The inspirational story of this young chef who took the 2016 Rio Olympics by storm with his flavoursome dishes, will make you recall Ishan of “Taare Zameen Par”, a creative kid who had immense love for his art but not much love for studies. And like similar names, they also share similar stories and hurdles. Passionate about the ‘Art of Culinary Science’, adding new flavours and dimension to food, Chef Ishan has earned a lot of fame and reputation at a young age. The 25-year-old Chef Ishan Bahukhandi who has his roots in Uttarakhand had made the country proud by being the first youngest International Indian Chef undersigned as Master Chef of the Asian Cuisine at Olympic & Para-Olympic, 2016. This young chef has catered and supervised all the dietary requirements of the Indian and Asian Contingent at the Olympic.
In Ishan’s words, he is just 25 years old and it takes years to master the art of cooking but if you have talent and are passionate about it, then nothing can stop you from achieving your goal. After his selection as a Master Chef in the Rio Olympics, Ishan was worried about how he will manage such a big event without having Indian staff at bay, but he was determined to do his best and make his country proud. He believed in himself and gave his best shot as he wanted to do the best for his nation. After his rewarding journey as a Master Chef at 2016 Rio Olympics, he wants to tell other young chefs to listen to the call of their soul and hit the target.
As we all know that the road to success is not always easy, there are hurdles in between which will stop you from reaching your goal. And Ishan’s life didn’t spare him any well, being not so bright in studies, Ishan’s mother was always concerned for his studies and told him to study well otherwise, he won’t become a successful person. But because his love for cooking was bigger than his love for studies he continued his affair with spices and failed in class 11th. When he recalls the incident he feels sad as his family members were unhappy with his reports and scolded him for his bad performance and his lack of interest in studies. But ignoring all this, his mother came as a huge support for him and told him to “Never Give Up”. She told him to forget everything, except what you are going to do now and start working for it. His mother’s words struck him deep inside and it was then that the fuel for cooking started burning in his heart.
Ishan was born in New Delhi to a Pahadi family. He did his schooling from Siddharth International School, New Delhi and pursued his education in Hotel Management from Institute of Hotel Management, Meerut. He was inspired by local street food vendor’s in Old Delhi to take his love for food to an all new level. His mother like others wanted him to become a Doctor, Engineer or a Government Officer but Ishan chose the ‘Art of Culinary Science”. Apart from this, he is also passionate about automobiles, technology, photography, travel, fashion and history.
Taking his early cooking lessons from his mother, Ishan began his career around 2013 from the Taj group of hotels, The Lalit Hotel and Leela Kempinski. He is now the Executive Chef in R&D Department at Merino Industries Ltd. (Vegit Brand) a national leading brand, making Potato Flakes & Instant Snack Mixes, in the ready to cook market. He was recognised by the Government of Brazil and was given an opportunity to present Asian Cuisine to the President of Brazil Dilma Rousseff, Olympic athlete Usain St Leo Bolt, Sports minister of India Shri. Vijay Goel and Silver medallist PV Sindhu in 2016 Rio Olympics.
The engagement of the undersigned Head Chef of Asian Cuisine at Olympic, 2016 in association with the Sapore SA International, a Food & Beverage service Company, is was for the first time any such exercise is being undertaken by an Indian at the Olympics. It is worthwhile to mention here that the undersigned had been the part of a team of Chefs, which was catering to the dietary requirements of around 35,000 people during 2016 Olympics & around 7,000 people during 2016 Para-Olympics, including sportsperson as well as members & staff of the Olympic Committees across Asia. The undersigned has gained an enriching experience & exposure during a mega event like Olympics.