Speakers- Dialogues


Chef Ranveer Brar is an Indian celebrity chef and TV show host born in Lucknow. Today he is an International TV sensation with a succession of hit television shows including Breakfast Xpress, Snack Attack, Homemade, The Great Indian Rasoi, Thank God It’s Fryday and Health Bhi Taste Bhi. He was a judge on the last season of MasterChef India. He is currently writing his first book.

Speaking on: Cultural Responsibility and food ecosystem

dialogues-vicky-ratnani-1Chef Vicky Ratnani is an explorer & a lover for flavour & taste. He has been chef for the most prestigious ocean liner company Cunard and thus helmed the largest kitchen at sea. He has cooked for celebrities such as Queen Elizabeth, Nelson Mandela, Rod Stewart amongst others. Chef Vicky owned and operated two leading restaurants in Mumbai, Aurus & Nido. Chef Vicky is the author of the best-selling and award-winning vegetarian cook book “Vicky Goes Veg”. Chef Vicky also hosts several food shows on television. He is currently working as Culinary Director for Everstone Capital and is responsible for Harrys Bar all over India.

Speaking on: The 5 Big International food trends in 2017dialogues-kunal-vijayakar

Kunal Vijayakar is an Indian film actor, director and television personality who hosts the food show “The Foodie” on Times Now and the comedy spoof show “The Week that Wasn’t” on Comedy Central.

Speaking on: The 5 Big Indian food trends in 2017





Rahul Akerkar: Rahul Akerkar started his culinary journey 35 years ago working in many of New York’s top kitchens, over a ten-year period during the 1980s. He returned to India in 1989 and since then, has been busy changing the way we eat.  Known for setting industry trends with his creative, ingredient-driven cuisine, and warm attentive hospitality, Rahul’s award-winning restaurants secured his position as one of India’s first successful, chef-restaurateur entrepreneurs.  Among his many accolades, he was featured in Asiaweek’s Survey of “Kitchen Gods” in 2001, and was 28 on San Pellegrino’s List of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2013.  More recently, he won Chef of The Year at the Times Food Awards 2016, Mumbai. He has been guest chef in several kitchens around the world, authored numerous articles, and frequently consults to the food and hospitality industry.

Speaking on: The next chapter in Indian restaurant business

dialogues-ajay-chopraChef Ajay Chopra: Quirky, fun loving and larger than life! An acclaimed culinarian and his success mantra #lovepraycook has seen him grow as a Modern Indian Chef. His conviction and diligence has conferred him as one of the most celebrated chefs in the Indian television and food industry.”

Speaking on: Evolution of a chef- the journey and learning






Antoine Lewis: Antoine Lewis lives to eat and writes to live. As a journalist, he’s spent the last twenty years digging through culinary histories, sniffing out emerging food trends and eating his way through India’s best, and worst, restaurants. Every week millions of listeners tune in to 94.3 Radio One’s Good Morning Mumbai to listen to him talking about food and books.  He is also one of the directors of Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai International Lit fest. He is often mistaken for curly-haired celebrities and hopes to turn into one himself.
Moderating: The rise of the Weekend Chef

dialogues-saranshSaransh Goila: One of India’s youngest celebrity chefs, Saransh Goila is the founder of Goila Butter Chicken. He is the author of the bestselling travelogue “India on my platter” and a tv show host. He is known for his shows Health Challenge and Roti Rasta aur India which helped him get a place in Limca book of records for the longest road journey by a chef.

Speaking on: Creating a niche out of one of India’s famous dish


Rushina Munshaw-Ghildiyal is a Culinary Expert, Writer & Corporate Food Consultant from India with years of experience in the Indian food industry. One of India’s pioneering food bloggers, today, she heads of A Perfect Bite® Consulting, a premier food consulting firm and APB Cook Studio®. An expert in Ingredients & Cuisines, Food History & Stories, Knowledge solutions and Culinary Experience Curation, she is also Brand Advisor to International Culinary Entities.

Speaking on: My affair with Indian ingredients 

Varun Inamdar: Overall, 15 years of work experience as a trained multi-cuisine chef, chocolatier, food stylist and a cookbook author.Off which 7.5 years he has headed operations at Oberoi Hotels and Resorts, India.

