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Cuppa With Sanjeev Basnet

March 2, 2013 , by Ojesh Singh, 2 Comments
Cuppa With Sanjeev Basnet » My Dreams Mag
When I arrived at Kensington Close Hotel in London to meet the hotel’s manager Sanjeev Basnet, I didn’t know what to expect. As I walk in, Sanjeev appears from the reception area adjacent to the spacious lounge. He shakes my hand firmly, greets me in a polite and courteous way before giving me a tour of the hotel. As we walk around, I notice people nodding at him—it showed what stance he held at his workplace. He then leads me into one of the newly built mini-suite. He was proud of his hotel’s new extension for London Olympics. As we sit down and start our conversation, he asks me if I want a drink, to which I politely decline. He then orders water over the phone. When I ask Sanjeev if he is on a time constraint, I was surprised to hear that it was his day-off from work and he had come just for this interview. We slowly kick off the conversation—from his upbringing in the suburbs of Chitwan to moving to Kathmandu, then New Delhi where he completed his higher studies and started his first job as a chef at the Raddison Hotel. The conversation then leads to London, his aspirations and ultimately his career choice in the hospitality industry. Here are some of the excerpts from the interview.

 


Why did you choose hospitality industry?

Sanjeev: When I was growing up, academically, I was really poor. Even when I moved to Kathmandu, I wasn’t doing good. My grades during high school in India were so bad that I didn’t even show it to my parents. Then I happened to pursue hotel management for my bachelor’s degree. Suddenly, my grades were getting better, and I was enjoying this field. It just showed that my passion actually lies in this industry more than anything else.

 

How is the hospitality and catering industry in Nepal?

I would say it’s very good. I had an opportunity to work for Fulbari Resort [in Pokhara], and I think it is a masterpiece. I have had opportunities to work for various other companies as well and they have all been very good considering the economic condition of Nepal.

What made you come to England?

I was working in Nepal, and I felt I was almost hitting the dead-end. I was still young and looking for opportunities for growth. I wanted to study more. I had two options; England and France. I chose England to further my studies.

What were the challenges you faced when you first got to the UK?

Oh, lots of challenges! First of all, there was a problem with the University. I was enrolled to study in one of the Universities in the UK. They were teaching what I had learnt about 5 years ago in my first year of degree. So I didn’t go to the university at all.

I didn’t get any job for a long time. Then finally I got a job as a kitchen porter in North Wembley. I used to start my work when everybody else would go to bed. I was ill-treated by my chefs. Even though I knew what I was doing, my senior colleagues would just make my life hell by adding obstructions to it. However, I tolerated all the mental torment that was given to me and I slowly progressed to become the manager of the pub.

So, how did you find this job and ended up being the manager of Kensington Close Hotel?

Again, I felt as if I wasn’t progressing in the way I wanted to. So, I left my previous job as manager and started looking for the job in hotel management. One of the customers from the pub forwarded my CV to the manager of this hotel. I was invited for the interview but asked to work unpaid for three months. I agreed. And after my initial three months, I was appointed as a permanent staff. I just worked my way up to become the manager then.

How do you feel now?

I feel very proud. I am happy. I might not have yet reached to where I always wanted to be but I feel as if I am on a right path. I feel I am living my dream at the moment.

Having worked in Nepal and the UK, what is the major difference you’ve found when it comes to work environment?

I feel that the customer is treated better in Nepal, whereas the way customer treats us in the UK is better than Nepal. In Nepal when a customer reserves a room, he treats everybody serving him as his servants whereas in the UK, customer treats us with the dignity and respect that we deserve. Similarly, we treat our customer as god with the motto ‘Customer is never wrong’ whereas its not the similar case in the UK. When the customer is not right, we do not always bend backwards like we do in Nepal. I would say it’s fairer here.

 

So is this what you would say you were born to do?

I would go back and become a chef because that is where my real passion of hotel management lies.But I feel I’m living my dream. I have worked hard to get here, and my journey hasn’t ended yet. Because I am a dreamer and I will probably dream of something higher when I get to the point where I want to be.

What is your dream then?

My dream is to open up a 5-star hotel in Nepal. I’m quite impressed with the idea Piyush Bahadur Amatya brought in with his Fulbari Resort. I would love to do something of this sort but very unique that nobody else have ever tried.

What suggestion do you have for the young people trying to take up this career path?

Unlike other career path, you do not necessarily need to have a degree in hotel management in this field. You can come from any discipline. But when you dream of a career in hotel management, please don’t dream of dressing in a smart suit- you might want to be ready to do any job, for instance a waiter or even a housekeeper to start with.

Any message for young people who are just starting off?

I would like to say please do not lose hope. Hard work is the key to success; it will get you where you want to be. The path may be difficult but have patience and keep working. You will definitely get 

there.

 

Photo: Nilesh Singh

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Categorised in: Interviews, Liefstyle

2 comments on “Cuppa With Sanjeev Basnet

  1. rina says:

    Not a great role model for future hotel staff….. Unfortunately this man got to.his career the only way he knew…. Through lies.

  2. kareen says:

    Agree with comment above…..lies and disrespectful to females…… A father who left his child just for his selfish success. He should not be on this magazine as genuine people from Nepal have worked hard for their success.

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