Vancouver restaurateurs scrambling for more staff ahead of Times of India Film Awards (with video)

Published: February 7, 2013

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

Local Indian restaurateurs are worried they don’t have enough cooks in the kitchen for the flux of tourists coming for the Times of India Film Awards (TOIFA) in April.

“I’m excited for business, but then I can only do so much with the staff I have,” said Jose Madappilly, owner of Burrard Street’s Salam Bombay.

Madappilly has only been able to find four Indian cooks — ideally he needs 12.

“I’m short of people, so I’m shrinking my operation — the hours and I don’t do much catering,” he said.

He’s also had to put off plans to open another restaurant.

“I can’t run this outlet in full capacity, then I cannot (open a second restaurant),” he said.

And with thousands of Indian tourists expected this spring it will only be more difficult, because they’ll be looking for “good Indian food,” since many of them — like Jains — have strict diet restrictions.

“I’ll have more (customers) than I can handle,” said Madappilly.

Salam Bombay restaurant owner Jose Madappilly

Salam Bombay restaurant owner Jose Madappilly works in the kitchen due to a shortage of Indian cooks. Ward Perrin/PNG

Kamal Mroke, owner of Davie Street’s India Bistro is struggling, too — but he still hopes to open a second outlet to coincide with the awards. His upcoming restaurant, Bollywood Lounge, is slated to open in March on Denman Street and play off the hype — he’s decked out the inside with paintings of the Bollywood starlets coming to Vancouver.

But already short on cooks at India Bistro, Mroke is yet to find any for Bollywood Lounge.

“When I open the first week I have to work myself in the restaurant and in the kitchen,” he said. “I’m really worried … I have no staff.”

“It’s really hard to find a good cook over here.”

Indian restaurants have been struggling long before TOIFA, though.

“There’s a shortage of cooks here,” said Madappilly.

Locally trained Indian chefs are hard to find — and specific training is needed.

Laura Ballance

Laura Ballance’s firm is doing the PR for the Times of India Film Awards. Submitted photo

“It’s understanding the spices, the uses, how to use them the right way, the cooking procedures, the marination, the way they make breads,” said Madappilly.

He and Mroke often go to India to scout chefs and have them apply for temporary visas — but they’re usually denied. They don’t meet Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s requirements because of their financial assets and lack of travel history.

“Chefs hardly make around 20,000 to 25,000 rupees — which comes to $700,” said Mroke. “A guy working (and) feeding his family — making 25,000 rupees … how can he save the money?”

“If he’s making that you should consider his job … send somebody to investigate.”

“If they were financially sound they wouldn’t be coming here to Canada,” added Madappilly. “(So) if you put that as criteria, then you can’t hire anybody.”

But as the restaurateurs worry, some businesses seem to be reaping the benefits of TOIFA — like Laura Ballance Media Group, who’s been hired by the Times of India to do all of the North American media relations.

“There’s so many exciting aspects to it — it’s a huge thrill for us,” said Ballance. “We really see this as something that will go down in our company history.”

This will be another career highlight for them, alongside hosting the media centre for the 2010 Olympics.

“It’s a great opportunity to showcase the best of B.C. to the business community and the population of India … (and) there’s a whole lot of people that will be seeing (B.C.) with fresh eyes,” she said. “That’s a responsibility as a B.C. firm that we hold very close.”

Charles Gauthier, executive director of The Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association, believes local businesses have enough tourism experience to keep up this April.

Charles Gauthier

Charles Gauthier, executive director of the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association, says the local business community has already experienced the Winter Olympics. Jason Payne/PNG

“I don’t think it’s going to be a challenge for our restaurants to handle it — we have done the Winter Olympics,” he said. “Our restaurants and our retailers and our business community are able to react quite quickly and ramp up to (the awards)… (and) a lot of our businesses have really built up good bench strength.”

While the local Indian restaurants are certainly excited for the booming business opportunities, they just wish the government would invest locally first.

