What did the Pakistani players demand in the hotel in Ahmedabad? | The executive chef said, ‘Even I was shocked by the menu’, Babar Azam asked for a room with a riverfront view.
Ahmedabad3 hours agoAuthor: Kamal Parmar
This time there has been a lot of hype regarding the Cricket World Cup. There is also a match between India and Pakistan two days later, on October 14. So the excitement of the cricket fans is high, because it happened after 11 years, when the Pakistan cricket team set foot in Ahmedabad. Then the Pakistan cricket team is staying in a hotel in Ahmedabad, how is the atmosphere there? To find out, ‘Divya Bhaskar’ reached the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Ashram Road in Ahmedabad.
We met Surya Narayan at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. He has been alive for the past three years Working as an executive chef in a hotel. His family has been involved in the restaurant business for years. So Surya Narayan started cooking only at the age of eleven. As he grew older, he decided to make a career in this field. He started his career as a chef from Oberoi Tower Mumbai. Surya’s signature dish is pizza. He has a strong grasp of making Italian food.
Food prepared for President, Prime Minister, celebrities
Chef Surya Narayan said, ‘Since I have come to Gujarat, I have met many celebrities. Various dishes have also been served to him as per his demand and preference. I have cooked for the President of India to the Prime Minister. Apart from this, many Bollywood celebrities also come here and the spots team of many countries as well as the IPL team stay here, so I have prepared food for the cricketers of that team as well.’
Surya Narayan, Executive Chef, Hyatt Hotel
“It has been my experience so far that whenever cricketers stay in our hotels, they prefer protein-rich, nuts, fruits, seeds and juices. They don’t like oily food, so we take special care of this.’
When Kohli said, ‘I don’t eat dhonsa, I ate pieces and got a headache’
Recalling an experience with Virat Kohli, Surya Narayan said, ‘Virat Kohli is the star cricketer of our Indian team. They are very serious about their food. They take food on their plate according to their weight to maintain their body. Once when the Indian cricket team came for breakfast, I requested Virat Kohli to eat dhonsa, but he told me sorry… I don’t eat like that, but I was a bit stubborn so he tasted a piece of dhonsa, so much. Liked it. After that, for almost three days, Kohli only ate dhonsa for breakfast.’
Similarly, Indian team’s wicketkeeper batsman K. L.Rahul likes our hotel’s Alavi characters very much. Whenever they stay at our hotel, the first thing they ask for is the Alavi patras as soon as they arrive. While Hardik Pandya likes the characters of Khaman, Fafda, Alvi very much. Our hotel has a concept that “Hyatt Loves Local”. Therefore, wherever we have a hotel, we promote the local food there.’
Our hotel also has a hygiene laboratory. Our hygiene manager is also vigilant about the quality of food. Usually we cook delicious food for people, but we have to make healthy food for cricketers.’
A team of 60 chefs will prepare for the players
“Earlier New Zealand team stayed in Hyatt and now Pakistani team has stayed. We have created a team of 60 chefs to ensure that these cricketers get food according to their taste and preferences. The team consists of chefs from 15 different states. All these chefs know what to cook for the Pakistan team? And what kind of food is to be given to which player?’
A picture of the kitchen of Hyatt Hotel
Got the information a month ago, thus started the preparation
“We got to know about a month ago that Pakistan, New Zealand and England teams are going to stay in our hotel, so we started preparations since then. Every team manager was in constant communication through phone and mail regarding arrangements. When the New Zealand and Pakistan teams arrived, Garba theme was set to welcome them. As the New Zealand and Pakistan players came inside the hotel, the players on both sides of the entry began to dance to the beat of Garba. The staff greeted him with tilak and shal while welcoming him.’
“Whenever any team comes to our hotel, we prepare a balance menu. Also, each player has a different dietician, so their diet also changes, so we first meet with the team management. After that we change the menu according to their suggestion. We never think that this is the Indian team, this is the Pakistan team or this is the New Zealand team. For us, every person who comes to our hotel is the same. We feed cricketers with the same love and value.’
Pakistan cricket team reached Ahmedabad on Wednesday.
How are players’ rooms in hotels?
