Chef Prasad Paul started his journey into Food & Hospitality in 1985 when he joined the Institute of Hotel Management (IHM), Chennai and the reason behind joining the food industry was his introvert nature. According to Chef Prasad Paul he always wanted to work from the behind the scenes and remain hidden. But as you know that talent cannot remain hidden for long and something similar happened with Mr Paul as his work started getting recognition.
He became more popular with the time and today everyone knows Chef Prasad Paul in Goa and perhaps even across the country. Chef Prasad Paul remains very introverted but he is no more just behind the scenes. This is the story of the journey of Chef Prasad Paul.
“I have always been a very introverted person and wanted to remain behind the scenes and that is why I chose to remain in the kitchen,” said Mr Paul, adding that after finishing his Hotel Management course at IHM, he had various options to select from and he decided to run a kitchen.
“I always wanted to work from behind the scenes and be hidden. This is how I decided that I would join a kitchen where I wouldn’t have to speak much to people, and I would stay in my comfort zone.”
Chef Prasad Paul had a lot of passion for food processing “I have always been attracted towards different kinds of cuisine and that was perhaps one of the major reasons I chose to start a hotel management course.”
Mr Paul’s father inspired him join the hotel industry. “My father had some idea about the industry at the time so he suggested that it and even though he was a teacher himself, he had a real strong sense of what the course would be,” he said.
The journey of Chef Prasad Paul started from his first appointment at the Hotel Oberoi in Chennai. “After that I moved to Bangalore,” said Chef Paul. At the age of 23, Mr Paul had decided to venture into a business and he along with couple of his friends started a restaurant.
“My first entrepreneurial experiment failed so miserably that I was forced to make a decision that I would never ever venture into business again anytime.”
After the failure of his business, Chef Prasad Paul decided to stick to working inside the kitchen and along the way he learned to cook a lot of cuisines like French, Italian, Greek and Lebanese.
“This way my journey continued and initially people thought that I would not be able to achieve much due to my introverted personality but I soon proved them wrong when I became the Executive Chef at a well-known 5-Star property,” he said adding that becoming an executive chef was his dream.
Chef Prasad Paul had to travel a long before coming down to Goa. “From the Oberoi I moved to the Mahindra Group and from there I joined the Meridian group in Bangalore for some time before coming down to Goa, where I joined the club Mahindra Resort in Varca, in the year 1999.
“When I landed in Goa at Club Mahindra, the hotel project was in its initial stages and here I got the opportunity to learn the project phases, like how the kitchen is designed, and how equipment is procured, planned and placed. This was a completely new experience for me, because earlier the places I had worked at I dealt with only operations, but at Club Mahindra I learnt project planning work,” said Chef Paul.
This experience opened the new avenues to Chef Prasad, “Mahindra Group was growing rapidly at that time and they started opening in more locations across the world so I was made the part of each project including planning menus, staffing numbers and so on, and this went on for another 7-8 years,” he added.
Chef Prasad moved to Cidade de Goa after leaving Club Mahindra somewhere in 2007 and from here he started to get exposure into the media. “At Cidade de Goa I got an opportunity to do the food presentation on the local television channels like Goa 365 and HCN and I managed to do around 50 shows for various channels which gave me good exposure and so now I was ready to face the camera.”
Just like many of us, Chef Prasad also had a plan of retiring from his job and starting his own venture, “This was something that was always at the back of mind and at the age of 45, I left my job and started my own consultancy firm to help new entrepreneurs to set up their business in the Food and Hospitality sector. I was a part of the setting up of Bay 15 restaurant at Odxel and till date I have completed almost 20 projects in Goa and even undertook a hotel project at Kolhapur in Maharashtra, but due to the pandemic it was postponed. Currently I am working on a project at Bangalore,” he said.
Chef Prasad is now concentrating more on the Hotel project consultancy, “Besides this I also like to coach and mentor people who want to enter the hospitality business. I have seen in the industry, how the food business works and how structures are designed and how things can be upgraded, and being in the industry for the last 30 years, I have garnered experience and knowledge as I learned myself.”
Chef Prasad is also a part of the Goa Culinary Forum which is a place for chefs across the state. “It all began with the idea that me and Chef Raman worked on and then more chefs joined in with us. Every region in India has a culinary forum, but also there is the main Indian forum, the Culinary Association. All of us joined there and we had our meeting to discuss work and the inauguration of the Goa Culinary Forum which took place at Club Mahindra in 2003. Chef Raman was the first president, as he was the one who initiated the matters,” said Chef Prasad.
Goa is a hub of Food and Hospitality in India and that is the main reason why people want to come to Goa “We have such a beautiful geographical atmosphere which is the main reason for the attraction of tourists as this is our main forte because of our beaches and the greenery, and secondly the culture of our people is very accommodating and we welcome people from every background and serve them and thirdly, our food and cuisines too play an important role that are helping this industry become more immense,” he said.
According to Chef Prasad, if you are a small or a big unit, there should be no compromise on standards and they should be maintained. A small place can manage to give the best treatment to their clients and they should focus on their strengths. Clean and hygienic atmospheres are the most important aspects, and maintaining simplicity is important at the same time. This goes for all levels of food and hospitality.