the senses of the diners with different textures and cooking methods. I prefer locally sourced products, which are fresh and arrive straight to our kitchen from the farm. Progressive cooking and adapting to current trends is what i believe in. My philosophy is to keep the food simple and let the ingredients speak for themselves. It is all about using different cooking techniques, textures and flavor while adding your own touch.

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

One thing when it comes to over-hyped food is the new trend of  plant-based meat offerings. To a certain extent, they are good but most of the plant-based meats are ultra-processed and contain numerous food-grade chemicals as ingredients and artificial flavors. For me, plant-based food should be kept simple using fresh natural ingredients like vegetables/fruits/ nuts /cereals.

When are you happiest?

Happiness for me is when you develop a recipe. The thought of how the plating will look like and how the final product manifests in the plate just as you envisioned it when you were creating the recipe. Being a chef, one of the happiest moments surely is when you see the joy and fulfillment on the face of guests when your food is served. Seeing your guests happy is the best reward.

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

On my day off, you will find me spending time with my wife and kids, mostly cooking for them and enjoying a meal as a family, catching up on what I have missed during my hectic week. I also love long drives to beaches and parks, especially when it is to a staycation which my children look forward to.

Where is your favourite place to dine?

 I am an explorer and don’t like to stick to one place. I love trying out new F&B venues and like to experiment street side food stalls to emerging upscale restaurants. Dubai is the best place where you have the most evolving F&B industry and you get to try out different cuisines, new trends and concepts. So, there is plenty to choose from.

What’s your favourite takeaway or comfort food?

I am a simpleton at heart and a simple, soulful Khichdi is my all-time favorite comfort food that I can eat on any given day. It also brings back childhood memories as this dish was introduced by my father who had spent a few years in the state of Gujarat, and he loved making it for us. The first time when I tried it as a child, I was blown away by the simplicity of the dish and it intrigued my inner self that such a delectable meal has indeed no limitations in the way it can be altered without compromising the base. This used to be our Sunday lunch made with all leftover vegetables and it brings back fond memories of all of my family members sitting together and cherishing this wholesome simple  meal with accompaniments such as pickles that add extra spice or a homemade raita to balance the flavors. Why not add some fried crackers to give an extra crunch in between making it the perfect easy-to-make every day meal!

Now, my children enjoy this very dish the same way like I used to.

What makes the local food scene so exciting?

Dubai is very dynamic when it comes to food and beverage. Dubai’s discerning audience of different nationalities and palates makes the F&B sector exciting and constantly evolving. Here you can find small street side shops along with the best Michelin starred restaurants. Dubai has established itself as the food capital of the world, offering a diverse range of cuisines that reflect the city’s cosmopolitan culture. Even the Emirati cuisine is evolving with many chefs cooking progressive Emirati dishes. Abu Dhabi even has the world’s first Emirati restaurant that received a one-star Michelin last year.

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

One of my personal creations, which I had created for a regional competition was ‘The Chickpeas’. It is a homage to the humble hummus, which is one of the simplest dish here in the Middle East and is enjoyed by everyone at any time of the day. My take on it was with modern Emerati progressive cooking that consists of different textures of chickpeas. A hummus espuma, crispy mini falafel, Aquafaba zaatar meringue, candied chickpeas and a tahini tulle.

You’re having friends over for dinner tonight. What’s on the table?

I will start with a few fresh salads tossed with different dressings. Anticucho with chicken and prawns over the grill. A nice hot pot with fresh veggies, noodles and meat in it paired with wine and spirits. I will plan to cook fresh pasta for the kids and i will end the meal with a selection of ice creams.

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

Being from Mumbai I have seen it all. It has the perfect combination of everything you need. Mumbai’s culture offers a blend of traditional and cosmopolitan festivals, food, entertainment, and nightlife. The city has urban-centric modern cultural offerings.

