Raas chef Gyanendra “GG” Gupta./Photo by Meg Ryan
While the word ‘raas’ can mean multiple things, the Masala Hospitality Group is defining it as “a celebration of food and culture while showcasing the medicinal value of Indian cuisine” on its website. There is also a sign on the restaurant’s exterior defining the word as “a traditional folk dance originating in India, performed during festivals and celebrations.”
Gupta first became interested in cooking from watching his mother in the kitchen. From the age of 7, he’d ask her what she was making and she’d dictate the recipe to him. After writing each word 10 times and getting the information down correctly, Gupta then moved onto making the dishes.
He said in a big family of siblings, he was the only one who became an avid cook, creating an undeniable bond with his mother. As a professional, Gupta became an executive chef with Taj Hotels.
“Working in a hotel is a completely different thing,” he explained.
Running hotel restaurants allowed Gupta to become a master in a variety of cuisines and also put the customer first. Inside of staying in the kitchen, he comes out to the dining room and mingles with guests.
“I’m always a frontrunner,” he said.
Gupta brings all of his knowledge to Raas, offering Indian and pan-Asian cuisine to a beach town that was lacking ethnic flavors.
“This place, it needed a different kind of restaurant,” he said.
Raas brings straight forward, authentic dishes to customers in a modern presentation. While he thinks many people interpret Indian food as spicy, he believes it’s a flavor. By toning down the peppers and focusing on sweeter spices like cardamom, nutmeg, clove, bayleaf and cinnamon, the dishes become something anyone can enjoy.
Raas is the inagural venture of the Masala Hospitality Group./Photo by Meg Ryan
Dishes like the smoked eggplant chokha and the lamb seekh kebab with cilantro chutney have become popular among the guests, he said.
Gupta is also aiming to be a late night spot, offering people a place to mingle and enjoy cocktails after dinner.
Moving forward, Gupta said the Masala Hospitality Group hopes to expand, especially after seeing the phenomenal response they’ve received from Raas.
“I will open up a couple more restaurants,” he said.
But, for now, the chef is hoping his passion and personal story comes across through his food as seeing the satisfaction on people’s faces is why he works in the food industry.
“The food should speak about me,” he said.
Raas, Indian & Pan Asian Restaurant
210 Savannah Road, Lewes • 644-1747