I’m what I’m, thanks to Dad: Hospitality Professionals

To commemorate fathers who gave the hospitality industry these dedicated and hardworking professionals, BW HOTELIER talks to the industry’s associates about the role of their fathers in their success and learnings they hold in their hearts.

The head of a family, the father plays a vital role in shaping and influencing his children to be the best of themselves. While growing up, most kids look up to their fathers as a role model and start working towards the path to success. A father not only provides bread and butter to the family, but puts their children’s needs above his own. To honour and celebrate this selfless bond between the father and his children, the third Sunday in the month of June is celebrated as Father’s Day.

To commemorate fathers who gave the hospitality industry these dedicated and hardworking professionals, BW HOTELIER talks to the industry’s associates about the role of their fathers in their success and learnings they hold in their hearts.

Passion was the key word for dad: Chef Arun Sundararaj

Having all doctors in his family, the road to pursue a career in hotel industry was a little shaky for Chef Arun Sundararaj, Executive Chef of Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi. A bright student who was eligible to apply for a medical school, his passion laid in the kitchen. Sundararaj recalls telling his father, “When I told him I wanted to study culinary arts, he was in a state of shock for some time.” During the first two years of college, he was not much appreciated for his choice. But things took a U-turn when he won an inter-college culinary competition and his name was featured in a local newspaper of Lucknow which he shared with his parents. “That is when my father realised my potential and talked to me to understand what I was doing,” he adds.

Talking about the learnings, the chef says, “Being a doctor, my father was often commented for his concept of ‘genuine care’. He was very passionate about his patients and that is something which stuck with me forever. While interacting with the guests, it is not only about meal experience but actually caring for the person by understanding what s/he says.”

Sundararaj further recalls cooking with his father who he terms as his biggest critique. The first time they both prepared ‘lamb roast with coconut flavoured mashed potato’ was a combination of French and South Indian cuisines.

Dad told me to be always considerate: Vijay Dutt

Like every parent, Vijay Dutt’s father wanted him to pursue engineering but destiny had other plans. Scoring a few marks less than the required cut-off, Dutt decided to enter the hospitality industry. Upon sharing his career choice with father, the General Manager of The Ashok recalls his father’s advice: “Put your heart and soul in whatever you do.”

Dutt asserts his father has had a great influence in his life and till date whenever he has to take any important decision, he thinks what his father would have done and works accordingly. Listing the lessons his father taught him, Dutt says, “When I was first appointed as the General Manager, my father told me to be considerate with the staff, and always believe in the theory of karma.”

Learned discipline and punctuality from him: Rakesh Sethi

Coming from a middle-class family, Rakesh Sethi tells us that his father had to face a lot of hardships in his life and didn’t want his children to go through the same. “When I chose to enter the hospitality industry, my father was super-supportive,” he puts in. Upon clearing the written examination, Sethi’s interview was scheduled for a face-to-face meeting at IHM, Chennai and his father did not hesitate once to take him there. Remembering his conversation with the interviewer, Sethi shares, “I was asked, ‘why hospitality?’ And I had only one reason, ‘to fulfill my father’s dream as he has made a lot of sacrifices’.”

To provide comfort and a trouble-free path, Sethi’s father use to run a refreshment shop which was diagonally opposite to Hyatt Regency New Delhi where he interacted with the hotel staff and learned about the industry. Working as the General Manager of Shangri-La Hotel in Bengaluru at present, Sethi recalls his appointment as the Assistant Director of F&B at Hyatt Regency New Delhi. “One of the regular customers who was working at Hyatt Regency congratulated my father and appreciated his efforts that led me to hold a position at that property.” Learnings from his father to work for longer hours and taking care of the guests, Sethi concludes he picked up two traits from his father – discipline and punctuality. The two things that have helped him grow.

Dad advised me to always learn new things: Karthik Ramdas

Having a supportive father surely helps in caving the path towards success in a subtle way. Karthik Ramdas, Director of Sales & Marketing at JW Marriott New Delhi, informs us that his father always had his back while making key decisions in life, be it personal or professional. “I still remember when I went up to him to take about pursuing hospitality as my career, he had paused for a second and then asked, ‘are you sure?’ Unlike many others, my dad was cool, saying anything new is always good and one should look at doing things which are different. And it worked,” Ramdas puts in. Stating the key learnings that he got from his father, Ramdas adds, “My father used to tell me to be hungry to always learn new things and be positive.”

He told me to create my own milestones: Nishant Negi

Born and brought up in Dehradun, Uttarakhand, Nishant Negi, General Manager of Welcomhotel Dwarka, says his relationship with his father helped him shape his life. “Though a number of his beliefs and ideas were different from mine, I’m thankful for life lessons he gave me,” says Negi. 

A lawyer by profession and a self-made man, Negi’s father believed that the best career was one which you choose with heart and mind and provided security and stability. He adds, “I internalised those beliefs and carved out my own independent path. My father always expressed pride and happiness over my successes.” Reminiscing his father’s words on life lessons, Negi tell us, “You are your own competition. Create your own milestone and try to be a better version of yourself every day from the previous day.”

Stay open to criticism and be humble, he said: Barun Gupta

Hailing from a family of business professionals, Barun Gupta, Director of Sales and Marketing at Crowne Plaza Greater Noida, shares that he picked up interest towards the travel and hospitality industry during his school days and decided to pursue hotel management. “My father never stopped me from living my dreams or never pressurised me to join the family business. He supported me throughout my entire professional journey,” he shares. Recalling his father’s advices, Gupta says, “There are three things my father taught me: Success never comes without taking risks; be open to criticism and stay humble; have faith and always stick to your goals.”


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