From Meerut to Manhattan: Story of a young emerging chef Ajai Sharma

By Aleem Shah

Published: Thu 15 Sep 2022, 4:32 PM

Last updated: Fri 16 Sep 2022, 3:18 PM

Ajai Sharma is a self-made chef who has won the hearts of many with his delicious cuisine. From wanting to become a cardio surgeon to becoming a chef, this thriving young individual has come a long way. Born on December 12, in the city of Meerut, Sharma developed a passion for cooking at the tender age of 10, after watching his mother cook. For Sharma, she is his biggest inspiration and supporter. Even though he has spent most of his life in Saudi Arabia, he has always been close to his Indian roots and is from an elongated family of teachers. He loves social work and feeding people in need. Speaking of his educational background, he completed his bachelors in hotel management from Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration, Manipal where Chef K Thiru (head of the institution) became his mentor and after that, he attended the Culinary Institute of America to get an associate’s degree in culinary arts. Apart from this, he has also been trained in a French restaurant and specialises in multi-cuisine. He dreams of starting his Indian restaurant one day. When it comes to his professional career, he has worked with top restaurants like Gramercy Tavern; a Michelin Star restaurant in New York, and SONA which is owned by global superstar Priyanka Chopra Jonas in New York City. During his career, he has met a lot of top chefs like Chef Vikas Khanna, Chef Micheal Anthony (executive Chef Gramercy Tavern), and Chef Maneet Chauhan (celebrity chef).

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Unlike any other professional career, being a chef is different, yet difficult because it hasn’t achieved landmark status. Sharma has faced a lot of such struggles and criticism from people but that has never pulled him down. Moving to America has been a turning point in his life. His life motto is 'Be fearless' and he wants to break the stereotypes by referring to himself as Baawarchi. Through cooking, he wants to tell a story about food. His journey from Meerut to Manhattan has been a roller coaster ride, and he is still exploring by trying something new every day as he quotes, "It’s not about where you come from, it’s about where you are heading to."

Sharma is an inspiration to many. Apart from cooking, the multi-talented person has published his book ‘The Culinary Epic of Jeddah’, which tells the tale of an Arabian Gateway, along with his podcast show 'Bite in with Baawarchi' on Spotify. It features chefs, foodies, and hospitality giants who share their experiences working in the industry. The podcast has millions of listeners in over 20+ countries. In his leisure time, Sharma loves to sketch and read books.

Aleem Shah is the director at Reddwings Production.

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