Sid Ahuja, Executive Chef at Gymkhana

The people that make us!

Sid Ahuja, Executive Chef at Gymkhana

Sid Ahuja was probably born a chef. His favourite toys as a littlun in Delhi (India’s Northern food capital) were kitchen sets and utensils. At five years old he was brewing chai, by ten he’d decided to be a professional chef and at 13 was performing cookery demonstrations on television. And although he’s worked his way up to Executive Chef of Michelin-starred Gymkhana restaurant, he can still be found “on the shop floor” cooking every day. Eating too! He makes sure he tastes the 40-45 items on Gymkhana’s menu for each and every service, replacing the breakfast, lunch and dinner enjoyed by us civilians.

Sid has been heading Gymkhana’s kitchen for five years now, proudly maintaining its Michelin star and still going strong. It’s a tricky place to run: space is extremely tight yet they serve a large volume of covers. Busy services can feel like a pressure cooker. He first trained in India with Taj Hotels, then the more luxurious Oberoi group recruited him for a post-graduate course. He went to work at the Oberoi Udaivilas – at the time, rated number one hotel in the world by Travel & Leisure magazine. And from there it was a stream of transfers and promotions in the hotel sector until he joined JKS in Europe. He loves the multiculturalism of London, where people feel free to be themselves. With his all-Indian team, London’s renowned Indian restaurants, and areas such as Southall for shopping, the only things he misses about Delhi are his parents.

Since the disruption of the pandemic, Sid’s focus has been on training and developing his team. Gymkhana’s kitchen already has an excellent record of staff retention; now he wants to shape the team in a way he thinks best for the style of operation. Eventually, the ambition is to own his own restaurant, but it has to be the right time and right circumstances. For now, Sid loves JKS for its standard of cuisine and day-to-day connection with the owners. Food and Creative Director Karam Sethi is always challenging him with new ideas to help bring out his best – it’s one of the things Sid likes most about his work.

Favourite destination? Austria’s outstanding natural beauty
Regular table? Berenjak for Iranian food, and his neighbourhood Japanese spot
Downtime? More cooking! And looking after a baby daughter

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