Meet the Staff
What makes BRX special is not just our beautifully designed yet comfortable restaurant, expertly prepared dishes, or our extensive wine selection. The best part of BRX is the team that strives to make your experience at the restaurant memorable.
|To share a little about the BRX family, we will spotlight different members periodically. To get started, we sat down with the proprietor and General Manager of BRX, Ashwani Ahluwalia, and picked his brain on everything from his favorite dishes at the restaurant to his passion.
1. Where are you from originally?
I am from New Delhi, India. I spent my formative years in India and left at the age of 15 to study at the Bermuda Hotel and Catering College.
2. Do you still speak your native language?
I tend to speak both Hindi and English at home and with my extended family that reside in India. Funny enough, sometimes I use both languages in the same sentence. My Indian heritage and culture remain an important part of who I am.
3. What got you interested in the hospitality industry?
For generations, my family has been in the hospitality industry. So I guess it’s in my blood. Also, growing up I had a chef/butler who gave me my first taste of European cuisine. I would credit him for developing my palate.
4. What was your first job and what do you remember most about it?
My first job was at a 5-star hotel, ITC Maurya Sheraton, in New Delhi. I was 15 and joined the hotel as a culinary apprentice. During my first week on the job, all I did was peel and cut potatoes and onions. By the end of the day, I had to finish cutting 200 pounds of potatoes for homemade fries. It was probably a way for them to see who would stick around after the first couple of weeks on the job.
5. Are there any Chefs that you always wanted to work with at any point in your career?
My idols include Great Chefs such as Roger Vergé, Paul Bocuse and Roger Moncourt. I had the honor to train under Roger Moncourt and Paul Bocuse at Maurya. A few years ago, I received an invitation from Roger Vergé to work with him for a few weeks at his restaurant Le Moulin de Mougins, a four “knives and forks” in the Michelin Guide, in Provence. That was definitely one of my career highlights.
6. You’ve had a successful career. What are you most proud of?
I have been fortunate in the types of opportunities that have come my way. I have cooked for celebrities (cast of the motion picture “The Firm”), political leaders (Supreme Court Justices, Ambassador of Japan, as well as Heads of States from the Commonwealth of Nations), and sports figures (President’s Cup at Robert Trent Jones in Manassas, VA). But above all, what has been most gratifying has been feeding the hungry through my volunteer work with the D.C. Central Kitchen.
7. Do you have a family?
I am blessed with a wonderful family. I live in the Great Falls area with my wife and daughter. My mom and sister live close by and I have a younger brother, who is also in the hospitality industry that lives with his family in Arizona.
8. What is your vision for BRX?
Eventually I would like to expand with multiple locations, while maintaining a community feel where families and friends can get together in a casual and relaxed environment.
9. What is your favorite item on the BRX menu?
It’s a tough choice, but probably the BRX Mix Chopped Salad and BBQ Jamaican Baby Back Ribs.
10. Do you still enjoy cooking? Are there any dishes you make from home, from your childhood?
I still get a thrill out of creating new dishes. Every now and then, you may see my name as the Guest Chef at BRX, especially when we are holding a Caribbean or French night.
11. What do you do to relax?
Whenever I get a chance, I love spending quality time with friends on the golf course. And as my family would tell you, I get lost in my own world when listening to music or watching golf or a cricket match.
12. What is your passion?
What gives me joy is serving people and not just at the restaurant, but also through community activities. We support several not-for-profit organizations and hold fundraisers throughout the year. I am also an active member of the Rotary Club of Great Falls and encourage others to join.