Has served  Queen Rania of Jordan, The Royal family of Al Sabah, Al Thani, Al Khalifa and Al Saud in the Arabian Gulf, Barack Obama, Nicholas Sarkozy, Vladimir Putin, Richard Branson  in the West;  Ambanis, Khans, Bachchans and Kapoors amongst many others.
Known as ‘ The Prince of Chocolates’ and ‘The Bombay Chef’ by fans and followers worldover.
Cocoa Brand Ambassador appointed by Government of Ecuador since 2014 till date.
Represented India to Vietnam Cocoa Revolution in March 2016.
As an author, documented the best-seller ‘Celebrate Life, Food and Wine’
Food stylist for Bloomsbury USA, UK and India.
Part of ‘Make in India’ campaign by Narendra Modi as a chef promoting healthy food for PepsiCo.
Curated Charity Gala Dinner for Smile Foundation and Virat Kohli Foundation.

Speaking on: The Chocolate Story- innovations, palate, cooking

dialogues-irfan-pabaneyIrfan Pabaney: Starting my career with Rahul Akerkar in his first restaurant venture called Under the Over which was in kemps corner, as well as in the Kuteeram Retreat in Bangalore (1992 – 1996) I did a course in pan Asian food from the At Sunrise academy in Singapore before my stint with Seijo & The Soul Dish and worked at various restaurants during my career including Indigo & was corporate chef of Hakkasan & Yauatcha before joining hands with Rachel Goenka to start our own restaurant, The Sassy Spoon, in February 2013. We opened our second restaurant in November 2014, and our patisserie and bakery, Sassy Teaspoon in May 2016. So far, It’s been an amazing journey and we hope to open a few more interesting restaurants!

Speaking on: Baking Trends 2017

dialogues-nikhila-palatNikhila Palat: With over 15 years of experience in the luxury and lifestyle industry, recently turned entrepreneur, Nikhila Palat is the CEO of Katalyst Reputation Management, a company specialising in Public Relations, Marketing, Digital and Design solutions. Katalyst within its first year now handles over 30 of the country’s top brands
Nikhila has been the head of Marketing, Public Relations and Communications for the country’s most iconic hotel – The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai, Taj Wellington Mews, India’s premiere luxury serviced apartments, The Imperial Club by Taj and the flagship of the Vivanta hotels – Vivanta by Taj President, Mumbai.
An MBA in Marketing, she is armed with a diploma in Creative New Media and the Web from Harvard University, Boston. Furthermore, she is currently pursuing a second MBA from the reputed Glion University in Switzerland.
With her multitude of experience, she only takes on brands she strongly believes in and offers them her complete attention in order to help grow their brand in the competitive Indian market space. A former-National champion in tennis and even a Miss India finalist, Nikhila has donned many a hat, however her dream was always to be a successful CEO and with Katalyst Reputation Management, she is one step closed to actualising her dreams!

Speaking on: Successfully managing food brands and personalities

dialogues-anees-khanChef Anees Khan: Has trained under the Swiss Master Pastry Chef Beat Loffel, who is credited to have changed the patisserie kitchen in India. Soon after he became the Head the Pastry kitchen of The Leela, Goa, where he managed the millennium festivities and mastered fusion and Asian desserts. A year later, chef Anees joined Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada, as their Chef De Partie and brushed shoulders with some of the best talents in Canada. Anees returned to India in 2001 and joined hands with celebrity chef Moshe Shek in Mumbai to set up his bakery kitchen, and design desserts for his various delis, cafes and restaurants. He then moved to Goa, to join The Leela again, as their Pastry Chef. During his tenure here, he served among many other high profile guests, then US president Bill Clinton and his entourage. In 2007, he was invited as the Pastry Chef for Kilimanjaro Hotel Kempinski, Dar Es Salaam, to revamp their patisserie and impart training. He also served the likes of President George Bush and International cricketers. During his stint here, he received recognition as the best pastry chef in the region. In 2010, he returned to Mumbai to pursue his dream of setting up premium catering company. He set up Star Anise Fine Foods & Leisure Pvt. Ltd. (SAFFL), bringing to it his 15 years of culinary experience working for several International five star hotels across the world.

