As you transition into a leadership role, how do you prepare for the shift of responsibilities?
A leadership role is not new to me. I have been leading for the past 8 years now. With the shift in responsibilities, my focus will be more on overall guest satisfaction and strategic planning.
What excites you the most as you become Director of F&B? How will you manage expectations and potential challenges?
I am excited for guest interactions, driving F & B revenues, walking the talk, and strengthening the team.
Can you recall any memorable experiences and/or life lessons from working as an Executive Chef?
One of the memorable experiences would be my visit to Washington DC 2 years ago to observe IMF and World Bank annual meetings, operations and setup. Then, executing the same event on a larger scale in Bali last October, with 36,699 delegates and participants in attendance.
The lesson for me would be “The show must go on”. You improvise and look for alternative ways to make things work as quickly as possible.
From a manager’s perspective, what strategies are essential for cultivating a driven, energetic team environment?
There are many strategies one can adapt, but my Top 5 are:
-Foster collaboration & invite input from the team -Empower associates to make decisions
-Create opportunities for development
-Set clear goals and have effective communication within the team
What is something that many people may not know about the Food & Beverage aspect of hospitality?
Food and beverage contributes almost 40 % of total hotel revenue in most hotels and people associated with F&B are very creative and flexible.
Being a native to India, how has your home country and culture influenced your career path?
In India, it is a very competitive environment; not only hotels, but in any field. In order to thrive, you must excel in whatever you do. Indian culture believes in atithi devo bhava, “Treat your guest as if he is the god for you”.
How did you end up settling in Bali? Has your career invited opportunities for international travel and global connectivity?
Bali always fascinated me. One fine day in Perth, while watching my son play game of Footy, I got an inquiry call if I would be interested in the role of Executive chef at the Westin Resort Nusa Dua. 3 months later, I was in Bali with Team Westin.
Travel is an integral part of hospitality. As far global connectivity goes, people associated with hospitality are constantly moving, whether it is travel partners, suppliers or hotel staff; and not to miss our guests due to which people associated with hospitality have connections in most cities of the world.
With the 5-star grandeur of the Westin Resort, how do you personalize your interactions with guests to make them feel at home?
Make personal connections in interactions and find things in common. Once done, the channel is open for most guests to share their simple needs that many think are complicated for hotels to deliver.
Do you have a “speciality” dish that you enjoy creating, whether at work or at home?
You must try my Mastrestock braised pork belly that I cook for my family.
What advice would you give to aspiring culinary artists and hospitality professionals?
Love what you do, keep your head down, work hard, find a mentor who can help you to push your boundaries and shape your career.