Chef Willi’s Restaurants & Consultancy

Chef Willi’s Restaurants & Consultancy

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About Chef Willi’s Restaurants & Consultancy:

Within Chennai the restaurant business is a growth industry and yet due to various reasons the quality offered in standalone establishments cannot always match up to expectations offered by starred hotels within the city. There is certainly a dearth of quality stand alone restaurants operating, with most existing incorporated close to the center of the city. The market for quality establishments offering European cuisine is still very wide open with a lot of growth movement, that can easily accommodate our planned restaurants and even newer players entering the field.  We operate restaurants within Chennai and in other national or international locations enabling employment of staff from within India to fulfill the culinary delights of patrons and fulfill the cooking wishes and desires of Chef Willi.

Willi Willson, known as Chef Willi, has established “Chef Willi’s Restaurants & Consultancy” whose purpose is to operate restaurants and other establishments principally under the name of “Chef Willi’s” restaurants and carry out Consultancy work in established or new operations that will benefit from his experience. Our Consultancy will be based on the principle of quality food products based on more healthy formulas produced under the auspices expertise of Chef Willi in a market field where he has been a larger than life player for over 15 years.himself or as deputized to his assistants.  This creates a strong basis for the company and together the right team of advisors, some good backers, a great marketing team and Chef Willi himself, it will be enough to send this company into solid growth and establish a very form foundation in the Chennai market. We wish to build on this experience to help other operators, for a fee, and to also be able to operate our own establishments. Finally we as a company are extremely interested and keen to be able to transfer our knowledge and bring forward the young Chefs of India within our establishments or within dedicated training schools and academies. This is very close to Chef Willi’s heart and one of the foundation stones on the new company. Future development may see the company expand overseas or interstate, into Karnataka or Sri Lanka and we would plan to firstly own and operate a minimum of two restaurant businesses that will operate in Colombo or in proximity to the city, being no further afield than Kandy and secondly, to bring into being training school(s) in the field of hospitality and cooking to be carried out by the principle or associates within this country. First though we must get Indian operations up and running and with a secure and bright future ahead, we trust we can fulfill all hopes and expectations with becoming a strong Employer, an Employer of change, an Employer of training and improving skills and an Employer that both staff and guests are very proud to be associated with! We are a peoples’ Employer!

chef-willi-logo
chefwilli2

About Chef Willi’s Restaurants & Consultancy:

Within Chennai the restaurant business is a growth industry and yet due to various reasons the quality offered in standalone establishments cannot always match up to expectations offered by starred hotels within the city. There is certainly a dearth of quality stand alone restaurants operating, with most existing incorporated close to the center of the city. The market for quality establishments offering European cuisine is still very wide open with a lot of growth movement, that can easily accommodate our planned restaurants and even newer players entering the field.  We operate restaurants within Chennai and in other national or international locations enabling employment of staff from within India to fulfill the culinary delights of patrons and fulfill the cooking wishes and desires of Chef Willi.

Willi Willson, known as Chef Willi, has established “Chef Willi’s Restaurants & Consultancy” whose purpose is to operate restaurants and other establishments principally under the name of “Chef Willi’s” restaurants and carry out Consultancy work in established or new operations that will benefit from his experience. Our Consultancy will be based on the principle of quality food products based on more healthy formulas produced under the auspices expertise of Chef Willi in a market field where he has been a larger than life player for over 15 years.himself or as deputized to his assistants.  This creates a strong basis for the company and together the right team of advisors, some good backers, a great marketing team and Chef Willi himself, it will be enough to send this company into solid growth and establish a very form foundation in the Chennai market. We wish to build on this experience to help other operators, for a fee, and to also be able to operate our own establishments. Finally we as a company are extremely interested and keen to be able to transfer our knowledge and bring forward the young Chefs of India within our establishments or within dedicated training schools and academies. This is very close to Chef Willi’s heart and one of the foundation stones on the new company. Future development may see the company expand overseas or interstate, into Karnataka or Sri Lanka and we would plan to firstly own and operate a minimum of two restaurant businesses that will operate in Colombo or in proximity to the city, being no further afield than Kandy and secondly, to bring into being training school(s) in the field of hospitality and cooking to be carried out by the principle or associates within this country. First though we must get Indian operations up and running and with a secure and bright future ahead, we trust we can fulfill all hopes and expectations with becoming a strong Employer, an Employer of change, an Employer of training and improving skills and an Employer that both staff and guests are very proud to be associated with! We are a peoples’ Employer!

