Tuesday, February 14, 2017

What It Takes To Become a 
        Kitchen Management Trainee

Who makes sure that the food stays hot, the salads crisp & the sauces just at the right consistency? It’s a kitchen manager. He is responsible for the overall operations for the back of the house & kitchen area of a restaurant. But a kitchen manager doesn’t just pop out of nowhere. They undergo training as a Kitchen Management Trainee (KMT) to fill those big managerial boots.

I was fortunate enough to be selected as a KMT for three of the best hotel chains in India, The Park, ITC Ltd &The Oberoi Group of Hotels & Resorts. From my experience, there are a number of aspects which are considered when selecting a candidate for a Kitchen Management Training Program. Perhaps the most important being COMMUNICATION skills. A chef in today’s world is not only confined to the kitchen behind a range, they are required to step out into the restaurant, interact with the guests also coordinate with other departments of the hotel for smooth functionality. I came to understand that my will to express my thoughts, ideas and how to react in a sticky situation gave me an edge over others. To be clear and concise when speaking to anyone, as to not create any confusion.

Hit the books! As a KMT candidate i found myself spending hours of time behind culinary classics and other books. KNOWLEDGE is key , to know what is happening in & around the world comes in handy when sitting for an interview. To know the recipe simply isn't enough , one has to know to keep tabs on food costs, waste generated & employee rosters & to create the best possible experience for a customer. Management subjects are equally important .

EYE FOR DETAIL. Over time and various interviews I found myself paying utmost attention to the most minute details or aspects. If i went to a restaurant, I would question them, how many covers are there? What’s the garnish? Is the plate made of fine china? Is it a set menu? Etc. To scrutinize every aspect is what will make you the big picture with utmost clarity.

A KMT candidate should display attributes of a LEADER. Leadership qualities are a very strong suit for a Kitchen Manager. I often found myself in groups leading them, listening to various solutions and then taking the best ones and getting it done, to resolve any conflicts which arise in a group or a hot kitchen, it was essential that I kept calm and didn't enter a state of panic. If a leader himself is panicking, then the group has already failed. I learned over the course of time, how to rally my team when the morale is low and to get the task completed in the most efficient way possible.

There are times when everything is going in a smooth flow but a situation arises which puts you in a tough spot. To be able to THINK ON YOUR FEET is a very important quality. to take the right decisions under stress and duress shows how good a leader, manager you are.

Last but not the least, STAMINA. This industry that we have chosen has work hours no layman would understand. A bare minimum of 12 hours on your feet is what  is required of you. Long working hours test a person both physically and intellectually. I made sure that i exercised at least thrice a week to keep up my endurance and stamina.

The combination of these qualities are what makes a candidate a strong choice during a selection procedures by hotels and restaurants, they can be acquired & worked on over time & perfected. The journey to become a Kitchen management trainee begins the very moment you enter the premises of the institute. A person’s attitude determines how successful he is in achieving his goal.

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