The Style Talk with Sujoy Gupta, Executive Chef – St James’ Court, a Taj Hotel & Taj 51 Buckingham Gate, Suites and Residences

The Style Talk with Sujoy Gupta  Executive Chef St James’ Court a Taj Hotel & Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites and Residences
St James’ Court, a Taj Hotel & Taj 51 Buckingham Gate, Suites and Residences offers a unique variety of Asian cuisine, making it a home away from home. Recently, we had the chance to visit the space and try out their special offereing and trust us! The whole experience was breathtaking for us. Who can imagine having the taste of mindblowing Chinese cuisine in the heart of London. But all thanks to the Executive Chef – Sujoy Gupta.
Mr Dutta started working with Taj in January 2005 at Taj Bengal until 2015. In the year 2015 he became the executive chef at Taj Maid Bhawan Palace and lured the crowd till 2019. At the start of 2022 Sujoy joined the team in London as the Executive Chef at St James’ Court, a Taj Hotel & Taj 51 Buckingham Gate, Suites and Residences and since then his culinary art has been receiving immense praise. In a recent tete-e-tete with him, we learnt a lot about him. Have a look:
  • What is the most important lesson you have learnt in your career span?

In this industry it is all about working smartly, and knowing your targets. Knowing the numbers in terms of financial data is extremely important to run a successful business! Innovation within the industry also means I am constantly learning – there are always new trends to discover and they are constantly evolving. It is crucial to stay up to date on these things so we can deliver the best experience to diners. Team management has to be very good too, and understanding every person in your team is really important so you can grow together as a team and offer outstanding service. The most important lesson of my career is that the guest’s voice is the only route to success. 

  • What inspired you to explore the culinary industry?

During my school days I used to visit a grand hotel in India and I was fascinated with the creative work and passion for food that the chef had. Visiting here made me think this is an industry I would like to be involved in. Something I will always remember is the sculptures made out of butter and carvings made in fruits and vegetables – that was really exciting to see. The white uniform in the hotel really caught my eye too, it attracted me the first day I saw it in the hotel.  

  • What are challenges that you often face as an Executive Chef? 

One challenge is time management, working in a busy kitchen means timing is everything. There is a lot of pressure that comes from managing and satisfying everyone’s palate with your recipes and presentation – but being efficient and working with a strong team really helps with this! Another challenge to consider is running a cost-effective kitchen, we have to always consider inflation and the effect that has on the increased cost of raw materials that we use in our recipes.

  • What would you say is biggest reward?

The rewards for the job are fantastic – I love it when every dish comes out of the kitchen looking perfect, it is a great feeling. The job satisfaction at the end of a busy day when everything has been executed excellently is brilliant. Especially when the guests tell you they feel that way too! It is brilliant when the department meets the goals of the hotel, it really motivates the team. The ultimate reward for me is smiling happy guests when they have experienced and enjoyed the innovation and creative dishes on the menu!

  • Tell us some of your favourite ingredients to work with.

Any fresh ingredients are always my first choice to work with. Fish is my favourite, as it is so delicate! In terms of spices I love cumin, ginger, fresh green peppers and turmeric.

  • What are some of the most unique or experimental dish on the menu?

Our menu is exciting and diverse, I would say:

  • Mushroom, Cheese, Truffle Oil dim sum 
  • Crystal Pickled Vegetable dim sum 
  • BBQ lamb cumin and chilli –  Pan fried marinated tender lamb skewers, cumin, chilli
  • Crispy lamb – Crispy fried lamb tossed, chilli, garlic, sesame oil
  • Yu Xian fresh black cod – Chinese spice flavoured chilli
  • Roast duck, black truffle oil sauce –  Duck in garlic sauce, truffle oil
  • Sichuan Wagyu beef, hot chilli broth – Wagyu beef boiled with spicy chilli garlic sauce, schewan pepper corn, tender stem broccoli, served with steamed jasmine rice 
  • Soya pigeon rose rice wine sauce- Game, pigeon poached in rose rice wine and soya sauce 
  • Flame grill quail – Game, quail marinated with lemon grass, lime leaf galangal,
  • Citrus – Lime and yuzu mousse, lemon compote (Dessert)

Elements –  Chocolate marquise, caramelised pineapple orange gel, pineapple filo (Dessert)Flaming Duck

  • What are some of the challenges of cooking Chinese Cuisine in London?

One of the challenges is that diners have different preferences when it comes to Chinese cuisine and how it should taste. At House of Ming we offer dishes that are inspired by regional Sichuan and Cantonese cooking, our dream is to serve our customer food with an unrivalled taste.

  • What is your vision for House of Ming?

I would love it to be the guest’s first preferred Chinese restaurant in London. If a diner feels like a perfect Chinese meal, I want them to think House of Ming. 

  • What are some of the challenges of opening a new restaurant in a competitive city like London?

When opening a new business there are always timelines you need to meet which can be stressful, but as long as we can deliver excellent food, style and service then we know we have done a good job.

House of Ming Sujoy

  • What made you open House of Ming?

At Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites and Residences, and St James’ Court, A Taj Hotel we have a dynamic range of dining options from our award-winning afternoon teas at Kona, to global cuisines in TH@51 and Michelin starred Indian dining at Quilon there really is something for every guest and visitor who walks through our doors. The original House of Ming restaurant in New Delhi has seen wonderful success and to bring the story of the Ming dynasty to London, along with culinary additions specific to the city. House of Ming is an exciting new journey of flavours and cuisines for us.

  • Tell us about your signature dish.

At House of Ming in London we have an incredible selection of dishes to suit all palettes. All our dishes are inspired by regional Sichuan and Cantonese cooking,  our own unique creations and recognisable House of Ming favourites from the original restaurant in New Delhi. 

In terms of Chinese dishes that are the absolute must try’s – our incredible selection of Dim Sum is very popular with diners, as well as the Spicy Soft Shell Crab and succulent Yu Xian Fresh Black Cod. In addition, our sweet and sour crispy fried pork tossed with onion and peppers in a sweet and sour sauce, the BBQ Lamb Cumin and Chilli and Sichuan Wagyu Beef, Hot Chilli Broth are extremely well received too.

It would be remiss of me to not mention the Peking Duck, this is undoubtably a classic dish and one of the most popular in Chinese cuisine – at House of Ming we offer a half or full duck, and for those looking for an elevated experience in our private dining room we also do a flaming duck which is impressive.

  • What are your favourite food trends right now?

One of the many wonderful things about Chinese cuisine, is that the majority of the ingredients used in the dishes are plant based which means you don’t have a really heavy feeling after you have eaten your meal. Not only this, but the textures and flavours found in Chinese cooking are recognised globally, and the traditional flavours can often be found in all different types of cuisines.  

People’s lives are busier than ever now, and when cooking at home people are looking for quick and easy meals to prepare that don’t compromise on taste. The Chinese way of cooking is very adaptable to this trend and has influenced many cooking methods around the world.

The House of Ming is a unique place that oozes the Chinese flavour in the best way possible. Located in St James’ Court, a Taj Hotel & Taj 51 Buckingham Gate, Suites and Residences, the place not only is one of the most popular destination to grab the Chinese exotic food but also exposes us to the culture of the nation.

By: Arshiya Gauhar

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