Rohit Sharma, Sous Chef, Westbourne Grove Central Production Kitchen
I became part of Planet Organic in 2013.
What made you apply for the role?
After working in restaurants and hotels for 5 years I was looking for a new challenge. That is when I applied for the position of Chef de Partie in the central kitchen of Planet Organic. As I had never before worked in a central kitchen operation, I thought it would be great to gain some experience in it.
What role did you start in at Planet Organic/ what other roles have you done over the years?
I started as Chef de Partie and was promoted to the position of Sous Chef within 3 months. I started my career in the food production department of a busy Mediterranean fine dining restaurant as a Trainee Chef in India. I worked briefly at Jamie’s Italian and Wagamama as a Sous Chef before joining Planet Organic. And before moving to Wagamama, I was working as a Kitchen Supervisor at Leon.
What is your background/previous experience?
I am from India. I graduated in Hotel Management at Premier Institute in Mumbai, India. After graduating I worked in one of the best fine dining restaurants in India. I also briefly worked in a hotel rated number 1 in the world by Condé Nast magazine. In 2009 I decided to come to the UK to pursue a Masters in Culinary Arts and have been living here ever since.
What would you do on a typical day?
On a typical day of course I would be cooking and preparing various dishes but apart from that I would look at the order sheets, then have a small team briefing in the morning and assign task to each of the team members. Over the course of the day I would keep communicating with the team regarding their progress and sort out any issues as and when they arise. I would also place food orders, keep track of the stock holding and fulfil due diligence duties.
What is the team like?
We have a very close-knit team in the kitchen; working with the team that we have here is fun. All the team members are helpful, friendly and cheerful and it is a pleasure to work with them.
What type development training have you taken part in and which one have you enjoyed the most?
I have attended Manager training, Fire Safety and First Aid training. I really liked the Manager’s training. I think it helped me identify my strengths and weaknesses and also helped me in day to day team and time management.
How have you grown personally during your time at Planet Organic?
I have grown immensely at Planet Organic. I get lot of support from my manager and other departments. Training modules provided by HR have helped me a lot in becoming a better manager.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The thing I most like at Planet Organic is knowing that the ingredients we use to cook food are organic. It makes me really happy that the ingredients are free from harmful chemicals and are environmentally friendly.
How is Planet Organic different from other companies that you have worked for?
Planet Organic is different from other companies that I have worked for. Here, employees are cared for. They are supported in every way. Proper training is given before the job is assigned and then constant retraining is provided as well. All the managers and heads of departments are very accessible. Also, some of the ingredients and recipes that we use at Planet Organic are quite unique and it is hard to find them in an average restaurant on the high street.
If you were to recruit someone into your team, what qualities would you look for?
I look for people that listen and understand the instructions; they should be organised, a team player, cheerful, disciplined and they should take initiative.
If you could describe in one word what it is like to work at Planet Organic?