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Checking out the ‘Nutritious and Tasty’ claim of Hotel Leela’s Aujasya Menu

At the Leela Ambience Gurugram, India

3 mins read


The International Year of the Millet 2023 is already a month old. These are times when the world population en masse is focused on good health, and very seriously at that. The awareness is high, supermarket shelves are overflowing with super foods, restaurants and eateries are experimenting with ways to make that nutritious fare tastier and more palatable. The Leela Ambience Gurugram too has introduced its healthy menu “Aujasya by The Leela”. and invited Amit Dixit. Here is his report on his experience.

Teriyaki Salmon Bowl

The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts embarked on a journey of holistic wellbeing with the launch of the ‘Aujasya by The Leela’ programme in May last year, rolling it out across all its properties subsequently. “With Aujasya, Leela hopes to promote healthy eating and mindfulness.” I was at The Leela Ambience Gurugram to learn more about their modus operandi for promoting wellness through food and the dishes on the menu. It seems that several of Leela’s top chefs have been involved in creating the ‘Aujasya by Leela’ menu.

The trio of Chef Simran Singh Thapar at The Leela Palace Udaipur, Chef Rishabh Anand at The Leela Palace New Delhi and, of course, Chef Abhishek Gupta at The Leela Ambience Gurugram worked closely with the renowned nutritionist and food consultant, Dr Ankita Jalori to create the dishes, both for the breakfast offerings and the à la carte section. In fact, even the welcome drink at The Leela properties is now an Aujasya immunity booster, and is helping to create awareness about the programme.

This was an exciting project for Dr Jalori, who has worked in the nutrition and food industry for over 20 years. “Today people have become more aware and conscious of their wellbeing. Balancing nutrition with taste can be quite a challenge. My science and knowledge and the skill and creativity of the chefs at The Leela have come together to create this unique brand programme for The Leela and I am thrilled to be a part of it,” she says. Aujasya in Sanskrit means ‘beneficial to

Chef Abhishek Gupta, Executive Chef,
The Leela Ambience Gurugram Hotel & Residences

strengthening vitality or energy’, and the Aujasya menu is all about serving nutritionally dense, vitalising foods which are also tasty. Each dish on the menu comes with a detailed nutritional profile, so guests can make informed choices. The focus is on millets, lean proteins, low-fat dairy and whole grains.

Chef Abhishek has been with The Leela group since 2014. Between regaling me with stories of the time he interned for three months at Noma and a more recent culinary sojourn in France, he speaks about the transformative power of Aujasya. “Acceptability took a few months,” he admits, “but now our guests enjoy their pearl millet pesarattu as much as the regular dosa, says Abhishek.

“Nothing in Aujasya is processed,” he adds, “Everything is as fresh as possible and we work closely with our suppliers to ensure this. And it is no longer about quinoa. It is about bajra, millet, Kerala red rice, Himalayan red rice, Himalayan pink salt, and so on.”

All the international exposure has set Chef Abhishek on a bold, new culinary path. In fact, Aujasya echoes many of his own culinary beliefs and food preferences. “Once you start eating healthy food, your palate will love it,” he assures me, “You will not miss sugar. And you will get accustomed to low salt.”

Aujasya Breakfast

I couldn’t wait to try the food, which spans a variety of cuisines, from Italian to Indian to Asian. I started with the kiwi camembert salad, and it was a revelation, with its contemporary presentation. After all, we also eat with our eyes. A low-calorie salad, it is high in protein, vitamins A & C, minerals and antioxidants. And it tastes delicious, with the camembert playing the starring role. The beetroot and walnut soup which was up next was rich in iron, vitamin C, folate and omega-3 fats. What can I say! Just delicious.

Kiwi Camembert Salad

Among the mains, I tried the teriyaki salmon bowl, consisting of brown rice, teriyaki salmon, sauteed vegetables, cage-free eggs, edamame, black beans and sesame seeds. Quite the burst of flavour and nutrients it was.

One of their most popular dishes (a hot seller among long-stay guests in particular at The Leela Ambience Gurugram) is the lettuce masala khurchan wrap — delicious chicken tikka (there’s a tofu version as well) with wilted lettuce wrapped around it. This is as healthy and nutritious as it gets

The Aujasya desserts are also on the healthier side. None of the desserts in the Aujasya menu, in fact, use white sugar — it’s all jaggery, palm sugar, honey and so on. The bitter chocolate orange pave I had consisted of a bitter chocolate whipped ganache infused with orange zest and set on a gluten-free sponge base.

Bitter Chocolate Orange Pave

There is a breakfast menu too, including dishes like pearl millet pessaratu, sorghum rava idli, sattu paratha, fruit and nut yoghurt bowl, tofu scramble toast, and ‘fab pancakes’ made of millet.

Speaking about the Aujasya launch, Anuraag Bhatnagar, Chief Operating Officer, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts, says, “Challenges of the contemporary world and our fast-paced lifestyles often pose a disruption for our overall health. With Aujasya by The Leela, we are embarking on a lifelong commitment to holistic wellbeing. Our first step with Dr Jalori has paved the way for a renewed take on food and nutrition. Her expertise in the field combined with her unmatched experience has enabled us to brew signature dishes with a renewed nutritional focus.”

“Aujasya by The Leela will continue to develop the wellness initiative to be a visible and essential offering in all aspects of service, wellness experiences, mindfulness and beyond. Through this unique programme, The Leela is committing to curating experiences that resonate with the evolving needs of today’s discerning luxury travellers.”


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