Chef Akshay Kulkarni Head Of The Department Culinary Academy Of India Hyderabad
Let me introduce myself to the readers – I am Chef Akshay Kulkarni, Head of Culinary Operations at one of the world’s premier culinary arts institutions, the Culinary Academy of India. In terms of my academic position, I hold theresponsibilityin terms oflooking out for our students and bringing exciting career prospects their way. My role allows, enables and specifies interactions with the Human Resource department of hospitality and hotelier organizations world over.
It was important to lay out this context before we address the elephant in the room. The question which seems to be haunting parents and students as of late: Has Covid-19 affected industry placements this year?
In simple words – Yes. The coronavirus has definitely had a huge impact in placements and job openings within the industry. This is true for India, and the rest of the world.
Now that we’ve the simple answer out of the way, I would like to highlight a few things. All brands and hospitality companies have onlypostponed or delayed the date of joining, and not terminated the offer letter.
To help me elucidate this, I would like to explain how the industry selection process works so you may know where our students stand and how their careersare affected.
Usually, hotel management collegeshave campus recruitments drives with industry leaders and employers coming from hotels, retails, travel and tourism and hospitality chains. Final year students commence the selection process in September of their academic year and get offer/selection letters in the following April, with joining dates as late as that August.
Currently, our students have a selection letter-in-hand from these employers including The Oberoi, The Taj, ITC Hotels, The Park Hotels, The Leela, Costa Cruise Lines and Princess Cruise Lines to name a few. We are in August and even today, most Indian cities are under lockdown with pubs, theatres and shopping malls open more for show than to serve. In such a situation, onboarding new associates and hires is a near impossible task.
There has also been an unforeseen delay in universities conducting their final examinations as the lockdown has brought an overnight halt to academics as well. As a result, final year students have yet to write these exams and pass out from their respective colleges with their chosen degrees.
Ms. Pooja Grover, Head of Human Resources, The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata had this to say on the matter, “Tourism and hospitality have been hit the hardest with no silver lining in sight. So of course the coronavirus will affect the placements of students. Even now is a very uncertain situation. No one knows what is going to happen. It’s as if this whole year never existed. So the candidates selected for this year will hopefully join us at the end of this year or probably by the beginning of next year. One whole year without any industrial training and new placements obviously affects the whole circle.”
Due to the uncertainty prevailing in both the academic and the professional ecosystems, estimating a clear cut date for operations returning to normal is not fully viable or logic driven. I do believe that we must also tell you this - most hotels and cruise lines rely heavily on foreign tourists, conferences, large weddings, business gatherings or events for most of their income. And with travel and gatherings taking a back seat, it is evident that any business in this ecosystem will be slackat least for the next quarter, and none of us can estimate the long term impacts of this.
There really isn’t much that you or I can individually do during these strenuous times. It’s not just happening to you or me, it’s something we are all together in. But remember“jaanhain to jahaanhain’ and quite honestly, staying alive should be the mantra for the rest of the year. We all can, and will, make up for all losses so long as what we lose isn’t each other. Of course it will take time to get back to normal, but together, everything is possible.
To all final year students, I would like to share some words of wisdom that I received on Whatsapp because I do believe this is a message that should be read by all, especially you graduates who willhave to be patients and bear through a very chaotic entry into our professional world. Here goes
“I do not consider isolation having to stay at home with who I love.Isolation is what the seriously ill are experiencing.Stop saying that you are bored, upset that you can't leave the house; while everyone in the hospital wants to go home.
So, thank God if you have to stay at home, because despite everything, with money or without money, with a job or without a job, you are in the best place you could be, at home,surrounded by those who love you!
Perhaps it is time to transform your house into a wonderful place to stay, a place of peace and not of war, of embrace and not of distance.
Anyway, look with different eyes at the situation you are experiencing!!
Make your house a party: Listen to music, sing, dance...
Make your house a temple: Pray, meditate, ask, thank, praise...
Make your home a school: Read, write, draw, paint, study, learn, teach...
Make your house a store: Clean, order, organize, decorate, label, move, sell, donate...
Make your house a restaurant: cook, eat, try, create recipes, grow spices, and plant a garden...
