Raghuprasad-PillaiChef Raghuprasad Pillai has been recently commissioned as the new Executive Chef of Rotana’s 2 properties on Yas Island.

Chef Raghu’s interest in cooking was sparked when he was pursuing his Hotel Management Degree in India. Having become so passionate about food and gastronomy, he trained as an apprentice in five-star hotel kitchens and was almost immediately taken in by the Taj group of hotels for their management training program.

He later moved to the Middle East, learning as much as he can from the Jumeirah, Intercontinental and Le Meridien hotels. He finally found his big break with Rotana Hotels, and has embraced a host of wonderful opportunities since.

Chef Raghu has garnered impressive recognition in his field including the highly coveted Chef of the Year Award at the Salon Culinaire Middle East, once in 2003 and again in 2006. He was also awarded Sous Chef of the Year at the Caterer Awards in 2011. When asked about his cooking style, Chef Raghu says “I believe that good food is first of all about freshness and satisfaction of the palate, before it is about presentation.”

Braving another challenge as he leads the kitchen team at the Yas Island Rotana and Centro Yas Island, the new Executive Chef wants to focus on cooking classic favourites with contemporary twists. Despite his extensive experience and enormous talent, Chef Raghu believes in practice and patient labour partnered with imagination, in order to perfect everything that comes out of his kitchen. “I want to revive that almost childlike enthusiasm and curiosity among my team, to make dishes that guests will remember and come back for.”

Outside the kitchen, Chef Raghu likes to enjoy nature and the outdoors. He currently sponsors education for orphaned children in his hometown, and hopes one day to be able to dedicate his full time in training young chefs so that they, too, can make it big in the culinary scene.