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What You Need To Consider Before Picking A Job In The Culinary Industry



If Masterchef has inspired you to pick a job in the culinary industry, here’s what to consider before enrolling yourself into a course

Another academic year is about to begin and you are possibly evaluating your options. If you’ve liked watching Gary Mehigan on Masterchef Australia or Nigella Lawson is your idol, you probably have tried whipping up a few dishes and perhaps even succeeded. But, does that make you ready to be a full-time chef? Experts from the industry tell you what you need to consider:

‘Be ready to learn’
Ami Shroff, Mixologist – London Taxi
When you hit this Lower Parel bar, you will spot a petite woman behind the bar doing some mind-blowing tricks. Shroff is also India’s first female flair bartender. In her opinion, “There needs to be a willingness to always keep learning in the hospitality industry. A keen interest in any of the areas of hospitality is required for one to stick around long enough.”

‘Get a reality check’
Siddharth Somaiya, Director of Hauslandish Hospitality (Bao Haus and Goyaa)
Siddharth Somaiya worked in New York before he opened his first venture, Bao Haus in Mumbai. Currently, he is in the process of setting up his restaurant, Goyaa, in Byculla. Somaiya believes that loving to cook and being a chef are two very different things. “Our first line during orientation at culinary school went as follows ‘Only 0.03 per cent of you will still be in this industry 10 years from now’. It is true. If you want to run a successful restaurant, you better be the first one in and the last one to leave. Some days I am an accountant and some days I clean the bathrooms as well. There is no task beneath you or above you.”

‘Climbing the ladder is tedious’
Sahil Arora, owner,  266 – The Wine Room and Bar
Sahil Arora finished his education in Delhi and went on to work in some of the finest kitchens in Australia. He recently opened his first restaurant in Mumbai called The Wine Room and Bar. He feels, “Various TV series and food channels show the alluring aspects of being a chef — the adventure, excitement and teamwork. This is only the tip of the iceberg. The food industry worldwide has long working hours, poor wages, unpleasant working conditions and is demanding both physically and mentally. Make a note of these points before making a decision.”

Sahil Arora, 26 - The Wine Room and Bar
Sahil Arora, 266 – The Wine Room and Bar

‘Chugging beer doesn’t help’
Oliver Schauf, brewmaster at Doolally
This mad scientist at the city’s first taproom has over 20 years of experience in brewing craft beer. Schauf warns, “While the perks of being a brewmaster usually involve free beer; brewing beer is tough, technical and has very little to do with how much you can drink on a Saturday night.” He encourages that one must get certified training in the subject as it equips you with all the knowledge necessary. VSI, Pune & Gargi Institute, Nashik offer these courses in Maharashtra.

‘Develop a thick skin’
Chef Paul Kinny, Culinary Director – F&B Division of Phoenix Mills
Chef Kinny has worked with fine dining restaurants, five stars and to now being the FnB director for all the restaurants at Phoenix Mills. He says, “I’d recommend that budding chefs develop a thick skin. There will be constant feedback from guests, your boss and your colleagues on how there is always room for improvement and believe me, it is not the easiest thing to listen to.”

‘Learn a thing about finance’
Pradeep Nair, Director – Operations, Pot Pourri
This Navi Mumbai eatery was one of the first to offer global cuisines. Recently they entered the upcoming food hub – Chembur. According to Pradeep Nair, “Running a food venture, especially a profitable one, means running a difficult and price-sensitive ship. So, one has to plan extensively and have the foresight to manage costs and revenues. Sharpen your skills in financial management.”

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