Pune: It promises to be a hospitality and culinary training centre with a difference. The Redcarpet Hospitality and Culinary Academy, to be opened in July by two Pune-based hospitality professionals, will cater to the specific needs of a fast growing industry in one of the country’s fastest growing cities, the promoters say.
“Finding qualified people in this industry is a nightmare. There are no people available to wait on tables, do housekeeping...nor are there chefs who can get on the job right away,” says Ravish Arora, director of Inn-Venue Hospitality Management Pvt. Ltd, a Pune-based firm that owns food and beverage outlets and manages a business hotel.
Arora’s words are echoed by other industry players across the country but, says Rajendra Kelshikar, director and co-founder of Inn-Venue, the situation is particularly bad in Pune, where a limited pool of manpower is being sought and wooed by an ever-growing population of hotels. Arora and Kelshikar are promoting the new academy.
“It is difficult to find properly trained chefs from catering colleges these days. I spent months training them so they can be of help in my kitchen and my restaurant projects,” says food and restaurant consultant and Mint columnist Karen Anand. “Few have the knowledge of global cuisine trends, the newer technologies, systems or even equipment that this industry now has. We do need more and better training facilities for aspirants into this field.”
“I have to spend two years with a catering college graduate now before he is able to grasp even the basics of being a chef and that is because a lot of his time in college is spent absorbing subjects he does not need to know,” says Arora, a graduate of the state-run Institute of Hotel Management, Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition, and the Oberoi School of Hotel Management, both in Mumbai.
Pune’s hospitality industry has been growing at a hectic pace in the past couple of years. Industry experts say the city is expected to have more than 6,000 rooms in the next two years. A 2006-07 report by hospitality services firm HVS International and industry body Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India says Pune’s manpower supply for the industry will have to go up by 900% if it has to meet requirements by 2010.
The Kelshikar-Arora duo plans to offer one-year courses in specialized subjects such as bakery and patisserie, and food and beverage services, with six months of hands-on training at their two restaurants, Deccan Rendezvous and Polka Dots, and Baker’s Basket, one of the city’s oldest bakeries and patisserie.
To be set up with an investment of Rs5 crore, the academy will house a demonstration kitchen where international chefs, who consult for their restaurants, will provide tips on the finer details of gourmet cooking.
“Catering colleges seem to have also missed the fact that Indian food habits and lifestyles are truly global now and the buzzword in food is global. Look at the sheer variety of raw materials and ingredients available on retail shelves. Our academy will teach students the latest trends in food,” Arora says.