As someone who has been a part of the industry for 18 years, chef Mitesh Rangras knows the F&B business inside out.
Having graduated from IHM Ahmedabad in 1999, he started his career at the erstwhile Holiday Inn Juhu (now Novotel), then joined chef Moshe in Athens, and later moved to the Carnival Cruises in the USA. Eventually, he moved back home and was involved in setting up restaurants such as Lemongrass (which later became Lemon Leaf) and Pot Pourri in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai.
Having now re-started his consulting company, he’s busy working on his first project in Goa.
indibeat spoke to the chef-turned-entrepreneur to learn more about his upcoming projects, and how to make it in the Indian F&B industry.
IB: You were part of some popular restaurant brands in Mumbai. Tell us about your latest Goa project?
My project in Goa is with a company called Skyye Hospitality. It’s a bar at the Vagator beach, inside a five-star deluxe property famous for its sundowners.
IB: What made you take up F&B consultancy?
My experience over the years in this field, thankfully, has been across different formats, different levels, and price points.
Consulting is essentially sharing of knowledge and experience, which is what I do when I take up projects. While that itself is rather fulfilling, the most exciting part is usually when I’m setting up new places from the ground up — which is a different kind of adrenaline rush entirely.
IB: What’s your advice to our readers aspiring to enter the F&B industry as a consultant?
Learn everyday, be humble, and persevere. Keep at it, at all times, because in this field we need to update our knowledge everyday, otherwise we stand a chance of becoming obsolete.
I’d go one step ahead and say that this rule actually applies to all types of businesses. If you’re a youngster, I’d recommend getting your hands dirty. Work with chefs and consultants, intern under them, and spend time on the job. Learn the actual workings of an operation before you start advising others.
After 18 years, I still come across new things everyday, so the learning never stops!
IB: What’s your take on the food industry in urban India?
It’s an exciting time for the food industry in India, because we’re getting more organised by the day. People have started taking this business more seriously, and bigger, more serious players have started moving in.
Young entrepreneurs have come in with their own unique energy and ideas, which is very refreshing. Thankfully, people are working on concepts and themes that differ from the templated stuff.
IB: What kinds of restaurants or food establishments do you like — and what do you think is missing?
I like easy spaces, not too flashy or loud. I like places that are honest to themselves and deliver what they promise. My personal favourites in Mumbai are Jai Hind, China House, Koko, Butter Chicken Factory, Pizza Express, and Bombay Coffee House.
I feel regional cuisine is still not given as much love and importance by the people, but we finally are waking up to it with the likes of Bombay Canteen, O Pedro, The Tha’l Co, Tanjore Tiffin Room, and the likes. These places are serving regional cuisines in a format that appeals to the new generation, which is a great way of showcasing our culinary heritage.
IB: What can we look forward to from chef Mitesh in the near future?
Consistency and great quality work, for sure! I’m looking to do not more than five projects per year. And of course, I would love to take Indian flavours to other countries, and in the process, change the image people abroad have of Indian food in whatever little way I can.
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