Meet Baldev & Rajinder Singh
Raised on their family farm in a little village in Punjab, India, Chefs and brothers Baldev Singh and Rajinder Singh grew up surrounded by the rhythms of the seasons, the wonders of produce fresh from the fields, and of course, their mother's inspiring home cooking.
When Chef Baldev Singh was a teenager, he began learning the art of cooking Indian food by working at his father's investment which was a dhaba (roadside restaurant). The chefs at the dhaba had various talents and tips to share. Chef Baldev learned how to prepare tandoori specialties first. It is not a simple task to master grilling meat in the tandoor. He prepared fresh seasonal fish, tandoori chicken marinated in spices and herbs, and other local favorites. Once he mastered the tandoor, he was able to teach his younger brother Rajinder Singh the art of tandoori style cooking. Chef Rajinder Singh would always wait in anticipation until he was old enough to help at the family dhaba. Once his opportunity came, he was eager to start and help where ever he could. While Chef Rajinder Singh was learning the culinary art of the tandoor, the head chef at the dhaba, Chef Lakshman Kumar himself noticed that Chef Baldev Singh was ready to learn other aspects of cooking and taught him how to make the curried dishes.
Life filled with Valuable Opportunities
The two brothers took over kitchen duties at the dhaba. When Chef Baldev and Chef Rajinder were in their late teens, they served a customer who heard of the little dhaba and wanted to try the food himself. He was an Indian businessman from Iran and owned the Maharaja restaurant. He dined on all the fine Indian delicacies the dhaba had to offer. He made Chef Baldev Singh a once in a life time offer to join his staff in Iran. Chef Baldev did not hesitate to take this offer and he accepted the one-way ticket to Isfahan, Iran. Chef Rajinder took over as the head chef at the family dhaba.
After spending a few years in Iran, he had the opportunity to come to the United States. He ventured to the best place in the U.S. the start his culinary venture and worked as a chef in New York City, NY at Kalpana Restaurant in 1977. He was an apprentice under international chef, Chef Kapoor. Chef Baldev was asked by a family friend to help him in the kitchen of a restaurant he started in Dallas, TX. Once the restaurant was a huge success, they needed another chef to help feed the growing clientele. Chef Baldev suggested the perfect man for the job; his younger brother Chef Rajinder. Both brothers continued to work as a seamless team once they were both reunited in the U.S. They have also worked as a chef duo in San Francisco, CA and later in Los Angeles, CA.
Discovering the Beautiful Southwest
In 1991, the two brothers decided to open their own restaurant. After several years of working in the restaurant industry, this was an obvious choice to make. They discovered a gem in the Southwest region of the country to start their restaurant. Santa Fe, NM was where they decided to make their landmark start. They decided to call the restaurant India Palace. It was situated in the heart of downtown Santa Fe. In 1995, they also opened up India Oven in San Antonio, TX. This was all due to the remarkable support of the clientele in New Mexico. In 1998, they decided to start fresh and sold both restaurants. Both, Chef Baldev Singh and Rajinder Singh opened up the award winning restaurant; India Palace. Many are familiar with the restaurant which was located in NE Albuquerque. The India Palace family expanded to the NW side in 2004. They ran the India Palace in the NE until 2005 and India Palace West until 2011. After taking a break, they could not stay away from the restaurant business. They are now back and ready to serve New Mexico!