The Culinary Journey of Chef R. Vijayan: A Master of Tradition and Innovation

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Chef R. Vijayan’s Culinary Journey: A Master of Tradition and Innovation


Early Life and Education

Born on April 16, 1983, in the quaint town of Ariyalur, Tamil Nadu, R. Vijayan was destined for the culinary arts. Raised in a family where traditional Indian cooking was a daily ritual, Vijayan’s fascination with food began early. His father, V. Ramalingam, often spoke of the importance of preserving culinary heritage, a lesson that would deeply influence Vijayan’s career. After completing his schooling, Vijayan pursued a Bachelor Degree in Hotel Management & Catering Science from C.S.I. Bishop Appasamy College in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, affiliated with Bharathiyar University. This educational foundation set the stage for his illustrious career in the hospitality industry.


Starting the Culinary Journey

Vijayan’s professional journey began in 2004 at The Phoenix Entertainment in Chennai. Here, he honed his skills in basic kitchen operations and guest service. The vibrant and challenging environment of The Phoenix laid the groundwork for his understanding of the hospitality industry. His dedication and passion quickly caught the attention of his superiors, who recognized his potential for growth in the culinary world.


Stepping Stones: The Leela Palace and The South Indies

In 2005, Vijayan joined The Leela Palace in Bangalore, a move that significantly broadened his culinary horizons. At The Leela Palace, he was exposed to high-end culinary practices and a diverse range of cuisines. The rigorous standards and elite clientele pushed Vijayan to refine his skills and innovate continuously. After two years, he moved to The South Indies in Bangalore, where he delved deeper into South Indian cuisine. This experience was pivotal in shaping his expertise in traditional Indian cooking, which would become a hallmark of his career.


Gaining Recognition: Four Seasons and Maruthappa Restaurant

Vijayan’s talent did not go unnoticed, and in 2008, he joined Four Seasons Mumbai. Working with an internationally renowned brand, he gained invaluable experience in global culinary standards and practices. His time at Four Seasons was followed by a position at Maruthappa Restaurant in Singapore from 2008 to 2010. This international stint enriched Vijayan’s culinary repertoire, exposing him to new techniques and flavors that he would incorporate into his own cooking style.


Rising Through the Ranks: Citrus Resort and Lemon Tree Hotels

Upon returning to India, Vijayan joined Citrus Resort in Goa as an Executive Chef in 2013. His leadership and innovative approach to menu planning and kitchen management brought fresh acclaim to the resort. The following year, he moved to Lemon Tree Premier Aerocity in New Delhi as a Senior Sous-Chef. At Lemon Tree, Vijayan played a crucial role in standardizing recipes, training staff, and ensuring the highest levels of food safety and hygiene. His contributions were instrumental in elevating the hotel’s culinary standards.


Key Achievements at Keys Hotel and Sterling Holidays

Vijayan’s career reached new heights when he joined Keys Hotel Kochi in 2014 as an Executive Chef. His tenure was marked by significant achievements, including a 10% increase in the F&B budget for the financial year 2016–17 and improved customer engagement across various platforms. As a pre-opening team member, he was instrumental in menu creation, staff recruitment, and training.

In 2017, Vijayan took on the role of Executive Chef at Sterling Holidays Elk Hill Ooty & Yercaud. His strategic approach to menu planning, cost control, and staff development led to numerous awards, including “Leader Of The Quarter” and “Special Recognition” for food cost management. His ability to conduct successful food festivals and promotional activities further cemented his reputation as a culinary innovator.


Innovations and Research

A significant part of Vijayan’s career has been dedicated to research and innovation. He has been deeply involved in researching traditional Indian food, particularly focusing on Dravidian village cuisines. His efforts to modernize and present these traditional dishes in a contemporary manner without compromising their authenticity have been widely recognized. Vijayan’s innovative approach has led to the creation of unique fusion dishes that appeal to modern tastes while preserving traditional flavors.


Impact on the Culinary World

Vijayan’s influence extends beyond the kitchen. His leadership in implementing FSSAI standards and HACCP systems has set new benchmarks for food safety and hygiene in the establishments he has worked with. His strategic initiatives in customer engagement have significantly improved the guest experience, as evidenced by positive reviews and higher ratings on platforms like TripAdvisor,, and Goibibo.


Personal Philosophy and Future Aspirations

Chef Vijayan believes in the continuous evolution of culinary arts. His personal philosophy revolves around balancing tradition with innovation, ensuring that each dish tells a story while meeting contemporary standards. Fluent in English, Hindi, Tamil, and Malayalam, Vijayan’s communication skills have enabled him to train and inspire his teams effectively.

Looking ahead, Vijayan aims to continue his research into traditional Indian cuisines and explore new ways to bring these flavors to a global audience. He envisions a future where culinary traditions are preserved and celebrated while embracing modern techniques and trends.

Chef R. Vijayan’s journey from a small town in Tamil Nadu to becoming a celebrated executive chef is a testament to his dedication, passion, and innovation. His career is marked by significant achievements, continuous learning, and a deep commitment to culinary excellence. As he continues to explore and innovate, Vijayan’s contributions to the culinary world will undoubtedly leave a lasting legacy.

ALSO READ : The Culinary Journey of Shashank Vinay Amare : From Mumbai to Master Chef

Ahmed Mainul

My self Ahmed Mainul Mondal, and 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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