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

Here at Conrad Dubai we have Ballaro (Italian Restaurant) Kimpo (Korean restaurant & Bar) Anasa (Greek Taverna) Cave (French Wine Bar) Bliss 6 (Pool Bar and Restaurant) Isla (Coffee shop) In Room Dining (Serving multi-cuisine)


I would not say this is a signature dish that’s offered in our venues. However, it has an interesting story behind it. We had a guest who was not feeling well so I suggested him to have a simple Khichdi, which he loved. The next time he visited us I told him this time I will make a khichdi, which you will never forget. My take on khichdi was to give it a modern twist paring it with few classic Indian vegetables and condiments, which will elevate this humble dish with different textures and complex flavors to create an umami while still keeping the soul of the dish alive.

This is what I came up with : ‘Arancini of Panchratna kichadi, Okra and Greek yoghurt raita tempered with mustard seed & curry leaves, preserved lemon pickle, raw Jackfruit poriyal, Tomato & tapioca cracker & Rasam gel’



(Okra and Greek yoghurt raita, Preserved lemon, Raw Jackfruit Poriyal, Tomato and Tapioca Papad, Rasam Gel)

Panchratna Khichdi


  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 1/8 cup moong dal
  • 1/8 cup masoor dal
  • 1/8 cup chana dal
  • 1/8 cup urad dal
  • 1/8 cup chana dal
  • ¼ cup carrot brunoise
  • ¼ cup green peas frozen
  • ¼ cup beans brunoise
  • ¼ cup broccoli grated
  • ¼ cup red onion brunoise
  • ¼ cup tomato brunoise
  • 2 green chili slit
  • 1 inch ginger finely chopped
  • ¼ cup coriander chopped
  • 1 inch Cinnamon
    3 Green Cardamom
    3 Cloves
    1 tsp Turmeric Powder
    1 tsp Coriander Powder

For Tempering

1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 Dry Red Chili
¼ tsp Asafetida Powder
1 tsp Ghee

For finishing

  • 2 cups kataifi dough
  • 2 cups milk
  • Oil for frying


  1. Rinse rice and daal 3-4 times and soak it in water for 15 minutes
  2. Heat ghee in a pressure cooker and add cinnamon, cardamom and cloves.
  3. Let the whole spices fry for couple of seconds to infuse their flavor into the oil and then add mustard seeds to it.
  4. When mustard seeds start to pop and splutter, add cumin seeds, dry red chili and asafoetida and fry them for couple of seconds till the cumin seeds change its color to deep brown.
  5. Saute the ginger & red onion till golden brown.
  6. Drain all the water, add rice and daal to the pressure cooker along with turmeric powder and coriander powder. Fry this mixture for a minute or two.
  7. Mix in mixed vegetables, green chilies, and salt to taste and add about 8 cups of boiling water. Cover the lid of a pressure cooker and put the weight on.
  8. Let it cook on medium flame for 25-30 minutes or for 4-5 whistles. Let the pressure cooker rest for 5 minutes or releases its pressure completely before opening the lid.
  9. Add finely chopped coriander leaves and mix them well and cool it down
  10. Make balls of 30 grams, dust in flour and dip it in milk. Coat it evenly with kataifi. Deep fry in oil at 160⁰ till golden brown. Place over kitchen paper to drain excess oil

OKRA and Greek Yoghurt Raita


  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cup okra (thinly sliced)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped green chilies
  • 1 cup chilled greek yogurt
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon roasted cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon chaat masala powder


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon asafetida
  • 5-6 curry leaves
  • 1-2 whole dry red chilies


  1. Heat vegetable oil in a pan over medium heat.
  2. Once the oil is hot, add the sliced okra and green chilies to the pan and fry until they are crisp
  3. Remove the pan from heat and let the okra cool down
  4. Whisk the Greek yogurt in a bowl until smooth and creamy.
  5. Add crispy fried okra, salt, cumin powder and chat masala, mix well.
  6. Heat vegetable oil in a small pan over medium heat.
  7. Once the oil is hot, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, asafetida, curry leaves, and dry red chilies to the pan and let them crackle.
  8. Pour the tempering over the raita and mix well.

