This is what a tea break on a normal working day looks like –
People often think that I visit only fancy, expensive restaurants & hotels, for tastings & reviews. They are often under the impression that being invited for a ‘tasting’ means we just go there, eat for free & then post pictures on social media.
Well, I wouldn’t blame them for thinking that way, because they do see pictures of expensive places, delicious food & all that jazz.
So, yes, Food Bloggers do that generally.
However, that’s just a small part of what I do.
In case you’re thinking that’s the ONLY thing I do…Lol…NO !
I have run my own commercial kitchen for almost 10 years, from where I used to supply baked goodies, desserts & confections to a lot of restaurants.
When I shut down my kitchen after 10 fantastic years of crazy schedules, massive workload, deadlines, & zero personal life, I thought of taking a sabbatical.
But the constant need to ‘do something constructive & be productive in some way, wouldn’t let me sit quietly at home, for too long.
It was then that I started taking up assignments for Consultancy & Training in the food industry.
Many restaurants avoid hiring trained staff, due to the fear of paying higher salaries. But what they don’t realize is that they are doing themselves more harm, rather than being ‘smart’.
If you think hiring trained staff is expensive, try hiring unskilled people !
So that’s when a ‘consultant’comes into the picture. Someone who can train the staff, set systems in place, right from grooming them, teaching them the importance of personal hygiene, to showing them how to do the dishes, wait tables, serve food, the importance of communication, keeping a check on inventory, & a million other things !
So in short, you could say, my work has a lot to do with ‘man management’.
When readers/followers on Instagram see the beautiful glitzy, glam pictures from events, & tastings, and all those lavish ‘food festivals’, there are also some ‘behind the scene’ pics that they never get to see ! 😅
Kitchens are hard environments, and they form incredibly strong characters.
Some days are peaceful, while some turn out to be real nightmares!
You have to act as a mediator at times, handle temper tantrums – not just the guests’, but also your team’s.
There are issues regarding salaries, job profile, leaves, and so on.
Sometimes there are mishaps in the kitchen, & you need to be prepared for the worst.
So…Coming back to the point, how does a normal workaday look like ?
Well….sometimes it’s looks like this –
And some other times, it looks like this –
Yup….when I’m working with boys from the Cleaning team, the actual ‘Dishwashers’, or the ‘Bussers’, who clean tables, mop floors, carry dishes back to the sink to be washed, or clean tables, set the tables again for the next service.
These boys generally come from economically weaker backgrounds, most of the times they haven’t even completed their basic education.
The fancy food served at restaurants is something they’ve never even seen or heard of, in their life.
They do not understand the importance of personal hygiene, etiquette or communication. That’s where my work begins. At the grassroot level, most of the times.
Just recently, I was working with a team, comprising of people who have varied jobs in restaurants, right from – dishwashers, technicians, servers, cooks, managers & restaurant owners.
Which means, one day, I’d be teaching the dish washer guy his cleaning duties, while the next day, I could be telling the cooking team about chopping skills, or ‘Garnishes’, discussing some cooking techniques with the Chef, or speaking with the managers about ‘effective communication’ with the clients; & the same evening attending a launch party with the restaurant owner & a bunch of ‘celebs’.
The other day, all the boys from the restaurant, where I’m working on a training & consultancy assignment, stopped by at this ‘tapri’ (street food cart) for chai.
It was the best half an hour of the day, for me.☺ We ate together, had tea, shared our views on how things need to be changed/improved, & how I expect work to be done, even when I’m not around.
Its very imporatant to let them speak, in order to understand their views ; & I must say, some of them really do come up with very valuable suggestions, which are gladly accepted if they benefit the team/organisation. But at the same time, you also have to be strict with them, & make them understand that your word is the last word, & that they are supposed to follow orders without arguing.
I get to learn so many things from them. So many things we would never get to know, or imagine, living in the cozy comfort of our plush high rise apartments. The smiles on their faces when they realize, that you genuinely want their opinion, is such a nice feeling.
Doesn’t matter if you’re their ‘pack leader’ & have to assign tasks, & be strict at times. For them, to follow & genuinely respect you, the most important thing is that YOU respect them 1st, & be part of their circle.
As someone rightly said, it’s not the customer who is the most important part of your business, it’s the employee. If you treat your employees right, they will treat your customers right, and make sure that they increase your business.
Kitchens are hard environments & they form incredibly strong characters.
Yes, on some days my Brunch meeting could be at a 5 * property with the best of sparkling wine, followed by tea at a roadside tapri with these guys.
And the trick is, to be able to balance both, with just the same comfort & ease. 😊