A foodie since childhood, Chef Vicky Ratnani has gathered many accolades in his career. But his mission has always been simple: to find places that make him happy, and to cook food that makes people happy. By Rashima Nagpal
A household name in India today, Chef Vicky Ratnani was born and raised in Mumbai. “We lived in a joint family, in a very cosmopolitan society. Everybody loved eating. All my aunts, and grandmothers, were champs at cooking,” he shares. That’s where his passion for food stems from.
Ratnani’s career took off soon after he graduated from the Institute of Hotel Management, Mumbai, in 1992. He worked as a chef on various cruise ships, including a royal appointment aboard the Queen Elizabeth 2 vessel. In 2010, he became the first Indian executive chef in the history of Cunard Line. Back in India, he spearheaded several culinary projects, from The Korner House by Chef Vicky, an all-day modern European restaurant in Bandra, to pop-ups, and a healthy-food start-up called Hello Green.
Today, the 53-year-old is called many things: food connoisseur, gourmand, celebrity chef. But at heart, he is simply a foodie who cannot get enough of a good biryani. For him, cooking is the best form of expression to make people happy. “It’s a mega universe of creativity, like an ocean— that’s the best part about it,” he says.
When we speak of a signature style, Ratnani mentions that he loves slow-cooking—roasting or braising— large chunks of meat. In his decades- long career, the spirited chef has donned many hats. He has authored a cookbook, Vicky Goes Veg, in 2013; hosted multiple cooking shows, including a web series called Vicky the Gastronaut; and whipped up meals for many famous personalities, including the late Nelson Mandela.
One of Ratnani’s latest ventures is Speak Burgers, a gourmet burger brand based out of Mumbai. On his travels too, food remains the number one priority, followed by adventure, partying, and shopping. Next on his radar is Latin America, which he finds fascinating for its cuisine. “I’ve already been to Peru and I can’t wait to travel to Colombia,” shares Ratnani. If he hadn’t become a chef, Ratnani says, he’d have been a photographer, DJ, and actor. We’re glad he followed his passion, and we’ll make sure you get a year’s worth of recipes and scrumptious recommendations from the man himself.