Kannur-native Sukesh PM landed in Dubai with a bagful of dreams. Initially, the youngster got a job as a waiter in a restaurant but never revealed the nature of his work to his family members. Sukesh faced each day with fervour and enthusiasm as the awe-inspiring metropolis provided fresh experience, breathtaking sights and invaluable life lessons. His grit and determination to scale new heights bore fruit as his career soared in 10 years’ time.
Sukesh’s journey has never been a bed of roses as is evident from the success story he shared with Onmanorama.
A cuisine is the reflection of the culture of a particular region. India’s hospitality rides on the dictum ‘Athiti devo Bhava’ meaning guest is equivalent to God. Sukesh got a concrete idea about how to manage the affairs of a restaurant after travelling extensively across India. He traversed the length and breadth of the country in a bid to give a five-star tag to Indian food and provide the best gastronomical experience to gourmets. Sukesh gave final touches to the restaurant service design after his visits to many states in India.
Jumped into hotel management after Class XII
Sukesh had an innate interest to travel and know more about a region’s food, culture and life. Besides, he also made it a point to keep tab of the latest trends and also tried to ape them. “My teachers who were aware of my interests, advised me to choose hotel management for higher studies. I also found the course apt for me when I enquired more about this stream. And when my family too gave the green signal, I got enrolled in a college in Coimbatore for my studies,” says Sukesh.
He completed BSc in Hotel Management and Catering Science in 2009 and immediately joined a five-star hotel in Chennai to undergo a six-month training. The training gave Sukesh the golden opportunity to interact with foreigners who came from different cultures and spoke different languages. He completed training in flying colours and was selected as the best trainee. Sukesh donated the first salary to a charitable group that funded children’s education as he too faced many financial difficulties while studying.
“It is always my desire to share my extra earnings, whenever I get them, with the society,” he notes.
After completing the training in 2009, Sukesh landed a job at a luxury hotel in the UAE as a waiter. The job helped Sukesh to befriend guests from various countries and get an insight about their food and culture. The two-year stint at the hotel as a waiter helped him to sharpen his language skills, learn business tricks and get an in-depth knowledge about restaurant operation management. After two years, Sukesh was promoted as supervisor and later climbed the hotel hierarchy and became assistant manager and manager.
While working at the hotel, Sukesh got an opportunity to manage an Indian restaurant by joining hands with Michelin Star Chef Vikas Khanna. “We worked sincerely to elicit genuine interest in Indian food among people from other countries. And the restaurant was a big hit. I learned a lot from chef Vikas and he encouraged me to focus more on my career. The association with chef Vikas helped me to include Kerala in his ambit of work,” adds Sukesh.
Changes in the past two years
“The Covid-19 pandemic had hit every sector hard including the hotel industry and the changes brought in by the epidemic are drastic. These testing times gave the courage to face challenges head on,” he notes.
Sukesh got the opportunity to work with an Indian Premier League (IPL) team because of COVID-19 as the venue was shifted from India to the UAE due to the pandemic. “The players were safely accommodated in hotels through a secure bio-bubble and I got the opportunity to work as a bubble manager,” says Sukesh.
Great moments with celebrities
“The job entails utmost precaution and vigilance. We have to execute certain tasks for the star players without breaching the bio-bubble and that was a great challenge. I treat all the guests like a VIP but this time it was more than that. The requirements were not as usual with the celebrity players. I had to make sure that there were no shortcomings in providing unblemished service to these eminent cricketers. I worked with them for 58 days and I take this opportunity to thank the support of hotel staff for extending whole-hearted support,” Sukesh notes.
“Ours was the team led by Team India captain Virat Kohli. While working with them, I became one among them. Many, including Virat Kohli, considered me as a brother. This period was one of the happiest moments in my life,” he adds.
Australian player Glenn Maxwell loves Indian food and South African batter A B de Villiers craves for sea food, says Sukesh. All players of the team would come together for a game of golf. Sukesh recollected an incident where team coach Sanjay Bangar prepared tea for the hotel staff saying that now it was time for him to make tea for the staff as they used to prepare food for the team members every day.
The athletes follow a healthy diet and one can learn a lot from them about good eating habits, and how to take care of one’s body.
Sukesh is married to Neha, who is also a hotel management professional. His parents Sugathan and Saudhamini always gave ample support to all his endeavours. Sukesh is working hard to fulfil his dream of becoming a successful entrepreneur in the hotel management sector.