About a culinary mentor you look on to
An experienced person who advises and helps somebody with less experience over a period. The above-mentioned statement is a basic googled definition of what is a ‘MENTOR’. Google also quotes “Life is our biggest and best mentor ever” and in case if we surfed about the term ‘CULINARY MENTOR’ it gives you the names of huge chefs like Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver, Sanjeev Kapoor and a lot of others. But when I question myself who my “CULINARY MENTOR” is the only name that comes across my mind is none other than ‘CHEF NIKHITTA AARYA’ yes! but unlike Gordon Ramsay, the huge big world might not know her but she’s the biggest part of my whole world!
Who is Chef NIKHITTA ARYA?
Almost a year ago, 10th July 2019 was officially my first day is RamanathPayyade College of Hospitality Management Studies. The classroom was filled with more than 50 new, confused yet extremely excited looking faces and out of all those faces there entered a face with the brightest smile and admirable personality, it was hers. On that day we were supposed to have personal interviews with our faculties and luckily, I was interviewed by Nikhitta Ma’am. The professionalism in her questions and the comfort in her voice stole my attention the very first day. As the first day was all about the students our faculties didn’t introduce themselves. In a day or two when the faculties were officially introduced, I found out that Nikhitta Ma’am would be teaching us Culinary for the next year! I would lie if I said it didn’t make me any happy!
Why Chef Nikhitta Arya but not Chef Gordon Ramsay or someone else like him?
The main and the only motive of joining RPH was to become a ‘Culinary Expert ‘. And to be very honest the initial stage was no fairy tale for me. From French cuisine to Food Safety &Nutrition, it made me hate Culinary, I used to feel lost and was ready to give up on my passion. But Nikhitta Ma’am made an Art student fall in love with the science of Culinary. From making me understand the basic terms of HACCP to different types of bacteria from the bacillus, staphylococcus, and more. Sounds extremely crazy but she made it happen so effortlessly, no one can ever imagine. After that, there was no turning back not only the practical session but also the theory sessions used to be so much more informative and productive for me. From being clueless and blank to be the most interactive student in her lectures. From not even being interested in kitchen practical’s till being the first one to raise my hand to work in the demonstration table with her. All of these signs were more than enough for me to know that she’s the one! She’s the one whom I can look up to, yet she never stopped amusing or encouraging me.
Chef Nikhitta Aarya made me face my biggest fear- ‘LOSING’. After participating in the vegan competition that our college conducts every year, I confronted the fact that the first years have to compete against their seniors the second and third-year students, I quickly ran to her to withdraw my name and when I was asked why I told her that I was too scared and didn’t want to lose my first ever cooking competition. She straight away refused to withdraw my name and told me to trust myself and participate, I wasn’t able to deny her command so I started preparing for the competition. I went to her 100s of times with 100s of questions, and she enthusiastically answered each one of them. I cooked on the day of competition, my hard work, and her believes paid off. Not only I participated but also won the competition and was particularly mentioned by the judges for my dedication throughout the day. When they announced me and my partner as the winning team, I saw her standing next to the door smiling at me looking proud & happy and that’s how I fought my biggest fear.
She didn’t only prepare me for the semester examinations but also for the examination that life takes. She taught me to be patient under extreme pressure, to stand out of the crowd at every situation, to grab every tiny opportunity that comes to me, to understand that I am no less than anyone else, to never underestimate myself, although she hates my messy kitchen table, she managed to teach me the importance of hygiene, I can recall her giving me life lessons ” You never lose, you either win or you learn “, she made me fall in love with cooking all over again just by quoting ” when it comes to cooking no matter whatever you do, you should do it with love “, her way of appreciating me on my every tiny achievement like making a smooth Hollandaise sauce to beautifully plating a dish always made me do more. I have seen her working for hours with the same dedication, efficiency, and passion.
I can’t ever thank her enough for what a confident and passionate person she has turned me into. But all I can say is when I look on to her, I expect to be the same in my life.
Name: Ms. Raksha Shetty
Year of studies: SY. B.Sc. (HS)