(Celebrating the 6th edition of ‘Shefs at The Leela’ at The Leela Palace Bengaluru)



 The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts announces the return of ‘Shefs at The Leela’ to The Leela Palace Bengaluru for its sixth edition, completing a full circle since its inception in 2022. ‘Shefs at The Leela’ is a renowned culinary initiative in collaboration with ‘Dean With Us’ (Rupali Dean and Akanksha Dean), aiming to globally inspire, recognize, and empower female culinary talent. Scheduled on May 1st and 2nd, the event promises a showcase of culinary excellence, featuring renowned Indian women chefs—Radhika Khandelwal, Prerana Bandal, and Devika Kumari. Through panel discussions, interactive sessions, and culinary demonstrations, the event continues its legacy of promoting diversity in the culinary profession.

These Indian women chefs, renowned for their inventive culinary approaches and expertise, will craft an unforgettable dining experience with their distinctive dishes and culinary interpretations. On Day 1, Chef Radhika Khandelwal, Chef Prerana Bandal, and Chef Devika Kumari will unite for a panel discussion and engage with young culinary aspirants from hospitality universities, alongside lady associates from The Leela Palace Bengaluru and The Leela Bhartiya City. Day 2 will showcase the talents of Chefs Radhika, Prerana, and Devika as they present a menu infused with global flavors and aromas, each reflecting their signature style. The Leela Palace Bengaluru will curate this delightful evening, promising a symphony of tastes, cuisines, and cooking styles, weaving together a narrative of diverse backgrounds, experiences, and culinary wisdom.

Commenting on the occasion, Madhav Sehgal, Area Vice President – South India, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts, said, “The Shefs at The Leela program is our commitment towards celebrating Indian women chefs and supporting young talent in our kitchens. I am thrilled that the program has travelled across India starting in Bengaluru, Jaipur, Gurgaon, Chennai, and now returns to Namma Bengaluru in its’ sixth edition. While these events highlight our steadfast commitment to promoting women accomplishments in culinary, the program in itself supports, incentivizes and motivates women who wish to pursue a career in culinary arts. Most importantly, it becomes a platform for budding talent to engage with celebrate with celebrated Shefs, who are role models for them.”

Shefs at The Leela embodies an initiative by The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts aimed at women globally, designed to attract and inspire female talent to pursue culinary careers. In collaboration with ‘Dean With Us’ (Rupali Dean and Akanksha Dean), the program not only acknowledges achievements but also fosters talent and cultivates a supportive community promoting diversity in kitchens. Over time, ‘Shefs at The Leela’ has transformed into a platform for talent development within the culinary profession. Showcasing a diverse repertoire of culinary talent led by women, the program has traversed the country, leaving its mark on The Leela properties including The Leela Palace Chennai, The Leela Palace Jaipur, The Leela Bhartiya City Bengaluru and The Leela Ambience Gurugram Hotel & Residences.

Event details: 6th edition of Shefs at The Leela
Date: 2nd May 2024
Venue: The newly opened Maharaja Ballroom, The Leela Palace Bengaluru
Price: INR 6,500 per person plus taxes


Chef Radhika Khandelwal-

Chef and Owner, Radish Hospitality

Cuisine Focus: Zero waste, local produce, biodiversity

Radhika Khandelwal has steadily carved a formidable foundation for herself in the Zero Waste and Biodiversity movements through her restaurant, Fig & Maple, in New Delhi, India. From the early days of her culinary training, Radhika has championed food security by promoting biodiversity. Her kitchen is renowned for showcasing indigenous Indian ingredients such as Black chakhao rice, bok phool from West Bengal, lotus stems, and a wide variety of seasonal greens in her salads. Passionate about ensuring a secure food future and advocating for local, sustainable, and seasonal cooking, Khandelwal adopts a zero-waste approach by focusing on root-to-shoot cooking.

Radhika Khandelwal’s culinary journey began in Melbourne, Australia, where she moved at the age of 17 to pursue a degree in Psychology. It was during her time working at a fine dining restaurant to support herself that she discovered her passion for cooking. Upon returning to India in 2013, she founded Radish Hospitality, under which she established Ivy and Bean in 2013 and Fig and Maple in 2016.

Fig and Maple serves as a platform to showcase India’s vast indigenous biodiversity by utilizing local, seasonal, and lesser-known ingredients. Its inception marked the beginning of a sustainability movement that quickly gained traction across the city. As an advocate of sustainability and a member of the Chef’s Manifesto working towards fulfilling the objectives of SDG2 (Zero Hunger), Khandelwal launched a 45-day-long campaign titled “Be a #ZeroWasteHero,” raising awareness about hunger, biodiversity, climate change, and food waste.

As both a Chef and a food security activist, Radhika has represented India at prestigious events such as the World Economic Forum and the 75th UN General Assembly, World Chefs, and has been featured in eminent publications.

