Montu Saini, India’s Chef-in-Chief

Prime Minister Narendra Modi pictured with visiting chefs of heads of state. Montu Saini, executive chef at Rashtrapati Bhavan is in the middle behind the prime minister

When Monsieur Gilles Bragard, founder of Le Club des Chefs des Chefs (CCC) accepted the invitation of President Mukherjee to come to India with his illustrious entourage comprising chefs of heads of state, there was one man who was working tirelessly behind-the-scenes – executive chef Montu Saini who wanted to ensure their visit was a glorious success. It took almost a year for him to organise this grand assembly. Bragard came in advance to vet every detail – from the seating plan of his contingent during the press conference, to each element of their wining and dining. Chef Saini candidly confesses that his “standards have gone up after working with Bragard”.

The CCC chefs are no less than the heads of state they serve so they needed to be given the same royal treatment. With a lot of support from the Indian government, and Bragard himself, Chef Saini prepared elaborate itineraries, chalked out routes with police commissioners, finalized menus, and zeroed in on luxury hotels across India for their stay. “Before I became the President’s chef, I knew all about Le Club des Chefs des Chefs. India had been a member since 1990 but nobody had everinvited them here. I wrote to Gilles informing him about my appointment. After completing all the formalities, he welcomed me to the club, and I in turn decided to invite CCC here. Since I work closely with the President, getting an invitation from him to them wasn’t that difficult.”

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