Mahesh Ishwar – Executive Chef at Radisson Blu
A leader who truly believes in the philosophy of Coaching and Mentoring. ‘Honest energy’ and a passion for the job is what spells success in any industry and it is this passion and energy that Mr. Mahesh Ishwar Executive Chef Radisson Blu , draws on to motivate and inspire his team.
To youngsters wishing to join the Culinary Industry or any other profession, he says “start from scratch and work your way up. Find a person who inspires you and make them your mentor. Expertise in the said field is extremely important for professional growth. With more than 150 employees reporting in to him, he makes sure that he sets a good example by placing great importance on health and nutrition . He is happiest when his juniors surpass his expectations . He advises that those above 40 take a brisk walk. Others are encouraged to go to the gym or just listen to music to de- stress.
Being an IHM graduate , he says, “A person can have all the qualification from IHM or Cordon Bleu but what sets a person apart is an attitude of caring” .Mahesh tries to instil this attitude among the team members, not only in their daily walk of life but also in the kitchen which will ultimately extend to the amazing culinary dishes created out of passion. While hiring staff, more than qualification, he looks at the family background of the interviewee. First preference is given to the person who is from village, eager to learn, grow along the path , has the knowledge and the know-how of the culinary and who tries to bring in authentic flavours to the table. This actually proves beneficial to the organisation because they can be trained according to requirements and attrition levels remain low.
Earlier, one of the biggest challenges of the job he faced was delegating and empowering people. He says Initially “ I was physically disconnected but was emotionally and mentally connected with the job”. Today, he is secure in the knowledge that the people he has trained and nurtured are fully capable of handling a given situation.
His vision is the secret of his success. Being process oriented is important in terms of serving up a great plate of food but being a Peoples’ Person, especially in an industry which is service led is priceless. Initially while in the US, his ability to execute a Michelin star styled meal, or molecular gastronomy used to excite him. By the time he became a senior sous chef, new attributes came to the forefront. “When I first came to Goa, I had only three contacts on my cell phone but today I have a network of more than 4200 people” .He wants all Goans and also people from different walks of life to experience the varied flavours, cooked by him.” He believes in collaborating and promoting farmers and local produce and thereby giving back to the community.
His mantra is “don’t serve food you would not eat yourself. Serve safe food”. To this end, a few years ago he started an initiative and actually created a team whose sole purpose is to ensure that all raw material is pesticide and fertilizer free before it is cooked. So today, the ‘wow’ factor that Radisson Blu brings to the table in terms of food is not a complimentary dessert but a meal that is safe and healthy because his kitchen ensures that all raw material is treated in brine, soda or vinegar solution as the need may be, before it is cooked.
Encouraging those wanting to become successful celebrity chefs he advisesthem to read about the chef they want to emulate, follow their style, watch and listen to their videos. Opportunities are huge these days and youngsters should take advantage of them. There is a great big world out there and the sky is the limit.