Vicky Ratnani is a man of many pursuits—from authoring a cookbook and hosting multiple food shows to being a chef on luxury ocean liners and founding a gourmet burger brand, he has done it all. In a chat with Travel+Leisure India & South Asia, the gourmand and T+L’s A-List member talks about the future of culinary tourism, cooking in the metaverse, and more.
Excerpts from the interview with Vicky Ratnani:
T+L India: You recently delved into the metaverse and brought food to virtual space. Tell us more about this.
Vicky Ratnani: The metaverse is a very promising space, especially for the future. You can communicate and showcase your work through it. Since it has a wider reach, people can easily avail the services we [chefs] provide. It opens and expands new boundaries.
T+L India: What does the future of culinary tourism look like to you?
Vicky Ratnani: Culinary tourism is getting bigger and better. Even as people travel to different Indian cities—let alone other countries—they are looking for places to eat. They take pictures and share it on social media as recommendations. Tourism boards are also making efforts to showcase food. You now have home cooks and restaurants who are breaking boundaries. It’s no longer just about grandeur; it’s equally about smaller restaurants and iconic eateries.
T+L India: How does travel inspire you?
Vicky Ratnani: I’ve always been a traveller. Before I moved back to India, I used to be a chef on luxury ocean liners. I’ve always believed that travel opens your mind and teaches you new things, life lessons, adaptability, versatility, and different cultures of the world. I love visiting markets—they tell you a lot about the kind of people that live in the city. I always believe that if you want to know anything about the city or about the people of the city, visit the local market.
T+L India: How would you describe your style of cooking?
Vicky Ratnani: I think my style is very global when it comes to thinking, processes, and produce. I’m driven by the season and the ingredients. I enjoy bringing an Indian DNA to the dishes by working with different kinds of Indian spices, vegetables, meats, and fish. My style is very urban desi.
T+L India: What are the projects in the pipeline for you?
Vicky Ratnani: I’m working on an R&D kitchen and culinary studio in Mumbai. I’m looking forward to growing Speak Burgers. I have a beautiful show called Delicious on YouTube where I cook with a 12-year-old child. There are some talks going on about bringing conceptual goodies as well.
T+L India: Which is the one cuisine you would like to learn more about?
Vicky Ratnani: Japanese. I’m also inspired by the southern states of India.