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Lewes Indian restaurant brings on well-traveled chef

Experience comes from years working with top hotel chain
April 13, 2018

When the yet-to-be-named Indian restaurant opens in Lewes later this year, it will bring a well-traveled chef to the kitchen. 

Chef GG and co-owner Vinay Hosmane have a long history together. A friendship was forged 20 years ago when GG and Hosmane’s father, Ramachandra, met at a pool while Ramachandra was at medical school in Grenada. In the years since, the Hosmane family and GG have spent a lot of time together. 

They went different directions over the years, but the path of life has brought them together in Lewes. GG and Vinay have long discussed opening a restaurant in the Cape Region. That all came together recently when Vinay and a group of investors purchased the purple Victorian home on Savannah Road between Heirloom and The Buttery. 

GG recently traveled to Delaware to dig into the project.

“I have all the say,” he said with a smile. “Being a chef, you always want to feel good when you walk into the place.”

During his career, he’s worked in several beautiful locations, including Indian palaces that have been converted to hotels.

“You have to have a connection with the place you’re working,” he said. “We can go easy with a nice modern building, but this place is very important; this building is very important.” 

In its first 100 years, the Queen Anne Victorian structure - built in the style of an English architect named Eastlake - served as a home for many families including longtime Lewes Mayor Otis Smith. It was originally built by Capt. Charles W. “Diver” Johnston, a highly acclaimed marine salvager. 

GG said he feels a strong connection to the building and the town. Growing up in Lucknow, India, he said he spent a lot of time along the coast in Goa and Mumbai. 

“I love the beach,” he said. “I love the water. One of the reasons I’m coming over here is because I’ll be surrounded by the water.” 

GG loves to fish, and while visiting, he plans to check out the local fish markets to get a better understanding of his ingredients. 

The menu for the new restaurant is still a work in progress. He said it’s important to build a menu around the available ingredients and not the other way around. He plans to frequent the area’s farmers markets. 

He said he’s always enjoyed cooking. As one of five siblings, he was drawn to his mother and helping her in any way possible. When guests would come to his parents’ home, he said, he was always hospitable and generous.

“Where I come from, we believe the guest is god,” he said. “When anybody comes, you don’t ask them who they are. You welcome the guest, offer them food, water and whatever else you can offer.”

He attended school for hotel management training, where he was introduced to all aspects of the the job. He gravitated to the kitchen. 

Once established, he worked for a hotel chain that had him moving around the Caribbean islands and nations for more than nine years, where he learned about world cuisines. He said there is a heavy Indian influence in many Caribbean cultures, such as Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and others. 

He said the Indo-Caribbean fusion is very unique, as it combines Caribbean food and spices with an Indian base. Vinay said he’s been pushing for Indo-Caribbean dishes on the menu.

“That’s a cuisine I don’t think we see very often in this country,” he said.

GG will soon return to India, where he currently manages four restaurants, until the Lewes restaurant is closer to completion. 

Vinay says work with architect John Lester is ongoing, and once construction begins, it should take three to four months to complete. Among the major changes coming are a new kitchen off the back of the building and a complete repainting of the exterior.

To learn more about the restaurant, go to www.masalahospitalitygroup.com.