A connoisseur in the art of cooking, a perfectionist to the core, a strict disciplinarian, and a true leader, Chef Davinder Kumar – Chef DK for close friends, colleagues & associates – has played a key role in bringing the chef’s profession and the artists behind it recognition and rewards. He has played vital role in promoting Indian cuisine globally. A national tourism award winner himself, Chef DK was the master brain behind the most popular annual Chef Awards, the mega annual event of ICF into a brand over the years.
Young Davinder wanted to pursue some professional courses after completing his Commerce degree programme from Delhi University. There were hardly many vocational programmes available in the country forty years ago. It was from one of his friends, who was employed in the Oberoi’s , that Davinder came to know about the chef’s profession. He didn’t think twice before enrolling into Oberoi Centre of Learning & Development (OCLD) for 3-years Kitchen Management diploma programme. His family was not very happy with his choice, but didn’t object as well. “It was an upcoming profession not much recognized nor respected at that time,” he concedes. After completing the diploma, he was absorbed by the Oberoi Group. And because of his passion in French language, he was sent to Paris for a specialization programme in French cuisine. Two years at Lycée Technique d’Hotelier in Paris transformed him into an accomplished artist in gourmet cuisines. “The exposure that I got here expanded my horizons,” he says.
Chef DK worked with the Oberoi Group for 12 years. He was made the Executive Chef of the Oberoi InterContinental (now the Oberoi New Delhi) in 1982 at the age of 29. “It was a time when hotel kitchens were ruled by foreign chefs. It was quite challenging task for me, but with God’s grace I took up the challenge and was able to achieve success,” he recounts. Chef DK left the Oberoi Group and joined the opening team of Le Méridien, New Delhi in 1985 as Executive Chef and is currently working as the Vice President (F&B Production) and Executive Chef of the hotel.
Chef DK who gets motivated and inspired by people who have done well in their life and achieved major milestones, himself believes in dreaming and working hard to realize those dreams. He has written several cookery books which are used as reference books by many aspiring chefs & professionals in the trade. He has authored ‘Kebab, Chutney & Bread’; “Just Kebabs: Celebration of 365 Kebabs & one for a Leap Year’, ‘Soups’, and ‘Four Seasonal Salads’. “I always believed in giving my best to my friends and the fraternity,” he said.
A strong believer in culinary innovations, Chef DK is recipient of many honours and accolades. The 7500 kg cake that he and his team created during the 10th anniversary of Le Meridien New Delhi has found a place in the Limca Book of Records. His presentation had won a medal at the International Cooking Festival held in Tokyo, Japan, in 1983. He was bestowed with Golden Hat Chef Award and also the Best Chef of India award by Ministry of Tourism, Government of India at National Tourism Awards.
Known for his leadership qualities, Chef DK has the distinction of serving the Indian Culinary Forum (ICF), a fraternal body of Chefs in the Northern region, for 18 years now. Even after spending long four decades in the hotel kitchen, his passion for the profession and love for the trade is still intact.
“I salute this profession which made me what I am,” came his final punch!
His mantra – “Cook from heart with passion, love & attitude” D.K.