Anyway ... make your house, your family, a place of love. "
In my personal opinion, I don’t believe that hotels or businesses related to hospitality will open soon. You will have to wait and be patient, but do try to make the most of your time. Indulge yourself in a new hobby. Enroll yourself into a higher education program. Or simply spend time on your craft and hone it. There’s a lot you can do to keep your skills active and knives sharp.
Till we get the Covid-19solution… Amen.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2020 BrandCai
Kirti Mahey on November 06, 2020:
Worth reading n well written chef, Words of wisdom are really meaningful and need to be implemented by not only the students, but yes by each one of us. Staying positive and being patient in any situation is the key.
Shaun on November 03, 2020:
Well, yes, our approach to situations does determine how we get affected by them. Thank you for your opinions in this article!
Kalyan on November 02, 2020:
Valuable and motivating words
Chef Nitin Patne on November 02, 2020:
Accept problems and tolerate delay without gating annoyed is a key to live healthy life ...as we all know after every bad time comes a good time
Dinesh M on November 02, 2020:
Well said chef
You always motivate us
Never fails to amaze us
Abhijit Banik on November 02, 2020:
Educating and positive...
Shatabdi Jana on November 02, 2020:
Very well said chef . Gives so much motivation to stay positive and creat wonders even sitting at home . Soon Weill overcome this !
Saurabh Pande on November 02, 2020:
Awesome review and analysis.... Also excellent message quoted at last
Vaibhav Verma on November 02, 2020:
Well said ched
Srikanth on November 02, 2020:
Very nice article sir
Vikram Johann Sunil on November 02, 2020:
Anusha Joshi on November 02, 2020:
Shivani Kulkarni on November 02, 2020:
Naveen Reddy on November 02, 2020:
Nice articulation of the facts and good inputs for final year students
Neeraj jaiswal. on November 02, 2020:
Very well said. Patience is the key.
Shweta on November 02, 2020:
Very well said chef. We need to be patient and see the situation in a positive way and indulge in different hobbies.
AVILASH BARDHAN on November 02, 2020:
It is really good point made by chef. We should be patient enough , soon the hotel industry will bounce back.
Gundeep Sawhney on November 02, 2020:
Let's be patient and utilize this time developing ourselves, acquiring new skills and polishing ourselves into other departments of our feild because no one knows what times gonna throw at us. Let's hope for the best while preparing for the worst.
Channpreet singh on November 02, 2020:
We should accept the current situation and should take the situation positively
Well said chef and it was worth reading it
Raghurama KC on November 02, 2020:
Very candid assessment of the situation , thank you for this article.
Ankita on November 02, 2020:
Very well said
Jeevantika Dhoot on November 02, 2020:
That's so true to the situation!!
Swapnadip Dutta on November 02, 2020:
Very well written.. let's make good use of the current situation and hope the best for the future!
Vikram Singh on November 02, 2020:
Bad days come & go we need to keep patience and maintain our will power❤️ Great information chef it was worth reading ✌️
Vivek Saggar on November 02, 2020:
Very well explained and captured the current situation. This is the time to enhance skills
Chef Shiladitya Dutta on November 02, 2020:
Worth reading Chef.
Kranthi kiran on September 26, 2020:
Very informative Chef and it will sure bounce back
Srikanth on September 25, 2020:
The article is truly apt for this present scenario and sends a positive message. The words of wisdom are really motivating to students and their parents. Very nicely addressed.
Shiladityadutta on September 24, 2020:
Worth Reading Chef.
Ankit Mathur on September 24, 2020:
Students should get panic...and disturbed..
I am sure that industry will bounce back very strongly
Ramu B on September 24, 2020:
Students have to be a bit patient and wait for the Pandemic to be fully controlled. We are in Food Industry we don't have to worry much as the number of people eating out has increased ten folds and will incerase43 more. However COVIS played its villain role on the industry but we will bounce Back. CAI faculty are very good in analysing the situation well in advance and I am sure they might have groomed their passing out students well to face the reality and start investing time in something constructive rather than wasting this great opportunity to enhance their academic knowledge and skills.
ALL THE BEST.
Trainer with a Hospitality Institute