As the world battles the pandemic, the hospitality industry is also striving to adapt to the new normal. Chef Krishnendu Hazra, executive pastry chef, Raajkutir Swabhumi, shares how they have redesigned their menus to suit to the guests’ appetite in the new normal
What challenges and opportunities did you face while pursuing career in culinary arts?
During the initial days of my career, as I belong to a small town in West Bengal, adapting my self to the metro cities and busy lifestyle was a challenge. In the middle phase of my career, moving out from luxury hotels and joining smaller standalone units was a challenge. When I went to South Africa, communication was a challenge as the employees hardly spoke English. And of course during the present days, the pandemic is a challenge, but I firmly believe this too shall pass. Along with challenges came in opportunities. Making from a small town to a metro city was the first opportunity. Moving to the international market was another big opportunity. Getting to learn and work with international chefs and ingredients was a great opportunity.
How did you have a check on the F&B costs for the property during the lockdown while also engaging in community services?
To be very honest, during this lockdown we are not looking at profits. We are only looking to generate the operational cost, and food cost being one. Everyone has the responsibility towards the community. There are numerous people who are not being able to eat a couple of meals a day, Hence our company took the effort to feed them. Definitely food cost also need to be considered, hence the menu is smartly designed wherein we tried to use maximum local products and least imported/expensive products.
How are you curating F&B experiences and re-engineering menus for the guests in the new normal?
Like mentioned before, during the new normal, the menus have been redesigned. Just to give an example, we are using lots of local products like usage of semolina for cookies, usage of poppy seeds, puffed rice, chocolates, etc. People would generally not think of making artisan chocolates with puffed rice, but this lockdown gave us a new dimension.
What innovative measures have you chalked out to keep the F&B business in flow during these unprecedented times?
During these unpredicted times, we have taken a few steps for us to sustain. We were not delivering our products, but we are now delivering through our delivery partners. We are trying to get into the packaged food industry. This is in the process but hopefully, we can make into departmental stores and airlines. We also intended to serve free food to kids on a day of the week. We inturn expect more footfall of guests.
What would you suggest to the budding chefs keen on joining the industry?
Patience is the key. Nothing comes fast, especially in the culinary world. Get basics right, before knowing to do plating. Learn to make a good break. Keep minds open but with endless questions. If one has the right attitude he/she shall definitely excel.