‘Usually we keep chocolates and other sweets in hotel rooms, but when celebrities and cricketers come, we usually don’t keep chocolates or other sweets in their rooms, as they are very conscious about their fitness. We have placed various fruits and farsans in the players room of Pakistan team. Apart from this, they have decorated with flowers and other things that they like.’
Pakistan players said, ‘Give me a room with a riverfront view’
When the Pakistan team arrived at the hotel, several players, including team captain Babar Azam, asked for a room with a view of the Sabarmati riverfront. Accordingly they were given rooms. We have made special arrangements for room pillows and mattresses separately as per their requirements, as some players have asked for soft pillows due to injury, while some have asked for hard pillows. It is our responsibility to fulfill the demand of the people coming here.’
Surya Narayan discussing the menu with fellow employees at the hotel
The year 2023 has been declared as the “Millet Year”. We have also kept the dishes made from millet in the Pakistan team menu. We made bread from bajri, jowar, ragi. Apart from this, we prepared various parathas for them from Millet itself and served them for breakfast.’
Even the chef was shocked by what the Pakistani players demanded for breakfast
About the menu prepared for the Pakistan team, Chef Surya Narayan said, ‘Pakistan team had come to our hotel since Wednesday evening. We thought they would demand a large amount of non-wages, but when they came for breakfast at 11 am on Thursday, I was with them. I myself was shocked to see him having breakfast, as the Pakistan team chose to eat only watermelon, pineapple, papaya and avocado for breakfast, along with salad, orange juice and parathas, despite the meat dishes. When some players ate an omelette. Some also tested Fafda, Jalebi, Khaman and Dhokla.’
“The Pakistan team had dinner in their room yesterday. In it, he ordered Ragini Rotli, Bajri Rotlo, Dal Makhni and Chicken Biryaya. On Thursday, he had a very late breakfast and therefore did not take lunch.’ A gym area has been prepared for team workout and fitness, where the Pakistan team will be able to work out. Along with this, a separate arrangement has been made for the passage area breakfast for the team.
How was the arrangement for the New Zealand team?
A few days ago, the New Zealand team came to the Hyatt Hotel. Talking about the team, Chef Surya Narayan said, New Zealand team players like western food more. Some time ago the New Zealand cricket team stayed at our hotel. Every player of this team demanded healthy food from us. Along with this, he also took orange juice and nuts. Team captain Camus Williamson was injured so we were given his diet plan. Accordingly, they were given food every two hours. England is also going to stay in our hotel in the coming days. We will give them food according to their demand.’
Surya Narayan has been holding the position of Executive Chef at Hyatt Hotel for the past three years. He has cooked for the President of India to the Prime Minister and many celebrities.
‘We have a lot of information on players’
When an international cricket team stays in any hotel, their performance increases. If a team returns from the stadium after winning, it is a player’s birthday, special arrangements have to be made. Chef Surya Narayan says, ‘Even if a common person comes to our hotel and we get to know about their birthday or anniversary, we immediately deliver the cake. When there is an event like the World Cup and the cricket team comes, all the details come to us, so we prepare special cakes for a player’s birthday, anniversary, if a player has performed well. In the meantime, if they demand food, we prepare it and give it at any time.’
Why does the chef of a five-star hotel go to the market and do a survey?
Surya Narayan said, ‘I believe that food is always linked to culture. Now that I am in Ahmedabad, it is very important for me to know what kind of food the people here like. What kind of test do you choose? What is available in the market, what vegetables are available. A survey has to be done in this regard. I myself go to the market for this work. After that we prepare the menu.’
‘When working as an executive chef in a hotel, one must have good skills along with experience in food and water. Besides, just making a dish does not finish the job. One should also know how to sell that dish or product.’
Surya Narayan said about his memorable experience, ‘Once there was a Test match between England and India cricket team in Ahmedabad. Then the Indian cricket team stayed in our hotel for 45 days. At that time, Anushka Sharma, who came with Virat Kohli, wrote a note and praised our hotel food.
“In my opinion, Indian food is the best compared to many dishes in the world. I love the city of Ahmedabad and Gujarati food.’ Surya Narayan, citing the low number of female chefs in India, says, ‘This is our mindset. There is no such situation abroad. When I was in Cambodia, 70 percent of the staff were women. In South-Asian countries like Thailand, Vietnam, women work more. It is the same in European countries.’