Paras Goplani is a chef/restaurateur currently based in Bhopal. He is the Founder of Hawaii Adda and Co-Founder of Rubaab Catering Services. A Hospitality Management Graduate from Leeds University, UK, Paras has also worked with various kitchens of UK and UAE.
“It happened to me suddenly when I was preparing for my board exams in 10th standard. I had accepted the fact that I wasn't one of those brilliant students who would get into a good engineering or medical college. Whenever I cooked at home people used to taunt me saying that this is what I will be doing for the rest of my life if I don’t pull my socks up now and score better in the following exams.”
However, Paras took it in his stride and seriously started wondering what a career in this field would be like. Believe it or not, his exploration of the cooking world started with binge watching Celebrity Chefs, Food and Travel shows!
Although the Hospitality Management course did not offer Paras any direct culinary training, it gave him an insight into this industry and helped him pick up relevant skills on the job. But that is nothing to be discouraged about. As Paras observes, throughout his career, he has come across chefs who haven’t received professional training but are still extremely successful. So what does it take?
According to him, this work requires patience and an open mind. Every kitchen and cuisine has something different to offer to a chef and one must never feel too accomplished or too satisfied with themselves. However, he adds that formal training can help young minds become confident from the very beginning and lay a strong foundation.
Not a Cake Walk
Paras recalls that initially his family thought that he wanted to pursue this field because he just wanted to run away from academics.
He admits frankly that although this was partially true, but gradually he became more resolved and started experimenting with his culinary skills.
“And as my family was opposing me, I was getting more adamant about it.”
Learning Hotel Management
According to Paras, the Hotel Management modules taught more about the managerial aspects of a hotel than the operational ones and he merely learnt the basics of food production.
“So when everyone else depended on the University for placements, I knew I would have to look for relevant opportunities on my own - the University only offered jobs in all roles except for the ones in kitchens. After a long search, I secured a job in a hotel at Mayfair, London.”
What it Takes
As a chef and a restaurant owner, Paras feels that two things are common to both the roles- to have patience and the understanding that it may not be a bed of roses- earning money from the beginning is not easy.
One must be humble and even seemingly mechanical jobs such as boiling water must be taken very seriously.
Paras feels immensely privileged to have got the opportunity to pursue his dreams. He has absolutely no regrets.
“The only advice I can give to any young aspirant is to just have faith in whatever you plan to do and be patient with it. Great things take time to come to existence.”
Given a chance, he would love to learn more, perhaps as an apprentice to a skilled chef.
At present, Paras wishes to focus on his new venture (Hawaii Adda) with the aim to carve out a niche for his brand within the industry. In the near future, he aims to expand this chain across the country.