chef-willi-logo
chefwilli2

Our Vision

We shall be offering consultancy services that are vibrant, varied and found across a broad spectrum of international cuisines specializing with Asian influences that will consistent, quality driven and driven by the health of our clients. A large part of our business plan will be in teaching and developing the young cooks of Chennai, incorporating career classes and hobby classes to develop and broaden the skill set of learners and more experienced persons interested in taking up a career in the cooking field. The basis for the restaurant shall be on past and existing staff members who have worked with Chef Willi, bringing continuality and consistency to our product while targeting guest groups and individuals who have interacted with Chef Willi over the years that he has been living in Chennai. There is a strong market for a down to earth, well operated establishment that believes in its customers, believes in its product and believes in guest service in standards that are comparable as those found in much larger establishments with greater resources behind them, to those found internationally by our guests who travel and experience these standards.

Favourite

Special Recipes

Dosai with flavor of ghee and coconut chutney and sambar

Breakfast

Dosai with flavor of ghee and coconut chutney and sambar
Fried eggs, fried bacon, toast, fresh tomato salad, cup of coffee or tea

Royal BreakFast

Fried eggs, fried bacon, toast, fresh tomato salad, cup of coffee or tea

Willi’s Upcoming Projects

The strategy of the company shall be to position the restaurant within the city area that will fulfill a niche that we see within the Chennai market. While there are a number of good restaurants opening up within the city, none have home cooked European quality items that we will be producing.  The restaurant shall have an open seating planning with contemporary table ware offering a range of dining options for the diner who is expecting unobtrusive service and great home style foods. Home styled in this case is meaning the use of herbs and spices to enhance the flavours of each dish, reducing starches and salts resulting in extremely tasty and healthy dishes utilizing ingredients and produce mainly found within India itself. Utilizing the name of Chef Willi already well known in the Chennai market and further afield, is going to be one of our major strengths, a person who is well established on the cuisine scene in Chennai with a loyal following that will form a basis for the restaurant. Add to this very personalized interaction that will come with proprietor and chef on site and the formula lends itself to creating a much patronized and well respected establishment.

We shall position the restaurant in the mid-market to slightly upper, offering contemporary European dishes, based around the Mediterranean area, with influences of Asian and offerings from cuisines that are familiar to the proprietors. We shall be predominately offering classical cuisine with large influences of vegetarian cooking, based on freshness and the minimal use of accompanying largely unwarranted garnishes. Expansion is very much looked for, both in Chennai and beyond and utilizing the services of Cooks and Service staff who have been with Chef Willi over the years and with whom there is a unique rapport with. A successful restaurant must and can only operate when there is a consistency with the kitchen and service sections that is found by creating a unique and loyal team interested in redefining food and offering the discreet but very professional service standards that restaurant guests have come to expect and even demand this day and age. Keeping it simple but stylish is another strategy and our third strategy is to not overload with our resources so that all benefits may be passed onto creating an extremely satisfying encounter with our guests.

Photo Gallery

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About Chef Willi The Person

Everything in Willi Wilson’s life has been accidental; from becoming a chef after joining the army to moving from his hometown in New Zealand to Australia to China and finally making India his home.

Popularly known in the hotel circles as ‘Chef Willi’, (he is now the chief operating officer, food and beverages at Burgundy Restaurants, Fresco Gelato and Tuscana Restaurants) Wilson was born in a lower middle class family in a small town in New Zealand. His family could never afford a holiday or exotic food when he was a child. The only holiday in the weekends were the visits to his grandmother, and the only food he had was what his mother provided at home.

After a small stint as a horticulturist, he joined the army at 17. But what awaited him was not the battlefield but the kitchen.

“I was a bad soldier but the army gave me good training in cooking. It happened accidentally. One of the first people I met was an English sergeant who had won some medals for his culinary skills. The way he made pastries amazed me. He showed me what cooking was all about, and cooking suddenly interested me. Luckily, I was put in the mess by chance.

