Chef’s Profile

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Balwinder Singh was only 15 years old in his native India when he took the bus to secondary school. It only took a few hours for him to return and to confirm that the love of his life was cooking.

“My mother sent me to school, and I did not like it. I took the bus back and went to a restaurant to take a job. They gave me a job washing dishes. As a dishwasher sometimes they would ask me to help them cooking. After a month as a coo helper the cook was suddenly gone and they ask me, can you cook? And I sad, “OK … I cook”. And little by little I cook more and more and became the cook of that restaurant,” Balwinder says proudly.

It took close to five years working as a cook in Punjab, in northern India close to Pakistan and Afghanistan, for his brother-in-law to invite him to Kentucky. Then, in 1996 he decided to take part in the adventure of opening Kashmir’s Indian Restaurant at 341 Limestone in downtown Lexington. After working 12 years in that restaurant, he finally opened his own restaurant Taj India Indian Restaurant in 2009.

“Even though I know more than 600 recipes, my specialities are chicken tiki masala, korma, chili and lamb. What makes our restaurant unique is that i cook everything fresh, every day. Here people find the same taste that they would find in restaurant in India,” says Balwinder.

He continues, “I love to cook and that is why I am happy here. I don’t even like sports; I only like to cook. And, personally… I like Kentucky better. In India, everything is very hard. Here, everything is easier. I visited in December and it was hard to adapt. I think I will live a long life in Kentucky. I like the people and the city.”