Manjit Singh Rattu, Senior Executive Chef at Holiday Inn Resort Goa
Chef Manjit Singh Rattu is currently the Senior Executive Chef at Holiday Inn Resort Goa which belongs to IHG. Chef Manjit is working in this organization from last 15 years and joined Holiday Inn Resort Goa in 2005. He has a massive 20 years of working experience in the Hotel industry.
There are many factors that inspired Chef Manjit to take up this profession. Being a Sardar and North Indian, he is foodie and loves to try different foods. Whenever he travels, he prefers to visit the local joints and try out the local specialty dishes of there to understand the actual taste and cuisine.
He chose this profession 23 years back, when the hotel management profession was just emerging and a job was very much guaranteed. All his family are either from Army background and others are doctors and engineers. So Chef Manjit really stood put when he decided to go for the hospitality industry. The person who supported him in his endeavor was his mother. His mother taught him how to make simple & small dishes. This is where he got the foundation of cooking. He loved to cook. His mother also taught him that if he learnt how to cook he would respect women and he will understand women’s in better way the pain they take to provide a good meal.
He believes that people in the Army, Doctors and Chefs are the profession in which they are called by their profession and not by their name.
He expresses, “There is no shortcut to Success. Hard work accompanied by smart work & positive frame of mind is the key to success. You must be very positive and be ready to accept the daily new challenges because every day is a new day and you are dealing with different sets of people daily. Food is only one aspect but when it comes to hospitality, you deal with different individuals every day. Apart from that you should have a ‘ready to go’ attitude. You shouldn’t cringe from trying anything new.
You also need to have the willingness to learn as everyday trends are changing. You should grasp it and move ahead. In short you can say honesty, hard work, positive frame of mind, right attitude, willingness to learn and ability to handle daily challenges.”
He expressed that social media plays a lot of role today. “Nowadays everybody is in social media, so you have to move along with the time. You cannot stay in the primitive ways. The time is changing and so you want to go along with the people. Apart from that you should have the right people for the right work. Consistency and quality is very much important. People like to go to a particular restaurant because they like the taste they get there and you expect that you will get the same taste when you visit again. You should also have your uniqueness, your USP.”
According to Chef Manjit the feeling of excellence for the customer is personalized service that is provided. He further says, “Until and unless you don’t give that personalized service people will not remember you. In my hotel we do a lot of weddings also generally I just make sure that every day approximately for 30 minutes, I meet people and sit with them. We just casually speak about their stay & likings and share the numbers to create a bond. This is how I am connect with the people. And that is the personalized service which I give to them.”
In this pandemic situation he thanks God that he is safe and is not looking for any support from his organization. He says it is his time to give back to the society and the people. “We are getting reduced salaries but we are thankful for that. If you survive this year then you have won the battle. If you earn crores of rupees but you don’t have peace of mind then all that money is of no use. So I don’t expect anything from my management. I just want to be connected with all the people and those who are out of Goa right now. I just want to tell them that their jobs are absolutely safe. When the situation will be normal they will be called back again.”
It is his passion to cook. In the 20 years that he was a part of the industry he did not get the time to cook for his family. But for the past 3 months he has been making the specials for his 6 year old son who gives him a genuine feedback about his cooking.
“I think success is when one doesn’t have to give an introduction & people know you. Some people calculate in terms of money, others calculate it in terms of the position they are holding. But I believe that I am pretty successful in life where I am balancing my family life, professional life and my friend circle life. So everything is balanced. So that’s success for me.”
When asked where he sees himself in the next 5 years, he says, “I am a chef and I will be a Chef throughout my life. But I would like to take add-on responsibilities. I don’t know how the industry will change especially after this pandemic. What will be the new norms or what will be the new age cooking because people will be more focused on health versions rather than taste. We already have trends of super foods; micro greens and grains as well, new salads etc. So where ever the trend is moving I have to update myself with that.”
He is working with the new and raw talent with the Gen-X kids, that is, childrens the next generation or the ones that are born in this millennial. “These kids have a different way of thinking. They think that all the information is readily available on the internet. I am working with these children to make them understand that you have to have patience and that there is no shortcut to success. You have to work hard. I tell them ‘practice makes perfect’ and when you continuously practice, you will learn something. Every time you make the same dish you will learn something new. I work with these kids and they are growing and are going to be successful in their careers. This will give a satisfaction. When I see a guest happy after having the food it gives me a lot of satisfaction.”
“We are associated with Culinary Forum of Goa, it is registered by IFCA (Indian Federation of Culinary Association) which is linked to the WACS (World Association of Chef Society). It is a Non-government, Nonprofit Making Organization where we work with the underprivileged kids and we do a lot of activities but because of this pandemic we are unable to do things. Otherwise every year on International Chefs Day we organize a charity lunch where all Chefs of Star hotel meet and we get 2 to 3 dishes for 350 to 400 kids who are staying in ashrams and we share the food with them. Apart from that we do fund raising programs and we try to give whatever is required on a daily basis. We have also done some competitions and give pre signed appointment letters to joins us once their course is completed. We are also in talks with some colleges if they can sponsor 2 to 3 kids free of cost study.”
Generally it is not a recipe that Chef Manjit but if a new cuisine is coming then he does look it up. He is not bothered of the recipes. That is available on any search engine. The thing is how authentic is it.
For the other hoteliers he would like to say, “We are very much positive & time will change soon. Everyone have to be very patient. We are seeing a lot of people who are quitting. Secondly in this virtual world you should have real friends with whom you can talk. We have so many followers but no real friend. So that is the problem. People don’t talk. You cannot change the situation so what is left in your hand is that you can change yourself according to fit the situation. Initially the results you are looking for will not be visible to you but you need to keep going. When the going gets tough the tough actually gets going. You have to take baby steps. Apart from that, never give up learning. You have to learn new things every day. And always prepare yourself for the worst.”
For the readers, he says, “Be positive Stay Safe and healthy. The people who are healthy will lead in this industry. Anywhere you go people will ask you your health situation more than your academics. Health is the new passport. Give this industry 10 years properly. If you can give 10 years to this industry then you will definitely succeed.”