The Game of Flavours

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Chef Devendra Bungla, corporate pastry chef, Hyatt Regency, New Delhi, is known to add his own unique touches to his recipes. In his 35-year career stint with the Hyatt, he has won many accolades for his work and continues to be the reason behind Sidewalk’s success

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Chef Devendra Bungla

As a pastry chef, Devendra Bungla possesses the rare ability to play with every aspect of taste and texture. No wonder then he looks upon baking as a game of flavours. He has been with the Hyatt Regency, New Delhi since 1982, and has deeply invested in teaching his staff while continuing with his innovations. Speaking about how he got into the profession, Chef Bungla says, “I was initially interested in joining the army but was equally passionate about art, science, architecture and desserts. I decided what I wanted to do on the day I prepared my first roti. Baking fascinated me since I was a kid and I always looked upon it as a form of art. Experimenting with flavours in cooking is like a game for me whether it’s baking cakes, making chocolates or creating a dessert. With encouragement from his family, he started working at a local bakery in Dehradun before making a move to Delhi and applying for a kitchen apprenticeship at a leading five-star hotel.

The F&B industry has seen a complete shift in the role of a pastry chef. Not restricting to creations it also involves a lot of planning, from start to seamless execution. Chef Bungla states that with the hospitality and F&B sector changing constantly, his roles and responsibilities have also changed over the years. “Apart from researching and developing new recipes, as a corporate pastry chef for Hyatt Regency Delhi, I am also responsible for supervising and training other chefs in the kitchen, preparing budgets alongside mastering the art of designing desserts, etc,” he adds.

In his long association with the hotel, the chef has bagged many awards, the most prominent being Top Chef’s Lifetime Achievement Award 2016. He shares, “Since I have been associated with Hyatt, I have bagged the awards for Best pasrty chef, Corporate Pastry chef of Asian hotels etc. I have always tried to experiment with different flavours and create new dishes to surprise our patrons with new innovations.”

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Despite such a long experience in the sector and abilities to cover all spectrums of his profession, Chef Bungla prefers to rely on authenticity, techniques, tradition and lastly his intution to create something new.

Speaking about the major trends in the industry today, he shares, “The major trend in the industry today is healthy snacks and desserts. Everyone from a kid to a 70-year old is so health conscious these days, they don’t want to have anything that has a lot of calories in it. So as a pastry chef, it becomes very important for me to prepare a dish for them, which is healthy and low on calorie but equally satiates the palette of my customers.”

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He further adds, “The biggest challenge of a pastry chef is that you can’t just throw things together. When you are working with baking powder and a formula, you have to be really careful on the quantity and techniques, or else everything can go wrong. Another challenge faced as a pastry chef is the non-availability of quality raw materials and the demand and supply chain ratio.”

While speaking about the challenges he doesn’t forget to add about the importance of innovation. “Innovation is the most important part of any industry as the customers also look out for new and innovative tastes. At Hyatt Regency Delhi, we keep trying to come up with new dishes and flavours to keep up with the expectations of our patrons,” he comments. He feels happy to see young aspiring chefs in the kitchens as he can sense that the profession has come a long way. Now with dedicated chefs for desserts, he says young professionals in this field have a bright future.

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