Growing up as the son of a captain in the Indian Merchant Navy, Chef Zal was exposed to a variety of cultures in locations as far flung as Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong, Istanbul, and Sydney, which sparked his interest in the culinary world at a young age.
While completing his bachelor’s degree in tourism studies from the Indira Gandhi National University in India, Zal began his career working for the luxury hotel chain Oberoi. He spent late nights studying and working in all areas from dishwashing and cooking on the line to butchery, Garde Manger, bakery, and pastry, where he eventually specialized in chocolates. This experience inspired him to gain more formal culinary training by coming to the U.S. In Chicago he pursued an associate degree in culinary arts from Kendall College, eventually interning with Charlie Baggs Culinary Innovations.
After working in many notable Chicago restaurants, including Perennial, Virant, MiTerra, Alinea, and Jam, Chef Zal returned briefly to India and collaborated with Chef Charlie on a development project with a large prepackaged convenience food manufacturer there. A short time later, he returned to Chicago to work with CBCI, focused on the technical side of product development.
Chef Zal is naturally curious and maintains a passion for food investigation and creation, using his time off to experiment with out-of-the-box ideas to blend the science and art of food. He believes imagination balanced with common sense will get you everywhere. He is incredibly talented at finding unique solutions to our client’s technical challenges and bringing flavor to life.