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Chef Rahul Akerkar likes to keep things simple

There are few who know as much about the hospitality space in Mumbai as Rahul Akerkar, one of the first real chefs of the city and a long-standing supporter of the industry here. We caught up with the illustrious man behind the brand Qualia and asked: is the customer always right?

man in a mumbai restaurant
Rahul Akerkar at Qualia

Biggest lesson you’ve learnt over the years?

Shit happens! You can plan each step of your path as carefully as you like but the entire thing can blow up in your face at a moment's notice. For many entrepreneurs, we have to depend very much on the things that are in our control and expect the worst from those that aren't. My advice always is to get as much under your control as possible, and be aware of what isn't. Also, always keep it simple.

Is the customer really always right?

Haha, without hesitation I'd have to say no. I don't think people really understand the work that goes into a restaurant and in the kitchen each and every day. I've seen lots of guests be incredibly demanding, unreasonable and just badly behaved which I don't think is ever 'right'.

Ingredient you can’t live without?

Eggs. There is nothing as good as two fried eggs with toast, whether it's 11am or 11pm. It always hits the spot.

If you were anything but a chef, what would you be?

I’d be underwater or on a beach. Something to do with the ocean.

Chef Rahul Akerkar and his wife Malini
Malini + Rahul Akerkar

What’s the best and worst part about the restaurant business?

The worst part is that you work when everyone plays. The hours are absurd and very physically demanding. What we do is a labour of love and the work one puts in is not at all commiserate with the compensation. On the other hand, when I have a guest come up to me with a huge smile of their face and say "thank you, that as a great meal," you realise that this is what you live for.


Rahul Akerkar and his wife Malini will host a Take Five Session later this year: 'How to build and lose an F&B brand'. Date and time TBD.


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