Mumbai-born Raunak Nanda has won this year’s culinary competition, a culinary competition and scholarship fundraiser for culinary students organized in collaboration with Lucas at Le Cordon Blue College of Culinary Arts, Intercontinental, San Francisco.
Ronak’s three-course menu has impressed Daniel Corey, the dinner judge, guest judge and Luce’s Michelin-star chef. As the winner of the competition, Ronak will work with Chef Corey in May to compete against four other teams from Intercontinental Property in the Ultimate Culinary Conflict in San Francisco. He also received a 1,500 scholarship.
In the March 23 finale, Raunak and his chef Kevin The, a colleague from the culinary school, served an appetizing dish of crispy pork belly and wild stripper with French gonochi for guests at the Intercontinental Luce. The dessert for the night was kumquat ice cream.
The competition invites students from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts to compete for the opportunity to cook with Chef Corey in Luce, and their menu is at the restaurant. Students submitted menus and related recipes by February 2014, and three finalists cooked in Luce to showcase their menus. The event judges included a panel of hotel executives, local personalities and food writers, as well as restaurant guests that evening.
After beginning his career as a flight attendant at Jet Airways, Ronak moved to San Francisco and enrolled in Le Cordon Blue’s Associate of Occupational Studies program in 2012 where he currently works to improve his skills. He dreams of owning a restaurant after returning to India. Now that he has won the competition, Ronak Luce is heading for cooking in the kitchen.
Ronak defeated student chefs Ruhi Johar and Austin Alexander, who finished second and third, respectively. Born in Bahrain, Ruhi is of Indian descent, although she is an Australian citizen who currently lives in the United States with her husband and daughter.
Born and raised in Mumbai, Ronak has always loved to eat and cook. He has done his schooling and junior college from Dr. SR School, Borivali and HR College of Commerce and Economics, Churchgate, respectively.
In addition to his favorite patisserie and baking classes at school, Ronak loves a combination of cooking and techniques. As far as Indian food is concerned, he considers it “as good as any other cuisine”. “Nowadays a lot of (Indian) food is being modernized. Indian food, with all the spices and herbs we use, is so versatile from north to south and from east to west that it would be fun to work with if modernized, ”he told this newspaper after securing a place in the finals.