Ajay Bhikharie's story
I started as steward and became a chef and it is typical of hospitality and Accor that you can progress your career. I was still at school when I was a steward and needed a job to earn some money, then I applied for a job as a chef and worked as a chef. After three years, the head chef asked me to do a one-year degree course to improve my skills and I have worked as a chef for six to eight years, I lose track of the time!
When we create a new menu we do it as a team and everyone gets part of it to work on, and sometimes I write recipes – I enjoy that. I created the curries in the current menu; I have particular expertise in that!
I left hospitality briefly and came back because I realised I missed it, especially how much I loved cooking; it was easy to come back here. What I particularly enjoy about hospitality is the interaction with guests and how much they like it when you make something nice for them – I love that! We have an open kitchen at the front of the restaurant and people can see us cooking, which makes it easy to communicate with them.
I like to please people with my food and to make people happy – and that is being a Heartist®. I also cook for my colleagues and brigade as well, which makes them happy too.
My proudest moment was getting my chef’s degree, which took a year and was an accelerated course. I was really happy to have that opportunity; it was a long time coming because I didn’t have the money to do it and Novotel invested in me.
Find out what you love to do, focus on that and make it your own – that is my advice to someone new in the industry.
- Ajay Bhikharie
- Novotel Rotterdam Brainpark (The Netherlands)