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Karyna Bajaj

Director, Ayesha Hospitality PExecutive Director, KA Hospitality Pvt Ltd

Karyna Bajaj can’t resist good chaat and cappelletti hand-rolled by grannies in Bologna. Featured in Forbes India’s 30 under 30 for the 2019 edition, the food zealot is Executive Director at KA Hospitality since 2016 and has been overseeing Hakkasan and Yauatcha in India. In addition to ensuring that the global brands remain at par with their international counterparts, Karyna is hugely invested in creating local dining experiences within the two.

Karyna has range not only in her food choices but also in business. In addition to taking over the mantle of existing premium international brands, Karyna is creating a new legacy of casual dining albeit authentic restaurants that are comfortable, easy and fun. Destinations that are focused equally on food and nightlife.

This shift towards creating brands, began for Karyna in in September 2016, when she and her team began scouting for a brand that would offer new and eclectic flavours to the discerning Indian diner. This resulted in the launch of Nara, a Bangkok institution that KA imported to Mumbai in the third quarter of 2017. Nara was born out of the passion for food shared by two Thai nationals brought up in homes where cooking was a daily celebration. At Nara, you can taste the vibrance of traditional Thai cuisine presented in a modern albeit casual setting with the warmth of Thai hospitality to round-off the experience. Karyna has now taken Nara from bustling BKC to colonial Colaba in May 2019.

CinCin, is a first for her and KA Hospitality’s step towards building homegrown brands. CinCin, is an Italian inspired restaurant and bar located in BKC, the city’s prime commercial neighbourhood. It’s a unique concept focused on Venetian cicchetti, handmade pasta and wine. Despite the similarities in Indian and Italian cultures and dining, Karyna identified a gap in the market for a restaurant that caters simple, flavourful food, fine wine and embraces the rustic Italian spirit; a space where you can savour a bowl of fresh, handmade pasta with wine or unwind with an Aperol spritz post sundown. CinCin celebrates and is a representation of this Italian ethos.

Karyna has a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and Business Strategy from Emerson College, Boston and is an alumni of Aiglon College Switzerland. Postgraduation, getting absorbed into the family’s hospitality business was a natural progression for Karyna who inherited her love for food from them.

Introducing new brands to the F&B space and maintaining consistency and innovation within the current brands under the KA umbrella is Karyna’s MO. While reinventing the wheel within the company she looks to international culinary cities such as Singapore that have developed a strong culture of food and nightlife, while staying true to the fabric of the city. “The food community in India is growing and guests are hungry for great experiences that go beyond just eating and drinking.” It’s this new openness to food that is driving Karyna to curate new experiences and concepts within KA, a company which under her navigation, has grown to be one of India’s finest F&B houses.