Dynamic, fun, focused and strong – these are just a few words to describe Vidita. Part of the family that runs the Kamat Group of Hotels, she has flourished in the culinary industry with grace and strength that are inimitable. Vidita Kamat is living her passion, and loving every moment of it.
She started working in the hospitality industry at the age of 16, and has now established herself as a chef, an entrepreneur, a food blogger and a food stylist. No other work could satisfy her as much as cooking for people and sending them home with full tummies and big smiles. Along with trying and experimenting with new cuisines, it makes for the best thing about being a chef.
This undiplomatic woman of substance, Vidita Kamat has the flair and love for connecting with people of all ages. The love of entertaining runs in her blood, and she thoroughly enjoys calling people over and feeding them the good stuff. She is a curious person who wants to know the activities of everyone she finds interesting, a trait that helped her immensely during her early years in the hotels. She believes in following a professional attitude and keeping one’s dignity and self-respect intact.
A workaholic, Vidita Kamat is always hungry for learning, her bunking of college meant rushing off to work at the hotels, and the summers off from school would be spent in the kitchens. She has worked at the Oberoi and the Orchid hotels, and her experience talks for itself through her flourishing business of 3 years. Vidita has a catering service called Mezclaa – Blend It.
She caters to people who understand the classic way of bringing food to the table, whether they have big events or small parties. She loves the immense pleasure of satisfaction of knowing that you’ve worked hard to achieve what you want.
We at Stylewhack had the opportunity to talk to her, and learn a lot of the working mind behind this beautiful lady chef. Here is a snapshot of the candid talk –
What inspired your to start cooking professionally?
“My mother and her food are a very big factor. At home, my room was behind the kitchen, and the aroma of the food cooked by mom would reach me first. That enticed me into getting myself into the kitchen and cook. It is the ingredients, the raw materials, and those fancy utensils that make me want to cook all day! I simply love calling people over and have them enjoy the food that I make.”
What is your driving force, that makes you want to wake up every day and go back into the kitchen?
“I take every day as a challenge to myself. I don’t like being sluggish. Surrounding myself with positive people who support me and push me, I need to go out there and show my talent. I believe in connecting with people, as much I can. Everybody knows something about a particular thing, and sharing and interacting increases knowledge to a great extent, something I always welcome.”
What is it like, being a female chef in a male-driven industry?
“It is an interesting challenge, of sorts. It is very important to be upright and strong, otherwise it gets difficult to survive in the industry. Female chefs need to handle heavy metals and machinery, along and the staff members. We need to understand every person in the kitchen, right from the executive chef to the cleaners, and need to be the balance between them. Both are equally important!”
Why do you think there are less female chefs in the industry, when most women dominate the kitchen on the domestic front?
“Women rule in a domestic kitchen because there is no one to tell them what to do and how to do things. They make their food with all their love and compassion. In a commercial kitchen, it is a male dominated area because it is a totally different ball game. The pressure in the commercial kitchen is immense. It’s not about handling only the food, but also the people and the management. If you are an executive or sous chef, it is imperative to divide work accordingly. In order to survive in the kitchen one needs to be mentally and physically prepared to deal with any situation and its consequences.”
Is unequal pay prevalent in the culinary industry, as it is talked about in the film industry?
“Yes, but it is not because of gender. The economy and government regulations do not support the industry as well as one might think. Salaries are not over the top, and most employees in restaurants aren’t paid well enough. The top of the hierarchy are unable to properly support the ones on the lower rungs because they are unsupported themselves. In small restaurants, aids like education and health insurance are unaffordable, unlike the sizably big hotels. We are not doing well as an industry.”
Moving on from the serious stuff! What do you do when you aren’t cooking?
“I enjoy reading. I read all sorts, from management books to culinary ones. I watch a lot of TV, like TLC and the Discovery and National Geographic channels. I never watch the Hindi soaps, or the frivolous casual comedies that keep gracing the theatres. I prefer the serious films. I also enjoy playing sports!”
What would you say is the dish that you are known for?
“That would be my carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.” (Sounds yummy!)
That was our chat with the great chef Vidita Kamat! We wish Vidita Kamat all the best for her future endeavours and may she satiate our souls and tongue with good food 🙂