Chef Prerana Bandal:

Head Chef at Amaya, Himachal Pradesh

Cuisine Focus: At Amaya, Prerana seamlessly integrates the abundance of its farm into each dish, eliminating the need for extensive explanations about their origins.

With over 10 years of experience at luxury brands, 5-star hotels, and boutique resorts, Chef Prerana Bandal possesses strong time and people-management skills. Her expertise extends to guest relations, menu planning, training, and development. Prerana finds passion in exploring new places and sharing her experiences. At Amaya, the essence of bespoke fragrances, crafted cocktails, and vibrant foraged salads converge under her skillful touch.

Amaya stands as a culinary sanctuary, offering a menu thoughtfully crafted with sustainable ethnic flair by Chef Prerana Bandal. Hailing from Maharashtra and recognized as a young culinary virtuoso, Prerana embarked on a solo biking expedition through her native region before making her mark at Amaya.

The cuisine at Amaya is distinctive, featuring ingredients exclusive to the restaurant such as fresh peas sourced directly from the expansive on-site vegetable garden. Additionally, the Emmer khapli wheat used in the delectable pot duck ragu originates from the farm in Nabha, Punjab.

Drawing inspiration from her Konkani Maharashtrian background, Prerana eloquently reflects that cooking embodies a personal narrative shaped by one’s upbringing and life encounters.

Devika Kumar-

Chef and Founder of Project Sweet Dish, Delhi

Cuisine Focus: Patisserie and Boulangerie

Chef Devika Kumar boasts an illustrious career spanning some of the country’s finest kitchens. Her tenure leading the patisserie team at Le Cirque, New Delhi, and managing the bakery and pastry portfolio at the Oberoi, Gurgaon, from a young age, endowed her with invaluable expertise in the field. Collaborations with celebrated chefs like Jerome Le Tuff and Mike Bagale further fueled her journey, allowing her to cultivate a unique and exquisite style of baking.

Driven by her passion for bread-making and gourmet patisserie, Devika embarked on her entrepreneurial venture, founding Project Sweet Dish. With a vision to revolutionize the perception and consumption of bread and desserts in the country, Project Sweet Dish epitomizes Devika’s commitment to innovation and high-quality standards. She endeavors to let her creations speak for themselves, continually honing her skills to deliver culinary excellence.

About The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts :

Headquartered in Mumbai, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts is owned by a Brookfield Asset Management-sponsored private real estate fund and operates twelve award-winning properties in major cities and leisure destinations across India. These include the flagship hotel in the capital city of New Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Udaipur, Jaipur, Gurugram, East Delhi, Mumbai, Gandhinagar and now Kovalam and Ashtamudi in Kerala. The Leela celebrates each hotel through its unique location, art, culture and cuisine with thoughtful services, celebratory rituals, and immersive experiences. The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts was voted the World’s Best Hotel Brand twice in a row by Travel + Leisure, USA, World’s Best Awards Survey, 2020 and 2021. In 2023, the brand has once again been featured in the top 3 World’s Best Hotel Brands. An epitome of true Indian luxury hospitality, The Leela is committed to providing guests with unforgettable stays in settings that capture the essence of India. The brand has a marketing alliance with US-based Preferred Hotels & Resorts and is a member of the Global Hotel Alliance.


Akanksha Dean-

(Food & Travel writer and culinary researcher, Independent Chef & Events Specialist)

Akanksha Dean, a trained hospitality professional hailing from the Institute of Hotel Management Aurangabad, holds the unique distinction of being the first and sole Indian chef to undergo training under the esteemed Massimo Bottura at Modena, Italy. Bottura, renowned for his three Michelin-starred Osteria Francescana, continues to be celebrated as the world’s premier chef. Through her extensive travels, which focused on local cuisine and cultural experiences, Akanksha has cultivated a distinctive perspective that reflects her appreciation for innovation and forward-thinking approaches. Notably, Akanksha was honoured with the coveted Magicka Award for her remarkable achievement as the ‘F & B Concept Curator of The Year’, with the ‘Shefs at The Leela’ project standing out as a notable accomplishment. Furthermore, she also received the prestigious ‘Culinary Event Curator of the Year Award’ from Food Food recently.

Rupali Dean-

(Award winning Journalist; Food & Travel Photographer; A Catalyst and an Events specialist)

Awarded as the ‘Best food writer in the country’ by the Indian culinary forum, WACS and the ministry of Tourism, Rupali Dean is a familiar name in Travel & Food writing. With an ardent devotion to her craft, she embarks on captivating journeys within India and abroad, leaving an indelible mark on discerning readers through her published works in esteemed newspapers and magazines. Notably, Rupali has been the recipient of the coveted Magicka Award for ‘Top Food Influencer of The Year’. Furthermore, her unparalleled creativity and innovation in conceptualizing extraordinary gastronomic experiences led her to clinch the highly esteemed ‘Culinary Event Curator of the Year Award’ by Food Food in recent times.



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