Speaking on: Baking Trends 2017

dialogues-nitin-tandonNitin Tandon: A chef, restaurateur and a food stylist for almost 25 years! He recently won the Best Food Stylist at the ZEE Living Foodz Powerlist Awards 2016. He was also listed among Top 50 Masterchefs of India in 2012 by Indian Chef Association. Nitin successfully ran three restaurants in Mumbai. Every Mumbaikar would boast about his Asian food at Lemon Grass and Pot pourri and Seijo & the Soul Dish. With so many years of F&B experience he also provides consultation to restaurant owners for their menus, kitchen set up, business plans and styling. For Nitin, food is an experience that caters to all senses. As an artist at heart, he believes beautiful food makes the experience much more delicious. His expertise lies in styling food for fine dine restaurants and cafés, print ads, TVCs and feature films. At Nitin Tandon Food Styling Company, he inspires, encourages and guides the entire team. He wholeheartedly gives opportunities to budding stylists by bringing them on board and sharing his knowledge with them.

Speaking on: Food photography and styling

dialogues-neha-sethiNeha Sethi: Investment banker turned baker, Neha Sethi took Mumbai’s food lovers on a journey in her Sweetish House Mafia “Nano Food truck”. Since then, she has expanded from a single nano to 6 outlets across the city. In doing so, she has made cookies mainstream! Her story shows that following your dreams is the surest path to success.

Speaking on: Evolution of a chef- the journey and learnings

dialogues-ashish-bhasinChef Ashish Bhasin: Executive Chef – Trident, Bandra Kurla, Mumbai

‘A happy heart makes happy food’ is the philosophy that Executive Chef Ashish Bhasin wakes up to every morning. An IHM Pusa, New Delhi graduate with over 18 years of experience in the culinary industry, Chef Ashish specializes in western cuisine and ensures that each dish he creates reflects his passion for food.

Born and bought up in Ajmer, Rajasthan, Chef Bhasin began his career with The Oberoi Group to open one of the country’s most iconic restaurants, Threesixty°, at The Oberoi New Delhi. As part of his research, he travelled across the world, sampling cuisines from the by-lanes of Bangkok to the Michelin starred restaurants of Hongkong. This exposure widened his horizons as a chef and enriched his awareness about global cuisine.

Post his stint at The Oberoi, New Delhi, Chef Bhasin has led the kitchen teams at Trident, Udaipur followed by The Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur and then The Oberoi Sahl Hasheesh, Egypt before joining Trident, Bandra Kurla, Mumbai.

An avid team player, he doesn’t consider what he does every day as ‘work’ in the traditional sense of the word- instead, Chef Bhasin feels his workplace is where he gets to spend time with friends and they cook a meal together.

On a mission to spread happiness through food, Chef Bhasin has now embarked on the next leg of his culinary journey in the city of dreams as Executive Chef at Trident, Bandra Kurla, Mumbai.

Speaking on: The journey towards becoming an informed and ethical food blogger

dialogues-gitika-1Gitika Saikia: A marketing professional person who decided to hang her decade long corporate career to pursue her passion to create an identity and awareness about the unexplored North East Indian cuisine and culture. All these, through her food popups in conducted in New York, Mumbai, Pune and Kolkata to promote the cuisine, runs a gourmet pickle brand Gitika’s PakGhor and a food show host too. If not in the kitchen, she will be seen supporting her favourite F1 team.

Speaking on: The rise of the weekend chef


With over 25 years in the industry, Mohit has been a successful business leader, retailer and a brand builder across diverse businesses that he has worked with.

In his previous role at Godrej, as the Managing Director and CEO of Godrej Nature’s Basket (a position he has just moved out of), he shaped, scaled and led the business from its infancy to being one of India’s finest food and grocery retail destinations. Prior to this he was responsible for and closely associated with the sharp positioning and growth of Subhiksha, one of india’s early retail start ups.

Before his move into leadership positions in the retailing industry, he has held positions of importance with several well-known consumer facing brands and organisations such as Titan Industries; Reckitt Benckiser and Tube Investments of India.

He currently heads Retail strategy for the Godrej group where he is working with businesses across the group and closely involved with the launch of a few new lines of business. Mohit is a Mechanical Engineer and an MBA in Marketing and is based out of Mumbai, India.

Speaking on: The rise of the weekend chef

nikhil-merchantNikhil merchant:

Just to reconfirm, the panel topic I am part of is:-
“The journey towards becoming an informed and ethical food blogger” from 10:30AM to 11:45AM, please do let me know if there is any other information you would like to convey to me or any brief?
Meanwhile please find attached my profile picture and the brief as below:-
“Nikhil Merchant is a food writer, restaurateur and culinary whiz whose decade old association with the food world began with his love for cooking and writing. He writes for his blog ‘Nonchalant Gourmand’ and has regular features in luxury publications around the world. When he is not writing or travelling he stirs up new beginnings in the restaurant business”
Speaking on: The journey towards becoming an informed and ethical food blogger

dialogues-sonal-hollandSonal Holland, India’s first and only Master of Wine and most qualified wine professional, is a certified wine educator, broadcaster, judge and wine consultant.

