WHAT would be the difference between working in India and Fiji?
Just ask sous chef Gulshan Kumar, whom, the Outrigger on the Lagoon, Fiji, last month, named as its manager of the month.
Gulshan was brought up in an area of rural Punjab, a state of 20 million people, in India.
Asked what he was doing in Fiji, the 29-year-old replied: "enjoying the Fijian warmth", and what he calls our "decent working style".
Gulshan also wanted to do something more than just curries, so he chose Fiji, as we have a blend with just enough curry and heaps of other cuisines on offer to help him perfect his skills.
He has been in the industry for 12 years, working his way up the ranks. Of those 12, he has spent five in the country.
Gulshan said he did not plan on becoming a chef, instead wanting to become a sailor in the navy. He, however, became a chef because it was "available around the corner".
The first of three brothers, Gulshan says the hardest bit about his work is that he is away from his family as he had always been with them. On the upside he says: "Now I have learnt to be more independent in life. Travelling, learning new cuisines and understanding the food industry better."
His focus is, however, not limited to preparing mouth-watering dishes for resort guests. Gulshan says he aims to become a better role model in the food industry, to see junior chefs develop into established chefs. Like any other focused achiever, he has set goals that will help him be more productive in his chosen career, while trying his best to learn more international cuisine, enabling him to become a better chef.
The man whose speciality dish is butter chicken, says that, as part of his professional development, he also plans to complete a degree in hotel management studies.
Gulshan is acutely aware of the importance the tourism industry plays in the Fiji economy and does his best to serve guests, who in turn, as they enjoy their Fiji experience, help the country earn revenue.
And what are his plans when he has achieved all that he has set out to do? Gulshan readily replies it will be back to India and watching the game dearly loved on the subcontinent — cricket.