In conversation with Global Culinary Chef of Chili’s American Grill & Bar

Chili’s American Grill & Bar, the leading American casual dining restaurant chain is present in over  33 countries worldwide including India amongst several others. What started in 1975 in Dallas, Texas with 11 Southwestern-inspired dishes and trademark beverages, now serves some of the best appetizers, salads, burgers, sandwiches, quesadillas and more in India. Located at the Hiranandani Business Park in Powai, Mumbai, this Tex-Mex restaurant is famous for its Big-mouth Burgers, Texas Cheese fries and lots more.

Recently, the renowned international chain celebrated 40 glorious years in the hospitality industry. To commemorate this success, Chef Michael Winkelmann, the Global Culinary Chef visited Mumbai. With over 30 years experience in the restaurant and leisure industry, Michael has spent the last 14 years with Chili’s and all other Brinker brands (international parent company for Chili’s). Based in the UK, he is currently responsible for not only the outposts in Europe, Middle East, North Africa and Asia but for also opening the first Chili’s in Belfast, Russia, Jordan, Portugal, Turkey, Singapore, India, Brazil, Colombia and next year in Tunisia.

Being Global Chef is no easy task. While it sounds exciting, it can be extremely challenging at the same time. Upon being asked about the challenges he faces, he said, ‘The only and main challenge is to keep the consistency in the food same across the world. If we need to innovate for a certain market, we have a test kitchen in Texas, Dallas and exclusive innovation chefs to overcome any issues.’

I was curious to hear his take on the different palates and perceptions of people he comes across in any five countries where Chili’s has an outpost. Here’s what he had to say: 

India:
There are many takers of Vegetarian food and we have the most veg items on our menu in India.

Middle East:
As they do not eat pork, they serve Beef Ribs & Beef Bacon instead. As even use of alcohol is prohibited, we cannot use vanilla essence.

Malaysia:
In Malaysia, people do not prefer to eat pork so we introduced Southwestern Grilled Lamb as an alternative to pork.

Philippines:
They love pork! An addition to their menu has been Pork Belly

Russia:
The only country where you can find a bottle of Vodka on every table

Michael Winkelmann, Global Culinary Contact, Chili’s American Grill & Bar

 

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