She is the Founder of SOHO Wine Club that aims to deliver expertly curated wine selections, tutored tastings and finely curated wine experiences to highly discerning consumers in India.

She founded Sonal Holland Wine Academy in 2009, which today is India’s foremost institution offering certified WSET wine courses and consultancy to leading hotels and the trade. As the wine & beverage consultant to ITC Hotels, India’s second largest luxury hotel chain, her focus has been to elevate the Hotel Group’s wine cellar offerings, host exclusive wine events and mentor a cadre of wine-certified professionals for their speciality restaurants. Her pioneering digital channel Sonal Holland Wine TV, dedicated to wine education and entertainment, has been awarded for its innovation in content creation by the Digital Women Awards in 2015.  Sonal Holland has been regularly featured among the Top Women in Wine in India by the Indian Wine Academy, and has also been listed among the Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Indian Luxury by BlackBook in 2015. Sonal enjoys being on the judging panel at international wine competitions, and regularly authors wine articles for leading lifestyle and business publications. She is an in-demand speaker and is often seen at conventions and corporate seminars fascinating her audiences about the wonderful world of wines. Sonal shares her love of wine with financial wizard husband Andrew Holland. Their 7 year-old daughter Rianna can’t wait until she is old enough to join in the fun.

Speaking on: 3 key consumer trends in wines that impact the hospitality industry

sweta-mohanty-2Sweta Mohanty:
It all began in 2010 for Sweta Mohanty, when she decided to leave behind a successful career in finance industry to follow her passion. What was her passion 6 years back, has become her profession today!! An MBA, followed her love for Beverages as a lead wines and spirit trainer and has done over 3000 ++ trainings across the country for various leading premium and luxury alcohol brands with the five stars and on premise staff, discerning consumers and corporate clientele. To fuel her passion she has completed her Wine and Spirits Education Trust, London – Level 3 in 2013. She is a known and popular face in the Mixology Circle where she has been teaching finer nuances consumers on the new beverage trends and the right way to mix and shake your cocktails.

She loves her job because it is her first passion. Her next passion is talking and can have meaningful conversations on her love for beverages. That’s not all, in her free time she also cooks, writes and blogs on food and beverage trends.

Currently, she works in the Marketing / PR Department and is also the Brand Trainer for Aspri Spirits, a Leading Importer representing Fine Wines and Spirits in India and Subcontinent.

Speaking on: Global Cocktail Trends

himanshuChef Himanshu Taneja: Executive Chef, JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu, Chef Himanshu Taneja began his culinary journey in the year 2000. Having worked over 15 years in the industry, Chef Himanshu brings extensive experience in handling operations, staffing and training, developing and implementing concepts and new trends. His passion, experience, sensibility and dedication to food in all its forms have seen him evolve and develop into a dynamic personality, adapting to various roles.Trained at Orient Express, French Fine Dining of Taj Palace Delhi, Frangipani and Rotisserie at the Oberoi Towers, Raj Vilas by Oberoi Hotels, Jaipur

Chef Himanshu began his career at The Leela Kempinski, Mumbai which exposed him to the gastronomic Italian dining operation and onward to The Oberoi Towers in Mumbai. He joined the Taj Land’s End where he was responsible and actively involved in setting up the Vista – all day dining outlet as well the in-room dining and butler service. He come into the JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu family in 2010 as Executive Sous Chef and was named the Executive Chef in 2013. His career highlights include consistently winning the Times Food Guide award of the Years-10, 11 & 12 for All Day Dinning, Italian restaurant and Bombay Baking Company.

“Do simple things right” is Chef Himanshu’s philosophy on food. He draws his passion for cooking from Chef Michel Roux, the master chef renowned for his expertise in French food.Born and brought up in India, Chef Himanshu loves simple, honest and authentic food and working with French flavours. He counts listening to music, spending time with family, cooking & trying out new cuisines & restaurant, innovating new recipes amongst his interests.

Speaking on: Food Presentation with Nitin Tandon