Preserved Lemon


  • 6 lemon
  • 2 tsp cup sugar
  • 2 cup water
  • 3cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp mustard oil
  • 2 tsp Kashmiri chili powder
  • 2 tsp fenugreek seed powder
  • 2 tsp rock salt



  1. Cut the lemon into 1/8’s. Cover with salt water, bring to boil, remove and leave to cool.
  2. Place lemons in the syrup with all the ingredients. Confit at 80c till tender. Let it cool
  3. Strain the liquid, slice the skin thing and cut in julienne

Raw Jackfruit Poriyal


  • 1 cup Jackfruit Raw diced
  • 5-6 pc Curry leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp Asafetida
  • 1 teaspoon White Urad Dal
  • 1 teaspoon Chana dal
  • 2 Green Chilies slit
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Fresh coconut grated


  1. To start making the Raw Jackfruit Poriyal, place the jackfruit in a pressure cooker with 1/4 cup of water and pressure cook 15 to 20 min 0r 6 whistles and turn off the heat.
  2. Allow the pressure to release naturally. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a frying pan, heat oil on medium heat, add the mustard seeds and allow it to crackle, add asafetida, urad dal and chana dal and fry till they turn golden brown.
  4. Add in the curry leaves, green chilies, salt, turmeric powder, black pepper powder and the boiled raw jackfruit pieces. Give the Raw Jackfruit Poriyal a good stir till mixed well remove from heat.
  5. Add the lemon juice, grated coconut and mix properly


Tomato and Tapioca Papad


  • 1 cup Sago
  • 4 no’s Tomato
  • 6 no’s Green Chili
  • 1 inch Ginger
  • 1 no’s Lemon
  • 4 cups Water
  • 2 tsp Salt



  1. Soak the sago in water overnight or at least 7-8 hours, drain the water and transfer the sago in a heavy bottomed pan.
  2. Grind the green chili, ginger and salt in the mixer to a fine paste.
  3. Wash the tomatoes and chop them roughly and grind it to a nice puree.
  4. Add 4 cups of fresh water to the pan having sago and keep the pan on the flame and keep stirring till the sago becomes like a porridge. When the sago is nicely cooked, add the tomato puree and mix.
  5. Add the ginger-green chili-salt paste and stir well keeping the flame in medium. Stir for 7 minutes and add lemon juice, switch off the flame.  Spread evenly the mix onto a Silicon mat and place in the dehydrator till completely dry. Break it evenly.
  6. Heat oil in a pan till 180⁰, one piece at time till nicely crisp and crunchy.

Rasam Gel


  • 2 tsp Toor Dal
  • 2 tsp Coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp Peppercorns
  • 3 Red Chili
  • 10 Garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 tsp Gooseberry Size Tamarind
  • 1 Tomato Roughly Chopped
  • ¼ tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt Adjust As Needed
  • 1 tbsp. Coriander Leaves
  • 2 tbsp. Ghee
  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 5-6 pc Curry leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon of xantangum for a cup of rasam


  1. Soak tamarind in warm water for 10 min. Extract the juice and set aside
  2. Take Toor dal, coriander seeds, pepper, red chili, half of the garlic cloves, cumin seeds in a mixer jar. Grind it to coarse paste
  3. Heat ghee in a pan. Add remaining garlic cloves and sauté for about 2-3 mins.
  4. Add tomato and sauté. Add sautéed garlic and tomato to the sauce pan having tamarind water. Add Turmeric and salt .Add Coarse Spice Paste. Keep the rasam in medium flame. Allow it to cook for about 10 mins.
  5. Add 2 cups of water to adjust the consistency. Keep the rasam in low flame till a frothy layer forms on top.
  6. Add the chopped coriander leaves and switch off the flame
  7. Heat ghee in a pan. Add mustard seeds and cumin seeds to the pan. Allow it to crackle. Then add green chili and curry leaves and sauté for few seconds.
  8. Add this tempering to Garlic Tomato Rasam. Let it simmer for 10 min till al the flavors are infused. Strain through a muslin cloth in a cup. Let it cool. With a hand blender mix the xantan gum till it forms a thick gel. Transfer in a squeeze bottle.


































































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