Farooq Mohammed Baig, Executive Chef at The Zuri White Sands, Goa Resorts & Casino

Chef Mohammed Farooq Baig is currently working at The Zuri White Sands, Goa Resort & Casino for the past 8 years. Located in Varca, Chef Baig enjoys working there. He has experience of working in the Middle East and also on the ship.

His inspiration to become a chef began in his childhood as he had a habit of serving people. His brother being a foodie suggested Chef Baig to join the hotel industry where he could learn something and he could deliver different cuisines. Curious about it, Chef Baig landed up in the hotel industry and it has been almost 25 years he has been in the culinary industry.

The key secret to success, according to Chef Baig is passion. Second would be integrity. He adds, “Through there is passion there should be love also. So these 3 things, when you combine together, helps you reach your goal or the opportunity you are looking out for. Chefs are a breed apart. You need a hint of madness and extreme passion to tread the path to the top. Be ready to experiment and for some long working hours.”

With regards to changes in the courses of IHM, Chef Baig suggests, “The dynamics of the industry has evolved to meet the changing demands of the guests today. However the syllabus continues to be the same. So we need to make it relevant. The faculties need frequent real time exposure with what is trending. From my point of view, as an Executive Chef, I started as a trainee. The only work I was given, as a trainee, was cleaning, washing things, washing vegetables, bringing vegetables etc. The trainees are not coming to do this kind of work. They obviously, no doubt, have to learn to do these jobs as well. But on the other hand they should be given some responsibilities also. If 10 trainees are coming out of a hotel, out of those 10 you will find only 4 or 5 who are really interested. So the students need to be counseled so as to know what they really want to pursue so that the time spent is utilized in such a  way that while going back they should feel ‘What I gained from this has really helped me a lot.’

He expresses that authenticity should always be there. Once that is there then obviously the originality of that dish needs to be preserved. “If we talk authenticity of anything, for example, Biryani, we should be sticking to the recipe what our ancestors have taught us. Have a consistency on that. Social media has become so active and people go for the reviews they see. So these are a few things that a chef has to stick to, in order to really make a difference.”

To the other hoteliers he mentioned, “Your presence will make the difference. Be it at the shop floor or at key operational periods your constant presence will make the difference. Frame, develop and think of long lasting benefits. Small things will go long way. Monitor people, expenses, quality, operations and experience. I believe in standing on the floor, watching, helping and guiding the new comers, seniors as well as juniors. I feel you constantly need to be on the floor, supervise, help and guide them. That really is going to help.”  

In the next 5 years, Chef Baig wants to have his own restaurant or his own entrepreneurship, like a fine dining, where he can showcase his talent and his food power.

In order to be in the first position, there has to be a total menu reworking based on the data analysis for the past 2 years. He also believes that preparation plus opportunity is the secret to Success. There is no other joy which can compare to the feeling one gets when seeing a guest overwhelmed and delighted and looking forward to come again to your hotel.

Chef Baig happily exclaims, “The management of my hotel approves of me going to other hotels and checking out what is going on or to see what is the trend that is going on there. I really appreciate this. You do not get this in all the hotels. Whatever we do, we are made answerable for our actions which builds the courage and self confidence that is very much required in our industry. I also talk to the guest and interact with them. For example, if I get to know that my guest is not happy with the service, my subordinates and my Sous Chefs and Outlet Chefs are given the freedom to give the guest what they are expecting.

Lastly he would like to add that, “We want to be back soon in action, and serve our guests who are really desperately looking out for holidays and weddings. We are so habitual with this profession that sitting at home really makes us feel something is missing. We need to go in the hotel and serve our guests, make them happy and get the smile back on their