Chef Vikas Vibhuti brings with him over a decade of culinary experience, passion and expertise. He had a prolific stint with the Oberoi Group after Graduating in Hotel management from Bangalore University. He is an alumnus of ‘The Oberoi Centre of Learning and Development’ and has been trained at L’Ecole Lenôtre, Paris – the mecca of pastry innovation. Chef Vikas started his career as the Kitchen assistant at The Oberoi Bangalore and worked his way up as the youngest Pastry Chef at The Oberoi New Delhi, he has also worked at The Oberoi Gurgaon, Trident Bandra Kurla, Mumbai. His most recent key assignment was the successful re-opening of The Oberoi, New Delhi in 2018; where he has re-established the flagship patisserie The Oberoi Patisserie and Delicatessen to a newer benchmark. He was also part of the Ritz Carlton, Pune opening.
He has recently been appointed as the Brand Ambassador India for Callebaut, one of the finest Belgian chocolate brands. Chef Vikas is responsible for overlooking the bakery and confectionery at JW Marriott, Marriott suites and Courtyard by Marriott, apart from his involvement in food consistency and quality in the dining outlets; he oversees the promotions and budgets of the patisseries. Chef Vikas has learned and worked closely with several industry experts including renowned M.O.F and Michelin star Chefs and honed his skills in the art over the years. An expert pâtissier, he has received multiple awards in his culinary journey. In his leisure time, Vikas avidly reads management books, enjoys photography and the thrill of cycling.
What inspired you to become a pastry chef? You’ve been in the industry for quite some time. Would you have done anything differently when first starting out?
I always had an inclination towards refinement and creative aspects. Once I moved to a professional kitchen I was truly amazed at the work that was happening inside the bakery and it was quite satisfying and had a great sense of achievement when I got a chance to learn pastry making and bakery. I guess it’s intricacy and challenging skill set inspired me to be a pastry chef. If not pastry I would have been working in some other creative field.
What is the philosophy and ethos behind the food you create?
The philosophy and ethos behind the food I create truly revolves around creating memories.
What’s the latest trend when it comes to baking and patisserie? What is one food (pastry) trend you wish would just go away?
I quite often quote ‘pastry is the fashion capital of any kitchen’ and the trend changes quite fast however, it totally depends on the pastry chef and the demand across the segment he is catering to. I would say the trend of focusing more on ancillary aspects than on the key element should phase out soon!
What is your baking style and the philosophy behind it?
I focus on keeping the flavor profile and the texture alive. Ensuring to keep the sugar level low in all my products along with making the product more desirable with presentation and finesse.
What’s your favorite comfort food? What’s your favorite pastry or cake or baked product?
I am a big fan of local delicacies however a well stuffed paratha is my comfort food. And for dessert a perfect vanilla crème brulee with macerated sour cherries along with thin crisp biscotti ticks all the right boxes for me.
Who or what was your inspiration to become a pastry chef?
Chef William Curley has been really inspiring. He is amongst one of the most humble and knowledgeable pastry chefs whom I admired a lot when I started my career.
What is your advice to aspiring pastry chefs?
Keep it simple and get the basics right. Don’t just work to enhance visual appeal but focus equally to make it a memorable affair.
Would you consider yourself as an artist? Are you inspired by artists when you create your pastries? When you create different products everyday where do you get inspired from?
Absolutely! Not only me anyone who inspires to be in the pastry world has to be artistic, super creative and must be innovative to dispense the need that comes across on day to day basis. Inspiration comes through wider channels these days right from nature to happenings across the globe it’s infinite and situational.
The topic of local food, from smaller, specialized and personally known producers, is becoming more important. What are some of your local partners from whom you source?
We strongly believe in sustainability and the go local mantra, thus most of our ingredients are locally sourced however bakery being a very specialized wing demands specific ingredients which we source from top global producers.
What would you say is the key/winning feature of your creations?
The key feature of my creations is to keep things simple yet significant!
What are the most important considerations when crafting your menu?
It completely varies and mostly depends on the clientele, restaurant set up, theme and various other key deciding factors however it revolves around taste, flavor, texture, stunning presentation and it’s impact to create a lasting memory.
Have you ever considered being a vegan chef? How practical is it being a pastry chef?
Since the last few years I have been offering multiple selections for vegans in my menu and it’s been quite popular and has been a great learning too. Undoubtedly it’s the future!
What’s your signature dessert?
My signature dessert is a slow baked Belgian cake, a very rich dense chocolate dessert that been baked at low heat to get the desired mouth feel and taste.
How can restaurants/ hotels/ chefs communicate the approach of innovative sustainable plant-based food/ food chains to others?
Many chefs have and are still contributing to popularize sustainability by encouraging the highs of plant based food and it’s benefits to everyone on various platforms and obviously through their menus.