Dr. Chef Manjit Gill is a culinary professional par excellence. Reputed for his constant innovation in the world of gastronomy, his is a name to reckon with in the national and global hospitality and culinary industry. As the former Corporate Chef of ITC, his knowledge and experience comes from four decades of work in pioneering world-class restaurants curating traditional Indian food and drawing on the nation’s culinary diversity – bringing unmatched fame to concept restaurants like Bukhara – the north-west frontier tandoori cuisine, Dum Pukht – a grand cuisine from Avadh, Dakshin – the specialized cuisine of the four southern states of India, Kabab & Kurry – the best of pan-Indian kebabs and curry dishes, and the most recent Royal Vega – ‘honestly’ vegetarian cuisine based on the philosophy, principles and guidelines of Indian gastronomy (Ayurveda) served in royal style.
From designing the menu to curating the carefully selected Indian fare for world leaders, Chef Manjit Gill has had the privilege of serving former American Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, George Bush, and the French, Canadian, British and German premiers among many. Besides this, Chef Gill has passionately catered to the palettes of hundreds of global leaders at state banquets, held at ITC properties. He has also had the privilege of creating the famous Bukhara Pop Up in London in 2012 and at Singapore in 2015 and 2016 – all sold out events which drew the attention of international press and guests. In 1984, Chef Gill was the guest Chef aboard the luxury liner Queen Elizabeth II, serving Indian food to global dignitaries and 300 epicures. In 1992, Chef Gill had the opportunity of being invited to cook for Prince Charles and Lady Diana, at the Palace of the Maharaja of Jaipur.
In 1984, Chef Gill had founded the first national chefs’ forum in Delhi, and later, in 2003, he led the way by organizing regional forums into an amalgamated Chef’s body that is recognized by the Ministry of Tourism (Government of India) as the Indian Federation of Culinary Associations (IFCA). In 2004, Chef Gill also brought honour to our nation to get India membership of the 100-year-old world apex body of Chefs – World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS), with a current membership of over 100 countries. As India’s IFCA President, Chef Gill has successfully organized seven Biennial Chefs’ meets for Chefs in India, to meet Chefs from across the world, its known as International Chefs conference..
Chef Manjit Gill was the first Indian bestowed with the exclusive honorary membership of WorldChefs. He has recently been appointed the Chairman of the WorldChefs Committee on Cultural Heritage and Ethnic Cuisine. A teacher and a leader, Chef Manjit Gill, a much sought-after WorldChefs’ judge, is often called upon to evaluate culinary competitions in different countries. Chef Gill is also the member of prestigious professional organisations such as The Cookery & Food Association, Great Britain; Master Craftsman – Craft Guild of Chefs, Great Britain and Research Chefs Association, USA.
Chef Manjit Gill has authored books titled ‘Eating Wisely & Well’ published by Penguin India, Indian Spa Cuisine published by RoliBooks and Fire/Water/Earth/Air/Ether – Secrets of Indian Gastronomy, in 2012. Felicitated with several prestigious accolades, Chef Gill’s contribution to the culinary world has been recognized in India and abroad. In 1982, it was the face of Chef Manjit Gill that launched the first TV show on Indian food on Doordarshan in India, bringing culinary art to Indian homes of various regions. The highly successful AapkaNashta and Daawat, were followed by many other national and international TV programmes.
Drawing appreciation for his vast body of work as a Chef, in 2007, the Ministry of Tourism (Government of India) decorated Chef Gill, with the highest honour in the hospitality profession – The Lifetime Achievement Award – a first for a chef in India. He was Awarded Escoffier Medal in 2019 by the Worldchefs -World Associations of Chefs Societies. – This global award is given to a person have proven that they have shown a commitment to the profile and high standards of the Culinary arts and hospitality. Chef Gill has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of ARTS for his immense contribution in the field Cuisine and Hospitality.
