I know her brothers well as both of them were my students at IHM Mumbai; at different times though. Vishal and Vikram were well bred, disciplined young boys from an established family that was in hotel business. I have extremely high regards for their parents Mr. and Mrs. Vithal Kamat for bringing them up as any other boys next door. They had no airs about them and did not disclose who they were. I also remember them travelling to college by local trains and having a simple college life. They were disciplined and focused on their learning; probably knowing it well that they were heirs to the legacy created by their father and had the responsibility of taking it to newer heights.
And here’s their sister, who matches up to her brothers in all the parameters that I mentioned above- truly dynamic, fun loving and focused young lady who wears her chef coat with pride! Being a Part of the family that runs the Kamat Group of Hotels; Vidita Kamat has tried her best to be a part of the culinary industry with grace and strength in an inimitable way. She started working in the hospitality industry at the age of 16, and now is an established Chef entrepreneur, food blogger and food stylist. She says that nothing else satisfies her than cooking for people and sending them home with full tummies and even bigger smiles. Innovating and creating new recipes as well as trying out new cuisines makes for the best thing about being a chef; she adds. She has many personal achievements that speak about her passion and dedication to her work. She has been featured in many publications of repute such as the BBC Good Food. IWH in conversation with the dynamic Chef Vidita Kamat.
IWH: Tell us something about you, your growing up years, life through school, college etc
Vidita: I keep my head held up high and focus on what is needed to be done at work. I am a strong-headed woman with a clear vision. Growing up, my life has revolved around food and foodies all the time, everywhere and anywhere I have been. From my childhood. Mom’s traditional food and dad’s innovative cooking gave birth to the chef in me! Cooking has always been my first love; I love everything that is associated with food and culinary. I have always been a bubbly and chirpy child through school and college years. I have been active in extracurricular activities; however, I was an average student in academics. Nonetheless, I had always focused on what I wanted to do.
IWH: What made you select Hospitality as a career? Was it easy making that decision?
Vidita: Being born and brought up in an environment where food and people have been vital and having a father who has a creative and an innovative mind and a mother with amazing culinary skills, made me want to get into Hospitality as a career. Having a room right next to the kitchen incited my yearning to cook and bake. It began in my mom’s kitchen and later at Sophia Polytechnic College. After passing the course I trained at the Taj Land’s End (Mumbai), The Oberoi’s, Mumbai. Yes it was easy making the decision, since it runs in my H+ve (Hospitality positive) blood.
IWH: What is your current role?
Vidita: I have recently formulated a brand – Mezclaa – Blend It! – which is currently into health. I am also looking forward to classify Mezclaa into other strata.
IWH: How has your hospitality journey been so far? Pros, cons etc?
Vidita: It has been a wonderful journey, with its shares of ups and downs.
IWH: Who has been your mentor or a role model? In what way has that person helped you?
Vidita: My father being more on the entrepreneurial side and my mother being innovative; both have been my role models, creating a cocktail effect. As I grew up, my teachers – Chef Linus D’silva, Chef Hufriz Motawara have mentored me, during my days in Sophia College. In my professional life, Chef Vikas Bagul from The Oberoi’s in Mumbai, Chef Gaurav Kapoor from Taj Lands End, and my friends and associates like Chef Siddharth Mahadik from Le Plaisir, Pune, Annabelle Rodrigues Ma’am, Elenka Rebello Ma’am and Andre Fonseca Ma’am (from Don Bosco College who have helped me understand the nuances of being a chef in some way or the other.
IWH: What have been the high points of your career?
Vidita: Mezclaa is definitely something that defines me and my personality; hence it is the highest point of my career.
IWH: What challenges have you faced as a woman in the industry? How did you deal with them?
Vidita: It has been an interesting challenge, of sorts. It is very important to be upright and strong, otherwise it gets difficult to survive in the industry. Women rule in domestic kitchens because there is no one to tell them what to do and how to do things. They make their food with all their love and compassion. In a commercial kitchen, it is a male dominated area because it is a totally different ball game. The pressure in the commercial kitchen is immense. It’s not about handling only the food, but also the people and the management. If you are an executive or sous chef, it is imperative to divide work accordingly. In order to survive in the kitchen one needs to be mentally and physically prepared to deal with any situation and its consequences.
IWH: If there was anything that you could change about your life or career what would that be?
Vidita: Everyone has a few apprehensions in their life, but you need to question yourself at every step at every level, making sure what you wish to achieve in life. However, there have been situations, conditions and people who are eager to bring you down; but I believe that the universe always falls in love with a stubborn soul.
IWH: What do you think of IWH
Vidita: I think it is a brilliant platform for all the women hospitality professionals as well as entrepreneurs to gather at the same level and bring out the best in each other and work towards achieving excellence in thier chosen fields.
IWH: Your advice to the young professionals and students.
Vidita: I believe that one should be his or her own self and bring out the craziness, optimism, liveliness, innocence and shape it into something creative; at the same time generating opportunities for others around.
IWH: Anything else you wish to share with our readers?
Vidita: In this world, there are going to be a lot of things which will be beyond our control, but what you do have control over is how you react to whatever happens in your life. You become exactly what you believe – so if you believe you can do all things because you have been endowed by a power given to you by the grace of God and making sure that you make the utmost use of it, because ‘God believes in those who believe in themselves’.
What a delightful conversation we had with her, she is extremely warm as a person and has an aura of confidence and self belief, she is truly the next gen hotelier. We wish her success and loads of happiness!