A few days back my friend Global Madrasi (R. Ramesh) wrote a blog about a destiny and he asked everybody, Do you believe in destiny or not? I did reply to him, yes I do and this blog is like an extension to that particular Yes. This is not regarding me; it’s regarding two of my dear friends Kuldeep and Nikhil. I have met both of them on 15th July 2002 on my first day as a Taj Management Trainee. We were batch of 18 trainees selected from all over India to be molded as future chefs,
Lets start with Kuldeep first, this 6’’ feet tall, haryanvi jaat, rather then a jaat, he was more like a stud of our batch. I feel during his collage days, he would have never dreamed also, that one day he would be a management trainee of Taj Group (I had also never dreamed that one day I will make it to TMTP) but we all 18 did it.
Kuldeep specialized in Bakery and confectionary and I did in European cuisine and these two years of training flew like 2 weeks, During these two years, we laughed, we cried, we cribbed, pulled each others leg and did all, that one trainee can do and then on 15th July 2004 the day came, for which we all were waiting from the very first day, our graduation ceremony, where we all got our black neckerchief, and officially announced as Chefs, but same day we got letter of deputation also. I had been deputed to Taj West End Bangalore and Kuldeep to Taj Exotica, Goa.
Now from here onwards destiny started to show its true colors, When Kuldeep reached Goa to resume his duty, his executive chef refused to accept him in his team (because according him corporate has not consulted him) so from Goa, he got transferred to Taj Hari Mahal Palace, Jodhpur. He worked there for a year and then again got back transferred to Goa, but this time he did resumed his duty. He worked there for 2 more years, during all this time, other batch mates got promoted to next level, but in his case he was hopping from one place to another. He spoke to his corporate chef, regarding promotion, but he refused. In this frustration and anger Kuldeep started to apply for jobs, where ever he can and by luck he wrote one mail to 3 star Michelin chef, Chef Michel Roux in London and asked for job of an apprentice (remember he was working as Sr Chef De Partie and was applying for an apprentice) but to his hard luck, Chef Michel refused to take him as an apprentice also. After few months, some how he managed to get a job in one of the London’s Indian restaurant. Now from London, again he wrote mail to Chef Michel Roux and mentioned that he has come to London and wanted to see his kitchen. Now this time his lady luck worked for him, he got a reply from Chef Michel Roux, who asked him to come with his Chef coat and offered him work in his kitchen for just one day.
It’s a matter of pride for any chef to work with Chef Michel Roux, even if it’s for one day. He went there and worked for one day and a week later he got a job offer from Chef Roux to join him in his 3 star Michelin restaurant “Waterside Inn” as Pastry Chef, can you imagine, a place where Kuldeep applied for a job of an apprentice and had been rejected, today same place was offering him a Pastry Chef. He joined “Waterside Inn” and worked there for a year, after a year, again a destiny started to play with him; he got a new job offer with double package, (obviously everybody works for money), so he left Waterside Inn to join his new restaurant, but this time his lady luck did not worked, his work permit got rejected, now he was like a (na ghar ka, na ghat ka), again he started his new job hunt and applied to as many places as he can, but nothing worked, so he came back to India and after two months again he got a call from London and this time it was from celebrity chef, Chef Atul Kocher and he offered him a job of Pastry Chef in his one star Michelin restaurant Benaras in London. Now again he flew back to London. Currently he is working in Benaras as Pastry chef.
Now lets talk about Nikhil, same like Kuldeep, I met Nikhil also during my TMTP time, but Nikhil left training program after 6 months only to pursue his higher studies in New Zealand but due to some personal problem, he came back to India and did not completed his course. In India he joined Park Hotel, New Delhi as Sr Chef de Partie and later got promoted to Sous Chef. Now this time his destiny played, on his lucky day, he was doing afternoon shift and a team of TV channel came to conduct auditions for their new cookery show and by luck he was the only senior chef available on duty, he gave audition and got selected and today he is a celebrity chef of popular cookery show Rasm E Rasoi on channel 9x
I am not saying that these guys did not worked hard, they definitely worked very hard, but today where they have reached, only one out of thousand Kuldeeps and Nikhils reach to that place.
Now all this is not destiny, then what is this? Now, I ask you again, do you believe in destiny or not?
P.S: My friend Kuldeep has written his comments about this particular blog, you can read his comments too. This particular blog was my perception, but he thinks totally opposite....