Coming up next, and adding her very own special brand of luxury to our expert panel, we introduce – Aishwarya Nair. In keeping with her creative spirit and keen interest in food from an early age, Aishwarya obtained an Associates & Bachelor’s Degree in Hotel & Restaurant Management at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde park, New York. Practical applications of her talents were tested throughout the summer when she interned under celebrated Chef Marcus Samuelsson of Aquavit, a New York Times 4-Star Restaurant.
After graduation in 2008, Aishwarya accepted a brief internship position at The Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York. Working in the kitchens of the hotel’s in-house restaurant, Asiate, she catered her trade towards banqueting and more specifically assisted in the baking and pastry department. There onward she continued with her Wine education program at the Wines and Spirits Education Trust and achieved her Level 2 certification.
Currently based in Mumbai, Aishwarya is Head – Corporate Food and Wine Merchandising for The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts, the company founded by her grandfather and father. In her current role, Aishwarya is directly concerned with the innovative aspects of The Leela’s Food and Beverage Department. She is involved with menu engineering, wine acquisition, food styling and has introduced new culinary ideas within the chain. Aishwarya has spearheaded the creation of menus for Meta Wellness, which is partnering with The Leela Palaces Hotels to launch India’s first intensive program for heart disease prevention and reversal & also Published a coffee table Cook book – The Fine art of Food’ with her sister Amruda and noted fashion photographer Rohit Chawla. For Aishwarya, luxury has to be a seamless experience which is exactly what they believe at The Leela.
She hosts exclusive Food and Wine tastings for the group’s properties and also reviews and provides recommendations for cuisine and recipe development. Her keen enthusiasm for wine has led her to receive the most prestigious Wine Spectator award for the curating of an exquisite wine list for the Leela Group, three times over. She has worked with international fine dining brands: Megu and Le Cirque during their initiation into The Leela Palace New Delhi, bringing to the guests a truly global offering of cuisine.
In the culinary field Aishwarya initiated a dessert brand Dolce, which was a luxury pastry brand using the finest ingredients with pastry that were made-to-order. Post which she has spear headed a health food brand concept influenced by the principles of Japanese Macrobiotics called AMAI. This gourmet artisanal brand features wholesome health products, which currently retails out of The Leela, Mumbai.
She has also lent her expertise in the creation of in-flight menus for Lufthansa’s First and Business Class guests from the Indian fine-dining restaurant, Jamavar. This was a part of The Leela Group’s marketing alliance with the airline. In 2016, she was approached as a Wine consultant for the national airline carrier Air India. Aishwarya uses her expertise to conduct educational wine courses with the management to constantly improve the food and beverage departments.
She is the only woman in India to have been felicitated with a Diploma d’honneur (an honorary diploma) by the region of Champagne, the Comite Interprofessionel du Vin de Champagne, for her efforts in creation of dynamic wine lists in the country. Aishwarya has been awarded the coveted ‘Business Woman of the year 2014’ by the Indian Leadership Conclave title for her work with wine for the Leela group. She has also endeavoured into food styling and consulting for a short feature film. In recent news, She actively works with redeveloping her food brand AMAI having just launched a Raw Vegan menu & consults with national carrier AIR INDIA on their inflight wine curation. Currently, Aishwarya is also lending her fashion influencer skills as founder to her own retail Fashion house scheduled to launch in June 2018.
In her free time, Aishwarya enjoys organising wine tastings with exclusive vintages sourced from the premier chateaux worldwide. She routinely contributes to The Leela’s in-house-hospitality magazine with articles about wine. Aishwarya is also an avid follower of fashion and is the process of launching her eponymous label of clothing. Most importantly she lends her writing expertise to magazines, newspapers & websites such as BBC Good Food, Conde Nast publications, India today, Fine Wine & Champagne Magazine and also contributes to a blog on the Huffington Post. In August 2017, she was appointed as contributor editor to Vogue India.
When asked about the changing face of luxury in India, Aishwarya says, “I think luxury in India is reaching a new horizon where in more people are beckoning new relationships with brands as they are opening up to a larger world spectrum of media, travel, products and services.” We will be celebrating these relationships at the Luxury Lifestyle Weekend, a platform that discovers and highlights the many nuances of Aishwarya’s industry, among many others, while helping one discover more through other avenues of luxury.