Tell us something about yourself that would surprise our readers… Shahzad Bhathena
Your definition of hospitality?
For me hospitality is making someone feel comfortable and happy and being able to anticipate their needs and fulfil them.
What does sustainability mean to you?
Being from the restaurant industry, particularly F&B, sustainability for me is being able to provide healthy food to people while still being able to care for the environment and ensuring that the food being provided is free of any chemicals and pesticides.
Team or staff, and why?
Definitely Team. In the hospitality industry in order to manage and function at the optimal level, each and everyone needs to work in harmony and that’s what a TEAM does.
Where do you see hospitality’s priorities?
The biggest priority which has further heightened and come in to the spotlight due to covid is touchless or contactless services and experiences. Whether its being able to check in to your hotel or check out a grocery store with automated payments through your account, I believe contactless experiences are definitely on top of the list of priorities. Another priority which the sector is focusing on due to the pandemic is a more severe focus on safety. Making safety practices public is becoming a tool of attracting guests and making them feel safer too!
Is hospitality local or global?
Hospitality is both local and global in my mind. Making guests feel welcomed and comfortable and fulfilling their needs will never be a question of being local or global. A Parisian visiting the Eiffel tower or the Louvre will go through the same or similar experience as a tourist would.
What’s best about your weekend?
The weekend provides me with time to unwind from the intense work put in during the week and helps me focus on my other hobbies and interests. Living in Santa Monica, going out and about and exploring the city is a definite must do!
I relax by…
For me being outdoors or in nature and being away from the hustle and bustle of the city is the best way to relax. Being only 10 minutes away from the beach, it is definitely my go to when I want to unwind and relax.
Eat out or eat in?
Since LA has a great food scene, trying out new restaurants and different cuisines is always something that I look forward to especially over the weekends. But every now and then I do cook at home for myself or even friends and family.
Tea or coffee?
Tell us something about yourself that would surprise our readers.
Despite being of Indian origin I have never been keen on working in traditional Indian kitchens. I have always wanted to go out of my comfort zone and push myself in learning and understanding different cuisines. This is not me saying that I have mastered Indian cooking but growing up with and around Indian food, I do have an understanding about the flavours and spices involved in it unlike other cuisines and hence I have always been inclined to do something different and have a more global understanding of food, techniques and flavours.
Shahzad Bhathena is a Sous chef (In-Training) on a J-1 visa at Two Michelin Starred restaurant Mélisse in Santa Monica, Los Angeles