TEN QUESTIONS WITH SUNAINA SETHI: SOMMELIER & RESTAURATEUR EXTRAORDINAIRE

Thu 08 2017  |  admin

Q 1. How did you get started in hospitality?

It was actually purely by accident. We opened Trishna in November 2008 whilst I was still working for HSBC in Germany. When I returned to London in 2010, I was looking to get into Management Consulting, and decided to help out at Trishna until the right opportunity came my way. Within three days, the applications went in the bin, as I realised that this is what I wanted to do. It was as simple as that.

Q 2. What have you learned from this industry that you couldn’t learn in another?

Working in a people industry means every day is different – you never know what’s going to be thrown at you and there are constantly new challenges to be tackled. Specifically, I would say I have learnt to fire fight, keep calm, and wear many different hats.

Q 3. How has JKS evolved? Was it always the plan to extend to such a diverse range of concepts?

The way in which we have grown has been quite organic, and our ethos has always been the same, with food at the heart of everything we do. We now have restaurants under the JKS brand that focus on several different cuisines, from Indian and Sri Lankan to Taiwanese and modern British, and all covering various price points. Last year we even opened our first delivery only concept, Motu Indian Kitchen.

Q 4. Let’s talk staffing: what do you look for in the best candidates?

For me it’s all about personality. You can teach anyone the technical bits, but you can’t teach warmth and hospitality which is a must in this business. We’re always looking for people with a passion for food and the industry.

Q 5. Ultimate interviewing tips:

Be engaging. Know the industry and what the recent trends, openings, and movements are. Also, make sure you research the company you are interviewing for beforehand!

Q 6. Worst thing you’ve seen a candidate do in an interview?

Call me darling!

Q 7. Best thing you’ve seen a candidate do in an interview?

Turn the interview into a fascinating conversation about the industry, demonstrating passion and a clear understanding with some interesting thoughts on changes and developments. I was thoroughly impressed.

Q 8. Top 5 spots and the best thing to order:

  • A Wong: Peking Duck Feast
  • Bao: Daikon Bao (I know that’s a cheat – but it’s too good not to mention in my opinion!)
  • Padella: Pici cacio e pepe
  • Punch Room: Milk Punch
  • Noble Rot: Sagrantino de Montefalco, Paolo Bea 2008

Q 9. Best service you’ve ever had:

I’ve experienced great service at so many places around the world and all at different levels too, from Dinner at Heston to The Ledbury, but it’s always nice to be surprised by the smaller unassuming places who really get it.

Q 10. What’s next for JKS?

Watch this space!