What are the new trends, which was not existing earlier and current students have the opportunity to equip themselves according to it?
Chef Gaurav Ekal: Innovation is the latest trend which is ruling in the market. To found the long lost regional cuisine and present it in a modern way, this is the need of the hour, As we are living the era where trends keep changing on a daily or a weekly basis. In the majority of the culinary schools, the system is focused on completing and following the syllabus, apart from that only a few institutes go for a different type of exposures. After syllabus we should train the students for the industry, there should be exposures to the latest trends of culinary, food presentation and food styling as well.Before going for the latest toss, Faculties, teaching professionals and also the industry’s chef they should also be that much trained to deliver it to their students, faculties also need to come out of their comfort zone and strive for learning new things which will ultimately enhance their knowledge book and helps in elevating the Hospitality and culinary education of the nation.
In this era of technology, major kitchen tasks and housekeeping tasks have been taken over by machines. So how important it is to provide the technical knowledge to the students to make them all-rounder?
Chef Gaurav Ekal: For keeping students updated with technological aspects hospitality schools and institutes keep conducting industrial visits for the students where they get introduced with the machines which are been in use within the industry. In India, at college or institute level it is quite difficult for the management to provide them with all the equipment that is being used by the professionals because of the low infrastructure and budget. Definitely, colleges always try to keep their students updated with all the technology, but due to constraining in the budget, it is difficult for any educational body to provide the latest equipment every time. To rule the sector your fundamentals of the subject must be crystal clear because any machine will work on your input and if your theoretical is weak then you can’t operate even the best machine of the world efficiently.For example, all bowlers use the same ball but the player with the stronghold on the basics of bowling always come up with the variations, which make them out of the league. Same in the hospitality industry if we talk about the housekeeping then one should know that which machine and materials are needed to be used for which different types of surfaces. Technology is something which human innovates using the brain and the basics, without basics nothing can exist.
We cannot deny the fact that the Indian government and institutions have been working to reform the existing education model. However, there are still several issues which are required to be taken care of. If we talk about Hospitality education then what are the major changes which should be done?
Chef Gaurav Ekal: A few years back when I was the chairman of Mumbai University for food production and I was also the part of the syllabus committee. If we talk about the examination pattern of India and abroad, there are huge differences in the ways we conduct examinations. In our country students have been provided with a huge list of guidelines like mandatory attendance to be eligible for the examination. In Kohinoor international institute of management, there is a diploma course in which students get a chance to study 2years in India and the remaining 2 years in the United Kingdom. When we have visited University College Birmingham, we witness that the study and examination pattern is different. Attending 1st semester is compulsory over there but from 2nd-semester students have options to work with the industry. They majorly focus on researches which are the main thing which is lacking in our country. In our country, if you ask students about ‘Turmeric’ they can mention 2-3 characteristics and the usage of it, but in actual if we go for research we will find that Turmeric has abundant of benefits apart from general things, majority of the population does not even know it.Recently I have published two research papers with IFS, the paper was related to ‘Right Eating Habits’. In simple language through this study, I found that what all types of precautions we should take when it comes to foods. ‘Research Methodology’ is missing in our country and the curiosity to do research is something which is missing in the present time. Students have 4-5 subjects based on which marking happens, so students also keep their focus on those 4-5 mandatory subjects for scoring high marks. The trend of following celebrity personalities is good but you need to understand that everyone has their path, they can guide you but ultimately you have to fight your own battle. Indian brains are among the best of the world, but due to lack of researches, our culinary sector is not been able to reach to the height where it is supposed to be.
What are skills that make a candidate perfect match for working/heading the operations of a Hotel?
Chef Gaurav Ekal: Attitude matters a lot in the professional world, as you can’t say that I have competed for my degree now I know everything. Again coming to the point which I have mentioned above also that Basic is something which can lead you to the success. Every brand has its techniques to operate the hotels but one thing you will find common is the ‘Basics’. Like a ‘Potato’ can be served in three different recipes but the basic characteristics of the Potato will remain the same, only cooking style differs. I always suggest my students that never learn the recipe, learn the behind science and techniques rest will follow you.
What is the difference in the courses which are entire hospitality centric and the courses in which there is a combination of hospitality and tourism?
Chef Gaurav Ekal: Word Hospitality is very dynamic and it is not just restricted at hotels and food, it is beyond that. Hospitality and Hotel Management are two different things. When we talk about hospitality it is about respect and gratitude towards another person. If you are going to a shopping mall there is also hospitality, if you are welcoming any guest at your place that too is hospitality. An entrepreneur can also be in hospitality as well as daily wage workers are also part of hospitality. While studying hospitality candidates get the knowledge of every field from HR to IT. When we talk about Hotel Management then it includes the study of hotels related tasks or work. Strategic management to organisational behaviour everything comes under it.
Tourism is interconnected with hotels. After many pieces of research, it is found that tourism and hotels are interconnected so tourism as a course has been added in the curriculum. In tourism studies students learn the practices to promote tourism, to make the tourism sustainable and foremost thing how to elevate the tourist experiences.
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