Akhil Raj Rajan is the pastry sous chef of Mott 32 Dubai, a venue recognized in the Michelin Guide Dubai 2023 and a Toque Award winner. Here, the talented chef tells us what sparked his interest in pastry.
How did you become part of the pastry world?
For the past 12 years, I have immersed myself in the hospitality industry. I was inspired by my uncle who served as an executive pastry chef at a prestigious Dubai-based catering company. Witnessing his culinary wizardry from an early age sparked a sweet inspiration within me. Although I initially pursued a career in electronics and communications, it didn’t resonate with me. Thus, I decided to follow my heart and venture into the world of pastry. Consequently, I discovered my true passion and haven’t looked back since.
Achieving a Guinness World Record in 2019 for making the most varieties of Portuguese desserts on display was an amazing accomplishment. How would you describe your creative process?
The incredible recognition came after three consecutive days of sleepless nights and endless shifts, leaving me with no time to prepare. However, my creative process is often impromptu. Thus, I tend to veer off path, resulting in an outcome even better than anticipated.
What drew you to the renowned Mott 32 and how are you contributing to its success?
I’ve been part of the Mott 32 team since the early days in 2022. Thus, we took on the monumental task of organizing and planning every aspect from the ground up. Our unwavering commitment to excellence has driven us to maintain exceptional quality standards and creativity. Additionally, we prioritize fostering a peaceful and productive atmosphere.
How do you keep up to date with the latest trends while staying true to your traditions?
In a world where social media reigns, there is growing demand for new and enhanced versions of desserts. Brands should pay attention to trends to stay relevant and attract new customers. As a chef, my desserts are rooted in traditional methods and the knowledge passed down through culinary training. Balancing trends with respect for culinary heritage and industry standards is crucial in creating innovative yet traditional culinary creations. By doing so, we can embrace the evolving landscape of dessert-making while staying connected to our roots.