Legendary Chef Satish Arora, who worked as Director Food Production for Taj Group of hotels for around five decades was fortunate to travel on board on 4 occasions with former Prime Minister of India, Late Atal Behari Vajpayee. As Chef Arora travelled on – board with him entourage to various International destinations, he knew PM’s dietary requirement very well and designed menu of his choice periodically.
Chef Satish Arora travelled with former PM Late Atal Behari Vajpayee, on board with entourage to United Nation’s summit in USA and Saarc summit in Colombo – Sri Lanka. Chef Arora also travelled with him on board to Iran and Egypt.
Atal ji stayed in Taj Kumarakom Resort & Spa Kerla for more than a week, while he was taking his knee treatment in Kerala. There, chef Arora used to meet him on daily basis to discuss his choice of food to be made. No sooner Atal ji used to see chef Arora during his routine visit, he was very receptive to his greetings. He never made him feel that he is a PM; he made him sit alongside him and discuss many casual things about family and work. He also asked him how he landed in chef’s proffesion.
Chef Arora used to meet him daily while meal was served from breakfast to dinner during his stay at Taj Kumarakom, he always appreciated his food. He also obliged chef Arora to click photo with him and also put his autograph on it.
Chef Arora said “I met Atal ji for the first time when I was travelling on board Air India flight to UN to New York. When I was introduced to him as his personal chef, he did hand shake with me. When I met him next, he called me by my name Chef Arora, which was surprising to me. Generally, high profile dignitaries can’t remember the name of individuals, as they get to meet many people on daily basis. Thereafter, whenever I used to meet him, he used to call me by my name; I considered it to be a great honour to me or for any individual”.
Chef Satish Arora added “Atal ji was a towering personality; he never made us feel that he is a Prime Minister. He behaved with us as a normal citizen and used to talk a lot on various subjects and recipes. He made me sit alongside him and asked me detailed recipe, how to make kheer. Kheer was his one of his favourite dish. He will remain in my mind throughout”.
Author: Sitaram Mewati
Award winning journalist