-B Swaminathan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Known for his humor and persistence, Thomas Gugler, President of World Chefs is much popular among the Indian Chefs and students. He is actively engaging himself with chefs across the globe through training and seminars took time to interact with ‘ChefBharath.com’ readers. Starting the interactions wishing the readers of this news portal, he insisted the time to show the power of ‘white Jacket’ in this tough time. Edited excerpts
While the whole world has faced such a pandemic, what is your first message for the chefs across the globe.
I believe it is time to discuss what we have all been experiencing lately due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. This should be a sign to all of us on how to respect each other, our neighbors, and the entire world population. It should also be a sign on how to respect animals, creatures, and Mother Earth. We have all endured many months of pain, hard feelings, uncertainty, fear, and a very unclear future that has made us feel worried and scared. All these are signs, which we should not ignore, however at times our character is hesitating, resistant, and stubborn.
Always think positive, think as “WE and US” and not as “ I and Me” then the future ways will be smooth and encouraging.
The new-normal had come and experts say the new timeline would be before-COVID and after-COVID. What according to you, will impact the hospitality sector?
For me, it is very clear that are thinking has to be assured and reformulated. New hygiene parameters, new workspace techniques, social distancing, and a kind of constant fear, no mass gatherings, for the time being, different food safety measures, mono unit usage.
As well I believe, industrialized food might get more and more focused on. (Safety Aspects, fewer hands-on, more automated). On the other side, what made me very proud, that the common people had again started to cook for themselves at home during curfew and lockdown, and this created special family bonding.
In my point of view, the new normal would be a challenge for the unorganized sector. A qualified student from an H-School, as a part of the course curriculum, would have learned hygiene aspects. What is your interpretation?
I believe it is a mutual learning requirement for specialists, students, and amateurs and less educated people. There has to be a ‘teamwork’ which mutually grows and the parameters to be set clear and understandable. The preference definitely and the lead will be done by newly trained and fully aware experts and students as they experienced and learned all from scratch.
With job-loss, salary cuts, many chefs are undergoing mental agony. How they should keep themselves motivated to stay positive.
Firstly, the pandemic is not impacting the chef community alone but the entire world population. So, on the job cuts and salary losses, I personally don’t think so it will continue. As the global market still is expanding in the hospitality sector and good skilled young talented culinarians are highly required, searched for and there will be a great future for them coming up after a few hard times where we are in now.
A personal recommendation would be, firstly to develop yourself further by webinars, seminars, online learning, self-practicing, and home training to not lose the skills and as the second parameter to develop more skills. Globally, after every dry period there comes more fruitful years. It’s a painful way, but I believe as we all know, food and beverage is the most important aspect for human beings and animals. Therefore, we as chefs will always have work in different forms but the food is life. Thus I am very positive while looking forward.
You would have interacted with Chefs across the various regions. Which region, according to you, the hospitality sector had been better and which region is worst-affected?
On a daily basis, I am in talks with various segments from the industry from all around the world, and everywhere the people/chefs are talking the same language. There is no difference at any place around the world and the customers which are our assets are in fear, uncertain and worried and especially in regards to safe dining out, and this affects all of us equally globally.
In your views, how Indian kitchens are equipped to handle such a pandemic. Post lockdown, what are the best practices Indian kitchens should adopt to win the customers?
Firstly it’s the safety measurements and awareness which plays a role. Leading by example, making the necessary steps publicly which shows the guests that you care, protect, and go the extra mile. There must be surely more training and awareness campaigns country-wise been executed and published/broadcasted. Talking positive about the future, being leaders, and assuring the clients/guests your commitment.
If you were asked to give top-3 suggestions for the Chef community as a whole, after the normality turns on, what would be they?
1)Always think positively, be wise, and motivate your self.
2)Educate yourself, continue learning, and search for the new horizon in front of you.
3)Be humble, and do all you have to do in a way that you respect all races, beliefs, genders, and colours, share with the needy and be a parade example of humanity.