Chef Ankur Tripathi
Its been 8 years since our first interview and thank you for connecting with us again! How have these years been for you?
Yes, the time has flown, seems like it was yesterday. Actually these 8 years were tough, challenging but rewarding at the same time. Covered the journey from Indian chef to Executive chef now at Radisson Blu Hotel & Residence Maputo.
From Croatia to Egypt to Nigeria and currently in Maputo, Mozambique. So I cannot complain, last 8 years have been great.
You are now an Executive Chef, how has life changed after becoming the boss?
Hahahaaaa, yes life has changed for me from a professional point of view now how I see the business is a bit different, lots of planning, looking well into the future, decision making, impact of your own decision, profitability and most important - guest satisfaction. I had to learn and adjust to becoming a person who is not only focused on his task at hand but on everybody else's. Building strong relationships with guest, suppliers and colleagues. It's like I am pilot of the plane always focused driving the team, business and delivering results.
Lots of responsibilities on the shoulder, have to lead by example. Now I have to focus on getting best out of my brigade and dealing with diverse personalities It took lots of effort, training and time but I can say here I have developed a very strong kitchen team. As an Executive Chef you can as good as your team.
Tell us a little bit more about - Filini School @ Radisson Blu Hamburg, Germany
Filini is contemporary Italian Restaurant and Bar concept of Radisson Hotel Group.
It was two days intense cooking workshop where all the Chefs from different Filini restaurant around globe and Area Chefs together we discussed new concept of Filini and cooked, plated and presented the new menu.
It was an eye opener, not so much in obtaining more technical skills, but the network opportunity was vast. Some things cannot be taught in books, and inspiration is not always obtainable through the internet. Nothing compares in having a few drinks with your industry peers and feeding of their experience and philosophies. As chefs always do……
Overall a great exposure and experience spending two days in and out of kitchen with some of very good chefs and people.
How is the Organic Herb Garden going? Share some secrets, some troubles and all the benefits.
It is doing great, almost four years now. We grow almost all the normal herbs used in kitchen depending on the season like rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, parsley, rocket, chives, sage, lavender, tarragon, mint, coriander, chilies, lemongrass, lettuce, and tomatoes etc. The climate and the weather here is just perfect and also soil is very fertile. But needs constant care and maintenance as I have to content with insect, plant nutrition and all the issues commercial farmer have to deal with, except on a micro scale. Besides being a practical way of getting my hands on fresh ingredients, the garden has also become a source of motivation for some of my staff members. Many times we do our kitchen management briefing in the garden ;)
Nothing beats the feeling of growing your own produce and serving it on your menu. It has really helped me a lot to get fresh herbs in the kitchen on regular basis, cost saving and better quality.
What is next from here?
Will be moving to the Asia Pacific, a bit closer to home and as it's new region for me so the challenge is on. Also preparing myself to take bigger responsibilities, will keep you posted!!!!
How do you manage multi-cultural workforce? Are Indians a big part?
In fact, I am the only Indian in the hotel at this moment, and I have to deal with local customs and traditions which is a big learning curve for me and I have taught myself that my way is not always the only way so I learned first seek to understand and to be understood. It is a great pleasure to be allowed to work in foreign destinations and getting to work with an international workforce. At least I can say that wherever I have worked have been lucky to find people with common interest. My F&D manager is South African and Financial Controller is Kenyan but of Pakistani descent, so cricket is always a big point of discussion amongst us, with a lot of banter!
What can people do, if they want to work with you? How do they apply?
They can follow my career on places like LinkedIn as well as my Facebook page, and feel free to apply for any vacancy coming up in my kitchen, but be forewarned that even though I am classified as a modern era chef, my roots are firmly planted in the old school upbringing in the kitchen, where right is right, and maybe goes in the bin. Cooking skills can be taught by me, but character and hard work are in the hands of the employee.