MasterChef - International Cuisine 2014-15
Indian Culinary Forum
Brand Chef, FrescCo Restaurants
Lite Bite Foods Pvt Ltd
Editor: Tell us about your journey. How did it all start?
Destiny brought me to this industry as I didn’t even know what all a chef does when I ticked off the application form at IHM PUSA. At IHM PUSA, rigorous practical training & clarity in concepts laid a good foundation for me to grow as a thorough professional. I feel hailing from a Marwari family helped to invoke sensitive taste buds right from an early age!
After meeting Mr. Tarsillo Nataloni, I decided to start my career with Flavors, once an iconic restaurant at Defence Colony, Delhi where I learned the nuances of Italian cuisine and the purity of flavours.
The next opportunity landed with Celebrity Chef Bakshish Dean at The Park Hotels which exposed me to a plethora of ingredients from international cuisine. I learnt the Art & Science of cooking under him which brought crystal clear clarity in my food and helped me think unique. My experience at Italian trattoria helped me here and I quickly grew as Chef de Partie from a commis in a short span of time. I was handpicked for an exclusive, extensive training with Celebrity Chef Antonio Carluccio on Regional Italian cuisine and opened up I.talia at DLF Promenade, Vasant kunj.
After spending several years with The Park, I had joined Lite Bite Foods to handle FrescCo. Retail segment was very dynamic and I got the responsibility of Pre Openings and new product research. Extensive travelling enriches the soul and opens new windows of thoughtful thinking - this is what I realized when I got an opportunity to visit Germany, Italy and Thailand. Within 3 years, I graduated to the Brand Chef position with an opportunity to lead a team of 90+ people.
I was awarded with the prestigious Master Chef International cuisine award, 2014-15 by The Indian Culinary Forum
Editor: What do you think it takes to succeed in this industry?
Right attitude to learn and adapt quickly, problem solving capability, ability to motivate and drive the team, ability to think creatively and innovatively, remarkable attention to detail.
Editor: What are the attributes you look for while selecting or hiring?
At entry level, the most important requirement is to possess a positive attitude and the willingness to learn and adapt.
For manager level, desired skills coupled with relevant experience and ability to think out of the box are crucial attributes
Editor: What according to you can trainees do while they are training at hotels to make it a win-win for them & the hotel/unit?
Internships give students the opportunity to apply their acquired knowledge and skills in real world environment When they enter the dynamic hotel environment, their focus must be to learn the intricacies of strong systems and procedures across all departments. Quick learners do benefit as they get an opportunity to assist the much experienced team members and learn ways to handle real time shop floor requirements.
They must document their queries and get answers from skilled team members of hotel; asking WHY and HOW are crucial to acquiring knowledge and skills As they see things from a different and new perspective, the trainees should not hesitate to share their thoughts with their reporting manager to find more efficient ways to perform a task.
Editor: Tell us a little about your average day
A regular day at work comprises of food tastings; spot audits and inspections, team meetings and future strategies. Two hours are dedicated for Research of new trends & ingredients and development of better recipes while reinventing the existing ones and their execution.
Editor: How do keep abreast of all that is happening in hospitality?
Travelling, meeting new people and Reading extensively helps
Editor: Two reasons why this industry is awesome!
This industry is Awesome because
1. Like theatre, One gets instant feedbacks from guest and if you are able to bring a smile and gratitude on one’s face, it’s the most amazing feeling on this earth
2. This industry is much diversified and dynamic which enables one to travel a lot, read extensively, create and innovate systems, work under pressure to make someone’s experience memorable, work with multicultural teams and driving them towards a common goal.
Editor: Two things you would like to change about the industry
1. Better Work life Balance - Though companies like Taj have tried to address this to a great extent, a major chunk of the industry needs to redefine policies for better work life balance in a hotelier’s life. 2. It is very encouraging to see growing participation of women in kitchen and service braving challenging work environment. Though, India Inc needs to further promote policies to encourage women to take Hospitality as a career.