INFLUENCER INTERVIEW: JACKIE HIDALGO, HR ASSISTANT, TRULLO AND PADELLA RESTAURANTSFri 07 2017 | admin
Q. When and how did you begin your career in hospitality?
When I was 17 I started out in a café called El Grifo (which in Lima slang means garage). It was located in a commercial district. We were catering for office workers on their lunch break.
It quickly established a reputation for good, fresh food. I quickly learned that good food was something that people from all walks of life appreciated and that it broke down barriers and gave people something to talk about.
This is something I’ve never forgotten and something that still makes me still love hospitality; meeting and chatting with customers about their dining experience.
At the same time I was working there I was also studying hospitality management and from there I went to Cusco and then onto working on cruise ships in the US.
Q. Tell us a little bit about Trullo and Padella and what’s it like to work for one of London’s most popular groups:
Working for Padella and Trullo has really shown me and proven to me that taking good care of your staff in turn improves the customer experience immensely. When people walk in they get a good vibe and they understand what we’re about because the staff are happy.
Q. What do you love most about the Trullo and Padella concepts?
The thing I love the most is that both Trullo and Padella are focussed on creating genuinely authentic Italian dishes made with carefully selected British ingredients. To me this encapsulates an ethos that I hold very dear; that you don’t have to rely on ingredients flown in from all around the world and that you can absolutely develop an amazing menu from local produce. The only things that we do import are the olive oil and the wine.
Q. What are the main challenges that you have faced in this industry?
In Britain, hospitality is not as well paid in comparison to other countries, like Australia for example. Also a lot of people don’t treat it as a career but more of a stopgap for them and because off this reason there is naturally a high turnover of staff. That said you can see a trend in the UK of increasing professionalism in the industry which is really nice to see.
Q. What do you love the most about the hospitality industry?
I love hearing the reaction that people have to a great dish or a lovely meal for example and the nostalgia it brings back. Someone once thanked me saying “Oh this smell, this taste reminds me so much of my nan – it make me felt homesick” or when I overheard someone saying that they could never believe pasta could taste so good or just generally seeing a group of friends having a really enjoyable time together over a wonderful meal. These are the things that make me love what I do and the industry I work in.
Q. If you could give one very important tip to someone looking to work in hospitality, what would it be?
Be prepared to get stuck in and get your hands dirty. When things go wrong (e.g. the dishwasher breaks), as the GM it’s usually up to you to sort it out. Buy a pair of comfortable shoes and always be patient with others.
Q. Who is the ideal candidate for your venues?
If a person is willing and passionate we will invest the time to train them and development.
Q. When hiring, what special personality traits do you look for?
Someone who is good with customers, friendly, welcoming, hard working and also can get on with the rest of the team.
Q. What is more important to you in a candidate? Training or passion?
Passion for sure because anyone who joins us we will start training immediately. We want people who are both passionate and experts.
Q. What trends are you most excited about in the London restaurant scene at the moment?
When I first arrived in London the new big thing was Peruvian food, now I feel that is all about what the locals have.
Q. What’s your take on the London bar/restaurant scene?
It’s huge, there’s so many places that open up all the time. It really never ends which makes it such an incredible and exciting industry to be part of. The best in the world!
Q. What’s in store for your venues going forward?
It’s all very exciting for us! There’s a new site on it’s way- but I can’t say the location just yet.
Q. What’s your favourite dish/drink at Trullo and at Padella?
As of today at Trullo ‘Shorthorn sirloin with Castelluccio lentils, girolles and aioli’. And at Padella I am torn between Tagliarini with nduja, mascarpone & parsley -spicy! and Pici with marjoram, lemon & golden garlic.
Q. What is your favourite restaurant in London? And what’s the signature dishes and/or drinks?
Dotori – Yukhoe Bibibamp