Being born and brought up in a family of chefs and restaurateurs and of course always being surrounded by so much food could only mean one thing right! At school I was never very academic and more of a vocational skilled type of student. My A* grades were always in sports and food technology so I knew towards the end of school where life was leading me and where my true passion was. I was destined to follow in my grandfathers and father’s footsteps and have no regrets whatsoever.
Tell us something you wish you had been told at the start of your career?
Like in any career path, it’s not just a straight road. Hospitality and catering is a tough yet very rewarding career path. I just wish I had been told and trained from a very young age as to why it’s so important to manage finances and also understanding finance and how its crucial for your future goals. I could have by now made many more valuable investments that way.
What’s your favourite restaurant or group of restaurants (besides your own)?
I absolutely love the Maroush group of restaurants. Lebanese cuisine is one of my favourites and Maroush has never let me down no matter which branch I visit. I eat Maroush at least once or twice a month, it’s a true favourite of mine.
What motivates you?
The backing and support from my mum and dad. Without them I would not be as successful as I am today. They are my two pillars that stand either side of me with their hands on my shoulders. My dad’s energy and enthusiasm running our restaurant business has inspired me from a very young age and my mum’s courage and strength of dealing with her tough health condition has helped me change my mindset. Mum soldiers and battles her way through her day and she always tells me to 'try but never cry' and that motivates me to always try my best and give one hundred percent. My parents are my rocks.
What keeps you up at night?
The worry of how costs and how they are having such a significant impact on the hospitality and catering industry. The cost of living will continue to challenge us all and staff skill shortages in the catering industry continue to make it a struggle - all these things are worrying, and we need to all plan ahead and make the right decisions based on what’s coming. Despite this we also somehow need to stay positive which is not always easy.
Which colleague, mentor or employer has had the biggest influence on your approach to the hospitality business?
Professor David Foskett who was the Dean at The University of West London whilst I was studying there many years ago has been a big influence and inspiration. Professor Foskett was the first person to push me to achieve my goals and reach for those stars. He encouraged me to always go that extra mile and that today is something that has stayed with me and has helped get me to where I am.
Coffee or tea?
How often do you check your email?
Every 30 minutes.
Do you prefer a night on the tiles or a night on the sofa?
Night on the sofa.
What’s your signature dish to cook at home?
Favourite holiday destination?
What was your dream job growing up?
Cricket player or footballer.
What's been your best business decision?
To showcase my talent to the world and write my two cook-books as well as pass by skills and knowledge on through my cookery school and of course the cookery shows on television for which today I am recognised. I feel truly blessed.
And the worst?
Saying no to a restaurant opportunity in India and saying no to being a judge on MasterChef India as my diary at those times did not allow me to pursue the opportunities.
What piece of advice would you give to those looking to climb the rungs in the business?
It’s one of the most rewarding and satisfying careers so long as you are passionate and have interest in it. You have to be a people’s person in this industry and have one mindset which is the harder you work, the better it gets. Work from your heart, keep smiling and keep your feet humbly on the ground.
If you could change one thing about the hospitality industry today, what would it be?
The difficulty in getting the right skilled chefs and front of house staff and filling the skills gap.
Born in Hounslow, London, Anand grew up in a family of chefs and restaurateurs, and went on to study for a degree in Catering and Hospitality at The University of West London. There she achieved a first-class honours and went on to study a masters in Hospitality and Catering with Food Studies. While at university, she also took up a role working at her family restaurant, Brilliant Restaurant in Southall, which she is now a co-owner of. Last year she launched her own eponymous restaurant called Dipna at Somerset House, in partnership with Compass. A second venture between the pair is set to launch in Milton Keynes later this year.