Growing up in India Deepak Ballaney a true hospitality veteran is the man behind today’s renowned International Wings Factory aka IWF. An alumni of world’s number one “The Culinary Institute Of America” and soon to be a part of “Columbia University’s” Alumni comes from a middle class family in his native country, He still remembers his childhood days where he was only allowed to indulge in his favorite kind of food which is chicken, on weekends or on special occasions. Since the best considered parts of chicken such as leg, thigh, or breast piece were for the head of the family and the pampered younger ones, he was invariably left with “Wings” and other organs. This is when he developed an utmost liking for chicken wings. Soon there was a time when he would pick on Chicken Wings only leaving the rest in the pot.
Being a chemistry major and working in IBM for a good one year, Deepak never thought that he’ll be able to pursue his dream career in hospitality & culinary arts as his family wanted him to be a doctor or an engineer. But as soon as he got hired as a management trainee at the world famous Taj group of Hotels, a chain of five-star luxury hotels, he found his calling. Long working hours, didn’t feel long enough while he was cooking and serving. He learnt from the best in the industry and his hospitality upbringing took a start here. At Taj he was exposed to world of international flavors and elegance in service. He served high profile dignitaries, corporate and celebs such as Bill Clinton Former President, Atal Bihari Vajpayee former PM of India, Jacques Chirac Former French President, Tatas, Ambanis, Bill Gates and Cindy Crawford to name the few.
He worked very hard to achieve success and got the opportunity to come to America in 2003. To him, America was all about the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, opening a small business in NYC and living an American Dream. Here he developed a unique skill of working on distressed food and beverage outlets to revive their reputation and be more profitable. As it is believed the dreams that are desired from the core of heart, chase the person themselves and that is what happened with Deepak. He was able to save enough money by 2008 to get enrolled in the famous culinary institution and with a strong support from his family, he did it.
After schooling, he started saving money by taking up assignments from distressed restaurants that needed help in stabilizing financially. Now the question was would it be possible to continue with the restaurant dream? Fine dining was nowhere near his budget so he narrowed his options and started out with New York style Wings with sauces with global influence.
Was this sudden change to wings just because of his love for them? Off course, but the most pressing matter was the declining quality of wings that were available throughout New York City. Plus, he noticed that the different sauces that he used to make along with wings were absolutely loved by his friends and family. He was working shifts at restaurants to build up some money, where his meals always comprised of wings with newly crafted sauces every day and all his colleagues used to gather up around him for a bite.
In 2012, right before Super Bowl 2013 with a strong support from his wife Vidhi Ballaney and his 3 year old good luck charm Jeeya Ballaney, he set up a small hole in a wall shop on Upper East Side. He pumped in every penny he had saved up in his life for this. Since then Deepak has not even thought about that ‘fine dining restaurant’ that once seemed to be the sole purpose of his life and focuses entirely on producing the best wings for the amazing people of New York City. He and his staff work tirelessly to achieve the satisfaction of all his customers and follow the belief that “Guest Is God”.
IWF is in its 6th year now and has been able to achieve many milestones like being featured on NBC Channel, Fox News, Tony on NY Show, What’s Eating Harlem show, The New York Times, Daily News, CBS News, First We Feast and Thrillist, Deepak’s life is all about serving the best wings to all his customers with the most heavenly sauces and ensuring the best customer service to all his respectable clients.