Among other accolades, Chef received the Punjabi Gold Award from the World Punjabi Organization for his valuable contribution to Punjabi cuisine (2007); the prestigious Paryatan Ratan from Punjab University, Chandigarh (2016); and the Silver Certificate of Excellence in the Sheraton Culinary Olympics held in Boston, USA (1987). As an active member of the culinary academic scene, Chef Gill finds himself on the Board of Governors at the Indian Culinary Institutes (ICI) of the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, as well as Institute of Hotel Management – Pusa, New Delhi, Institute of Hotel Management, Gurdaspur and Food Crafts Institute, Hoshiarpur.
As President, IFCA, Chef Gill organized the first National Culinary Art Exhibition and Competition (1990). It is to his credit that in order to promote Indian Chefs and cuisine at the global competitions, he pioneered India’s participation at many world competitions that matter. Among his most important promotions of Indian Cuisine, was Chef Manjit Gill’s demonstration of Indian cooking styles to media and food lovers at Le Cordon Bleu, London (1993). Another notable promotion organized by Chef Gill was the organization and management of the Indian dinner at ITB Berlin for 5000 people (2005). Leading a team of several top Indian Chefs from various hotels, Chef Gill also curated all the major food events of India@60 in New York for India’s 60th Independence Day celebrations in USA (2006).
CII chose Chef Gill to lead his team from ITC-Hotels for a massive catering of various food events including a gala Indian cocktail dinner for 2000 guests at DAVOS, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum (2011). In the same year, Chef Gill showcased ethnic Indian cuisine for the international press and celebrities at the Luxury Collection Destination India Guide launch event with Waris Ahluwalia (An Indian-American designer and actor) at The Liberty, London for Starwood Hotels and Resorts.
Soon after, Chef Gill represented the Indian subcontinent at ‘The Taste Workshops and Theatre of Taste’ which highlighted Indian cuisine coupled with sustainable fishing practices, at Genova, Italy. He also participated in various workshops and seminars promoting Slow Food for the same, demonstrating to the world on spices, basmati cooking and the benefits of eating food with fingers – the traditional Indian way. While Chef Gill has been attending the Slow Food world conference ‘TerraMadre’ (Mother Earth) since 2004, he launched and conducted the India chapter of Terra Madre in 2015 in Shillong. Chef has recently launched the programme ‘To the Origins of Taste’ to encourage children to eat natural food, based on India’s Slow Food philosophy of taste.
Chef Manjit Gill has actively participated in the World Tour of Chefs against Hunger event (2011) organised by South African Chefs Association, where he gave presentations on ‘Taste as per Indian Gastronomic Philosophy’; and live demonstrations on ancient Indian food in South Africa. Through charitable activities, Chef Gill has sought to give back to society and has inspired others to do so. He initiated the charity concept Chef &Child (1995) – to generate money for Child Welfare which has become a national event that is emulated all over the country. Chef Manjit Gill is also on the board of Feeding India, an organization that campaigns and organizes events to alleviate hunger in the country.
The street food of India has been effectively promoted by Chef Gill while retaining its authenticity to successfully transplant this cuisine in the environs of luxury hotel business. The pantheon of great cuisines of the world with the well balance of six tastes, Chef Gill undertook his famous road show – the Kitchens of India – to many parts of the globe – and will be visiting San Sebastien Gastronomika event at Spain with his team of Chefs in October 2017.
Working with the Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), Chef Gill has organized workshops to train Chefs and food handlers on food safety laws, hygiene and sanitation. He is also driving force of FSSAI initiatives “Eat Right”, NetProFaN – is envisioned as a collective of professional bodies & experts in the areas of Food, Nutrition & Public Health to contribute to national efforts to improve the status of Food Safety & Nutrition.
With his relentless efforts for the last couple of decades, Chef Gill has brought pride on their own food to Indians – both among professionals and society-at-large. The Chef’s endeavour is to bring recognition to the Indian philosophy of food which is evolved on two pillars – wellness and sustainability – and to establish India as a culinary superpower with its vast ancient knowledge of healthy cuisine. In view of his philosophy, it is Chef Manjit Gill’s mission to teach the art of culinary as a way of giving back to society, and to create and mentor Chefs for the country – to make India the food destination of the world with various regional hubs.