At 26, Ajai Sharma is a creative chef, writer, speaker, podcaster, and inspiration to many who want to do things differently.
Ajai’s passion for cooking came from the delicious food prepared by his grandmother and he mentions that “If God had intended us to follow recipes, he wouldn’t have given us grandmothers.”
According to him, Cooking is a great de-stressor because of its creative nature and is full of flavors that can be played with. He believes that mixing things together to make something delicious takes ingredients from their original state and transforms them into something totally new so that you don’t need a silver fork to eat good food and all that’s needed is your fingers to lick the food on your plate.
Born in Meerut, moved to Saudi Arabia with his parents at an early age and came back to Manipal, India, for his BHM from Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration, and reached his dream college The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), Hyde Park , New York to complete his associate degree in Culinary Arts.
His association with some big brands like Hilton hotel-Doha, Qatar, Park Hayat-Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Taj Palace Hotel, Mumbai, India, Michelin star restaurant Gramercy Tavern, NY, SONA by Priyanka Chopra Jonas, NY, and Café Altro Paradiso , NY groomed him to take any challenge in cooking from French to Arabic to Indian cuisines. He says that “Food is a necessary component of life. People can live without Renoir, Mozart, Gaudi, Beckett, but they cannot live without food.” Ajai specializes in multi-cuisines as he loves to experiment with his mouth-watering dishes. He has done various fusion experiments to give new dimensions to the art of Culinary.
The young chef was featured in WOKAL magazine for October 2020 issue and appeared on a talk show on Radio Mirchi USA as well. Choosing a career as a chef gave rise to criticism but that has made him stronger. He is proud of addressing himself as a ‘Baawarchi’ to break Indian stereotypes.
During the interview, Ajai told how his life had been a roller coaster ride from India to the United States, but he loves exploring new things in pool life. Something that motivates him is the belief that “It’s not about where you come from, it’s about where you are heading to.” He wants to give new heights to the legacy of Indian cuisine and wishes to start his Indian restaurants in the streets of Manhattan. Further, he added that he is very much influenced by the cooking art of Chef Sanjeev Kapoor. He considers himself Eklavya and Chef Sanjeev Kapoor as his Dronacharya. He got the opportunity to interact with many top chefs in the industry but to date, he is waiting to get the blessings of his Dronacharya.
‘The Culinary Epic of Jeddah’ which tells the tale of an Arabian Gateway is Chef Ajai’s first effort as a writer. His book was blessed by Chef Vikas Khanna and is available at various stores and on online platforms like Amazon and Kindle. He has also launched his podcast show ‘Bite in with Baawarchi’ on Spotify during lockdown which features Chefs, foodies, and people from the hospitality industry, who share their food memories and experiences. The podcast has millions of listeners in over 20+ countries worldwide and has made him Spotify of the Year. In his leisure time, he loves to sketch and read books. He has a vast knowledge of cooking and the origin of different types of cuisines. To share this knowledge with the world he plans on launching another book. So, stay tuned to his social media platforms for more exciting content and updates!!
At the conclusion of the interview, Ajai says that – “I cook, I create, I’m incredibly excited by what I do, I’ve still got a lot to achieve