Growing up as the son of a captain in the Indian Merchant Navy, Chef Zal was exposed to a variety of cultures in locations such as Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong, Istanbul and Sydney, Australia, sparking his interest in the culinary world at a young age.
While completing his bachelor’s degree in Tourism Studies from Indira Gandhi National University in India, Zal began his career working for a luxury hotel chain (Oberoi). He spent late nights studying and working all areas from dishwashing and cooking on the line to butchery, Garde Manger, bakery and pastry, eventually specializing in chocolates. This experience inspired him to gain more formal culinary training by coming to the US and pursuing an associate’s degree in Culinary Arts and from Kendall College in Chicago and interning with Charlie Baggs Culinary Innovations.
After working in many Chicago restaurants (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 commonsense will get you everywhere. He is incredibly talented at finding unique solutions to our clients’ technical challenges and bringing flavor to life.