Ankit Pilania: From Humble Beginnings to Culinary Excellence – The Journey of a Renowned Executive Sous Chef

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Ankit Pilania, born on July 13, 1983, in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, is a celebrated figure in the culinary world. His journey from a passionate young cook to an esteemed Executive Sous Chef is a testament to his dedication, skill, and relentless pursuit of excellence.

Early Life and Education

Ankit’s culinary passion was evident early on. He completed his schooling in Uttar Pradesh, passing his 10th grade in 1997 and 12th grade in 1999. Following his passion, Ankit pursued a Diploma in Food Production from the Food Craft Institute, under the National Council for Hotel Management & Catering Technology, New Delhi, in 2002–2003. He also holds a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree from C.C.S University, completed in 2002.

Initial Steps in the Culinary World

Ankit’s professional journey began in April 2004 at Fortune Select Global, Gurgaon, where he joined as Commis II. As part of the pre-opening team, he gained foundational experience in food production and kitchen operations. His next stint was at Trident Hilton, Gurgaon, from December 2006 to September 2007, where he worked as Commis I, further enhancing his culinary skills and knowledge.

Ankit’s career took an international turn when he joined Norwegian Cruise Line in Miami, USA, from October 2007 to August 2009. This role exposed him to global culinary standards and practices. Ankit was responsible for maintaining high hygiene standards, ensuring food safety, and producing quality food in large quantities. His ability to work within strict timelines and coordinate with a diverse team significantly improved during this period.

In May 2010, Ankit returned to India and joined Fortune Select Excalibur, Gurgaon (ITC Pvt. Ltd) as Chef de Partie. He was responsible for all food production in Zodiac, a 24-hour coffee shop. His role included managing kitchen staff, handling ordering and costing, maintaining daily inventories, and ensuring customer satisfaction. Ankit’s efforts were instrumental in the successful operation of the coffee shop.

Ankit’s next significant role was at Kempinski Ambience, New Delhi, starting in April 2012. Initially joining as Chef De Partie, he was soon promoted to Jr. Sous Chef. He played a key role in the pre-opening team for The Bridge, a 24×7 dining restaurant serving Modern European and Mediterranean cuisine. Ankit prepared recipes, coordinated food cost reports, and handled food production for banquets and conferences. His interaction with guests and feedback incorporation were pivotal in improving food quality.

Leadership Roles and Significant Contributions

At Jay Pee Palace, Ankit worked as Sous Chef, managing the coffee shop kitchen and three outlets: Mexican, I.R.D., and Grand Buffet. He maintained high hygiene standards, designed new menus for festivals and promotions, and trained staff. Ankit’s coordination with other departments ensured smooth operations and high guest satisfaction.

Ankit’s role as Sous Chef at The Leela Ambience involved staff training, maintaining ISO 22000 standards, and managing food requisitions. He designed new continental recipes for special events and successfully handled large banquet events, showcasing his organizational and culinary skills.

At J.W. Marriott, Ankit served as Sous Chef and led a team that ranked #3 in Marriott APAC for Food Quality scores. He developed the Long Stay Loyalty Program for foreign guests and set positive examples for guest relations. Ankit empowered associates to provide excellent customer service, implemented Marriott’s safety standards, and participated in training programs to enhance safety procedures and loss prevention.

Adapting and Thriving During COVID-19

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ankit faced the challenge of being laid off in May 2020. However, he adapted by working in a cloud kitchen, serving as a private chef, and providing training to standalone restaurants. From November 2020 to December 2021, Ankit worked in Germany on short-term contracts with Indian Palace, The Steak House, and Bachstüb’l. He upgraded restaurant menus, food quality, hygiene standards, and kitchen management, further broadening his international experience.

In January 2022, Ankit joined DLF Golf Course and Country Club, Gurugram, as Chef De Cuisine. He was responsible for conceptualizing and executing operations for all F&B destinations, recruiting and monitoring team members, and creating culinary packages for international tourists. Ankit’s leadership and culinary expertise resulted in a 100% departmental team engagement score.

In May 2023, Ankit was promoted to Executive Sous Chef (Head Chef) at DLF Crest Club Gurugram. He leads the preparation of innovative and creative cuisine, ensuring high-quality presentation and flavor for dining rooms, banquets, and other food facilities. Ankit is responsible for guest satisfaction, smooth kitchen operations, profit management, stock waste control, hygiene practices, and training within the kitchen.

Achievements and Certifications

Throughout his career, Ankit has been recognized with numerous awards and certifications, including:

  • Manager of the Month at JW Marriott Chandigarh in January 2018 and January 2019
  • Spirit to Serve Certification by Arne Sorenson, CEO of Marriott Worldwide
  • Guest Voice Champion of the Year in 2019
  • Manager of the Year in 2019
  • Train the Trainer program completion at Kempinski International
  • Certified Trainer in F&B Production at Fortune Select Excalibur, Gurgaon
  • Best Departmental Learning Coordinator in 2010 at Fortune Select Excalibur, Gurgaon
  • Best Employee of the Month at Norwegian Cruise Line in January 2008
  • Best Employee of the Month twice at Fortune Select Global, Gurgaon, in 2005
  • Selected to produce food for the President of India during a presidential visit

Ankit Pilania’s journey from a passionate young cook to an accomplished Executive Sous Chef is a testament to his dedication, hard work, and commitment to excellence. His diverse experience, both nationally and internationally, has equipped him with the skills and knowledge to excel in the culinary industry. Ankit continues to inspire and lead his team, creating memorable culinary experiences for guests and setting new standards in the art of cooking.

ALSSO READ : Manoj Rawat: A Culinary Maestro’s Journey from Kitchen Assistant to Executive Chef Extraordinaire

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Ahmed Mainul

My name is Ahmed Mainul Mondal, I'm the founder of the hospitality career profile website. I'm writing blogs and news posts as per user preferences.

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