My real story: Thanachat M

Age: 42

Education: Bachelor of Business, followed by Advanced Diploma Hospitality (Hostec)

Current position: Banquet Sous Chef, Primus Hotel Sydney

Number of years at the hotel? 1 year

What does my role entail? I look after the events in the hotel; this includes menu design, costing and managing the banquets kitchen team.

How I got my start in the hotel industry: I studied Business in Thailand, then migrated to Australia to study Cookery. I always found myself helping my Mum cooking in the kitchen and loved it! After working in an office for five years I was bored, so I decided to follow my passion and head to Australia and enrol in a cooking school. My first job was at the Amora Jamison as a Commis Chef on breakfast shift, which required 5am starts! Since then I have progressed with Four Seasons, IHG and now Primus Hotel Sydney, as Banquet Sous Chef.

Why do you like working in Hotels? There is so much going on in hotels. We have a lot of different events. People are nicer than in restaurants!

What surprised you about working in hotels? Hotels are owned by so many businesses and people from all countries over the world including my home country, Thailand. The great high-tech equipment to play with was a surprise, and fun!

During your time at this Hotel, what has been your proudest moment? Catering for the United States Consulate and VIPs, including the President of the USA when he visited Australia.

What has been your greatest professional achievement to date? Securing the Banquet Sous Chef job at Primus Hotel Sydney. At Four Seasons, we catered for 500 people at a charity event for Starlight Children’s Foundation in 2013. I was proud of this.

Where do you wish to go from here? I would like to go to New York and check out the three Michelin Star restaurant, Eleven Madison Park.

What challenges do you face in this role? The hours change and work can be a breakfast function or a dinner function, or both! You need to be able to adapt to the hours. You need to keep fit and healthy for this and learn to handle the stress.

Why do you like working in the accommodation industry? There is more opportunity to grow, and with an international brand you can transfer anywhere in the world.

What message do you have to tell others about working in the accommodation industry? If you are prepared for hard work then it is a rewarding career with opportunity to travel. It is hard work but also good fun.

What advice would you give to people considering a career in Hotels? You can expect long hours, but the opportunities are endless. We get to be creative in the kitchen for the menu design and plating up so we get to express our passion through food.

Have you met anyone famous during your career in Hotels? Not personally, but I have cooked for The President of the USA! And Leonardo DiCaprio.

Tell us about one of your best Hotel experiences? Watching Sydney Harbour New Year’s Eve fireworks from the rooftop of the InterContinental with my kitchen team.

Do you manage people? If yes, what is that like? Yes, I manage a team of six. It is challenging managing people because people are all different. You need to coach and lead them all differently. It can be rewarding, like when my Commis Chef was promoted to Chef de Partie and then was sponsored by our employer.

What skills have you learnt on the job? Organising, coaching, time management, financial skills costing menus, written, and verbal communication skills.

What’s the pay like? It gets better if you are patient. I cook for the love of it.