Soon, I was sent to train in international cooking in a hotel in New Zealand. And that changed my life forever.”

As days passed by, the joy he derived from cooking grew by leaps and bounds; so did the desire to learn the culinary practices of other countries. At 21, he left the army and went to Australia to be a chef. Then he went on to Great Britain and Germany. After 1987, he started traveling all around the world, and that is how he reached China and became the executive chef at the Sheraton.

His mother was initially happy that he had a job. As he started working in hotels all around the world, his mother became really proud of him. But not his friend’s mother, chuckles Willi. “She asked me one day, ‘Willi, in which pub are you working?’ That was the time I was the chief chef in a five-star hotel and 180 cooks worked under me. But her question brought me back to the ground!”

After the Tiananman Square incident, Willi decided to leave Beijing for Singapore. The next destination was the newly renovated Oberoi Grand in Kolkata as the chief chef. That was in 1996.

“I wanted to be in a place that was different from Singapore, New Zealand and Australia. India, and Kolkata, seemed to be a land of excitement,” remembers Willi. But his Scottish wife didn’t share the excitement, and she left for Scotland after two months in Kolkata, only to come back after he moved to Goa.

Kolkata was the City of Joy for him “despite the slums, the traffic and red flags. The poverty did not shake me as I was in China before I came to Kolkata. More than that, more of my interactions were with the people who worked with me. I had a tough time in China as I had to educate the Chinese workers more than I did in India. And I still cherish the long walks I had from the bridge over the Hooghly river. It was a tough but friendly city.”

It was at the Oberoi that he also got the name ‘Chef Willi’. The name stuck and even today, people call him that. “When I came here [Chennai], many people asked me, are you not Chef Willi from the Oberoi?”

One thing he will never forget about Kolkata is the love and warmth he received from his team. He recollects with amusement his shock when he saw his kitchen staff shouting “Chef go home, Chef go home…” outside his office.  A couple of weeks later, when they greeted him, ‘Hello Chef, how are you?’ he said, ‘I thought you wanted me to go home’. “No, no… don’t worry. You are always welcome here and we want you here but when the union man makes us stand there and shout, we have to do that!”

That was Willi’s first exposure to “red flags and Communism” and he describes this as “Communism with a human face”! Most of them are Willi’s friends even now. After three years, he bid goodbye to the Oberoi Grand, red flags and Communism, and moved from Kolkata to Goa. “It was a different experience altogether. My wife, who joined me in Goa, and I, used to go down to the beach and have coffee every evening! However busy I was, we used to go for a half hour walk on the beach.Those were wonderful days, very relaxing. On the other hand, you don’t have any such place to relax in Kolkata.”

After Goa, it was the Leela at Mumbai. And in 2002, he moved to Chennai to take care of the Park with the intention of going back in six months. “But here I am. It is 2010 and I am still here in Chennai.”

From being a chef at the Park, he decided to take charge of food and beverages at Pink Papaya Foods in 2006. Why this change? “With the untimely death of my wife, I had only my cat as company. I had no family, and I was going through a real tough time. I did not want to work from morning till night. I was tired of hotels as it was my work that prevented me from spending enough time with my wife when she was ill. I wanted to take a break and travel to unknown countries. If I am a chef, I can’t do this. That was when Vipin Sachdev (managing director, Pink Papaya) asked me, will you work for me? I accepted the offer and decided to move from the kitchen to F&B.”

Wherever he escaped to, he has to be back in Chennai where his friends and acquaintances are. ” I don’t know anyone in New Zealand now. I have no one in any other place in the world. I have to be back in Chennai after a while. If the government of India had the permanent resident option, I would have definitely taken it.

Sadly even after 15 years, I can’t stay permanently in India. I like India. I like its people. Yes, I don’t like the dirt and the traffic but my likes are far more than my dislikes. Chennai is one of the few cities in India where you have a beautiful beach right outside the city. You work in the city and in the weekends, disappear to the East Coast Road. Where else you can have such a luxury? I will buy an apartment here and make my base here. I do not want to be a refugee any more.”

Does that mean he feels at home in Chennai? “No, I don’t ‘feel at home’ in Chennai; It is my home.”