Hira Lal is Senior Sous Chef / Acting Head Chef at Restaurant Six.
Tell us about your career, where has it all began? Have you always worked in the hospitality sector?
I’m from a small village in the Himalayas, the only career options were to work the land or move away and do something else. I’d always cooked with my mum, she taught me how to combine spices and flavours. My first job was working with my uncle in his restaurant in Ladakh, I started as a waiter but I soon realised I wanted to be in the kitchen and I’ve worked in hospitality ever since.
Tell us about your current role in the hospitality sector and your day to day responsibilities.
As Head Chef it’s my responsibility to build and write the menus, work out the costs, manage the staff, place food orders, stocktake, oversee and ensure that the food that leaves the kitchen is to a high standard, prep and cook amazing dishes!
What do you like most about working in the hospitality sector?
Getting to be creative, creating your own dishes and then seeing people enjoy them is a great feeling. Learning is important to me, so to be able to keep learning and building my skills, everyday there is a new challenge. The hospitality industry is huge and there are so many opportunities. I’ve worked in so many different places, I’ve learnt something from each place. Being part of a team and I love that I’m always meeting new people.
Other than academic skills, what personality skills do you believe to be of benefit when working in the hospitality sector?
Hardworking, passionate, flexible and most importantly being a team player.
What transferrable skills/qualifications/experiences have you gained since working in the hospitality sector?
Stocktaking, multi-tasking, management, managing teams, using spreadsheets, ordering systems, networking, costing work and how to train staff.
Why do you think Nottingham is the perfect place to start your career in hospitality?
When I arrived in the UK (Nottingham) I was amazed at how many restaurants and opportunities there were. It was clear to me that my CV / skills didn’t translate to the UK so I went to Nottingham College. I never thought I’d get that opportunity, and since leaving college I’ve worked in several different restaurants learning different skills and cuisines, there are so many opportunities right on our doorstep.
What advice would you give to young people and people who want to re-qualify to start a career in hospitality?
There are many different opportunities in the hospitality industry, retraining only takes a few years, it’s rewarding, you get skills for life and you can take them anywhere in the world!
What are your favourite things to do in Nottingham in your spare me?
Spending me with my wife and daughters. Fitness is really important to me, I love to go boxing, running and I try to get to the gym everyday if I can. My wife and I love to eat out and try new places and we love to take our girls to all the different country parks, we love being outdoors.