When it comes to a diversity of Indian flavours, The Crossing at The H Hotel celebrates nostalgic moments through the art of cooking.
“At The Crossing, our aim is to redefine the culinary landscape of Indian cuisine – creating unforgettable dining experiences that delight our guests with exceptional flavours and impeccable service,” says Chef Jitin Joshi.
Joshi has also excelled in international events, guest lecturing, and leading Team India in the 2016 Bocuse d’Or competition in Singapore.
Having worked closely with highly-reputed chefs across the globe such as Gordon Ramsey and Jason Atherton, the chef has garnered his culinary skills over the years and even cooked for notable personalities such as King Charles III, David Beckham, Mick Jagger and more.
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By taking guests on a journey through India, Emirates Man spoke to Chef Jitin Joshi to understand how it all began.
Tell us about your background..
I was born and raised in India where I trained to become a chef, going on to work at the Oberoi hotel group for a few years. My culinary ambitions then took me to London, where I honed my skills under the tutelage of renowned chefs in Michelin-starred restaurants. I spent a few years in Dubai before returning to the UK, but I’m delighted to be back in the UAE with this unique opportunity to create amazing Indian cuisine not just locally, but take it around the world also.
You’ve previously worked with Chef Gordon Ramsay – what were some of the key takeaways from this experience?
Perfection was key. We strived relentlessly day in and day out to serve our food to the diners in the most perfect way possible and according to the standards set by Gordon and the Executive chef Jason Atherton. Mediocracy was not accepted, punctuality and discipline were essential and whatever the scenario, the ball could never be dropped. It was a challenging yet rewarding experience that taught me the importance of maintaining high standards in all aspects of my work as a chef.
When did you join The Crossing? Can you talk us through the concept?
I joined The Crossing in March this year as the Director of Culinary to develop and expand the Lemon Butter group. Our menu at The Crossing pays tribute to the vast railway network of India which not only connects places together but also people, cultures, and food too! At The Crossing, we embody the lesser-known cuisines from various parts of India and refined takes on much-loved family recipes. Whilst we do showcase ‘mainstream’ Indian cuisine, we also celebrate a more offbeat side of Indian food, from the Rajput kitchens to hidden gems from Northeast India to treasures from India’s seafood-rich coastline. In addition to traditional fare, we shine a spotlight on the foreign influence of past rulers, raiders and explorers that have historically found their influence work its way into Indian cuisine from places as far as the Caribbean, Portugal, France and Great Britain.
The Crossing shines a spotlight on dishes with a myriad of foreign influences – what are the key dishes to try?
Some of my personal favourites on the menu are the Heirloom Tomato Banarasi Chaat, the Vindaloo Lamb Chops and the Paneer Tikka with pine nut and chive chutney. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you can’t miss the Ledikeni Brioche Pudding, which combines the best of gulab jamun, rasmalai, bread ‘n’ butter pudding, and brulee in one decadent dessert.
The concept focuses on the diversity of India – tell us more..
Indian cuisine is incredibly diverse and rich. To showcase the breadth of this variety, we delve into regional recipes from households, restaurants, and street vendors alike. Our menu takes you on a culinary journey across various parts of India – from the vibrant flavours of Kashmir to the exotic dishes of the northeast, and from the authentic fares of Jharkhand, Kerala, and Maharashtra to the delicacies of Uttarakhand. Each dish listed on our menu proudly displays its place of origin, and some even have two locations based on their popularity or unique variations. At The Crossing, we have ventured across borders, immersing ourselves in a blend of cultures, habits, traditions, and, most importantly, culinary practices.
How would you describe your food philosophy?
My food philosophy is incredibly simple and revolves around three key elements: the ingredients, the treatment of those ingredients, and the art of spicing and enhancing flavours. I aim to incorporate these principles into my dishes on a daily basis and I firmly believe in the power of great taste and clean presentation.
What piece of advice would you give to up-and-coming chefs?
Knowledge is the key to success in this industry. Read plenty, ask questions on the job, don’t look for shortcuts. Repetition is the secret to improvement, and that’s what will make you better each day.
You’ve cooked for some notable personalities – name a few..
I have had the privilege of cooking for some truly remarkable individuals, including David Beckham, Ed Sheeran, Mick Jagger, Bill Clinton, Priyanka Chopra, Nick Jonas, Pierre Hermé, Prince Charles (now King), and Roger Federer.
What childhood memories do you have associated with cooking?
I used to assist my mother around the house, including helping out in the kitchen, however, I was never inclined to become a chef. It was destiny that guided me towards attending a hospitality college where I chose the path of becoming a chef. I dedicated myself to my training, reading books, and honing my skills through practice and applying them in the kitchen – this journey shaped me into the chef I am today.
The fondness of savouring my mom’s cooking always holds a special place in my heart, while the memories of enjoying street food and festive feasts evoke a deep sense of nostalgia, reminding me of just how soulful food can be.
How has the UAE supported your culinary journey as a Chef?
During my time in the UAE from 2011 to 2018, I had the privilege of leading renowned restaurants such as Amal at the Armani Hotel and Atmosphere on the 122nd floor of Burj Khalifa. My journey continued as the pre-opening Executive Chef of Taj Business Bay, where I had the opportunity to establish dining establishments like Eloquent Elephant, Bombay Brasserie, Miss Tess, and Tree House. I was also involved with the Farmers’ Market and made multiple appearances at the Dubai Eye studios, talking about food and the culinary scene of Dubai.
While in the UAE, I have been fortunate to encounter numerous opportunities that have marked significant milestones in my journey. The support and encouragement from my fellow industry peers, suppliers, and residents alike have been invaluable.
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What’s next in line for The Crossing?
The Crossing now has a little sister: The Crossing Bistro at the Galleries Lafayette Gourmet in Paris, launched just recently. We have expansion plans in the works for Europe and the US where we feel that there is a need for better representation of Indian food. I’m excited to be able to share our take on Indian cuisine with diners both near and far.