“The Canadian government is paying so much money to (TOIFA) to come over here, but they’re not helping us over here locally,” said Mroke. “They’re just feeding someone else, making the money and they aren’t even thinking about what the locals are going to do.”


Tags: , ,





Featured

OTTAWA ATTACK-TERRORISM

Canadian Muslim groups denounce violence, brace for backlash following Ottawa rampage

ISHMAEL N. DARO CANADA.COM Representatives of major Canadian Muslim groups gathered in Ottawa today to reiterate their denunciation of terrorism in the name of Islam…
Continue Reading »

gambling-civic elections

Majority of Surrey mayoral candidates flat-out opposed to more casinos in the city

CHRISTOPHER POON SURREY NOW SURREY — Looking back at late 2012 and early 2013, the hot topic in Surrey was a controversial casino and entertainment…
Continue Reading »

labour laws violation

U.S. company penalized for mistreatment of Indian employees working 122 hours in a week

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS SAN FRANCISCO – A Silicon Valley company is paying more than $43,000 in back wages and penalties after labour regulators found eight…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

OTTAWA ATTACK-TERRORISM

Canadian Muslim groups denounce violence, brace for backlash following Ottawa rampage

ISHMAEL N. DARO CANADA.COM Representatives of major Canadian Muslim groups gathered in Ottawa today to reiterate their denunciation of terrorism in the name of Islam…
Continue Reading »

gambling-civic elections

Majority of Surrey mayoral candidates flat-out opposed to more casinos in the city

CHRISTOPHER POON SURREY NOW SURREY — Looking back at late 2012 and early 2013, the hot topic in Surrey was a controversial casino and entertainment…
Continue Reading »

Diwali-Halloween

On Diwali, Surrey RCMP remind residents of fireworks bylaws

VANCOUVER DESI Surrey RCMP, Surrey Fire Service and Surrey Bylaws are reminding the public to have fun and be safe this Diwali and Halloween season,…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Stephen Harper

Stephen Harper: Attack by ‘terrorist’ on Parliament Hill won’t weaken Canada’s resolve

JOAN BRYDEN THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA – The gunman who staged a deadly attack Wednesday on Parliament Hill was a terrorist whose despicable crime will…
Continue Reading »

SURREY-FIELD HOCKEY

Barinder Rasode announces plan to develop field hockey pitch in Surrey

Third field at Tamanawis Park would cost approximately $3 million KYLE BENNING SURREY NOW NEWTON – Barinder Rasode and the One Surrey team were at…
Continue Reading »

Vancouver-Surrey-Festival-India

Diwali celebrations in Vancouver and Surrey

DiwaliFest celebrates its 11th anniversary from Oct. 17 to 26 at various sites in Surrey and Vancouver. Diwali Celebration Friday, Oct. 24 at Firehall Centre…
Continue Reading »

India-weird news

Rudaali: India’s professional ‘weeping women’ demand higher pay

CEN AGENCY Professional mourners who are hired to turn up at people’s funerals in India, beat their breasts and wail, are going on strike for…
Continue Reading »

Abbotsford

Jag Khosa: Families pay the ultimate price of gang wars

DET. JAG KHOSA SPECIAL TO VANCOUVER DESI Late into the night, the parents of a young man struggled to sleep. The mother kept tossing and…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Salman Khan-Bollywood

Narendra Modi to attend Salman Khan’s sister Arpita Khan’s wedding?

HINDUSTAN TIMES If all goes as per plan, then Prime Minister Narendra Modi just might be attending the wedding of Salman Khan’s sister, Arpita Khan….
Continue Reading »

Bollywood kiss

Bollywood’s king of kisses Emraan Hashmi refuses to dance with the queen of sex Sunny Leone

VANCOUVER DESI Bollywood’s serial kisser Emraan Hashmi has refused to share screen space with porn star-turned Bollywood-actress Sunny Leone, Indian tabloid Mid-Day reported. Hashmi, who…
Continue Reading »

Jackie Chan

First India-China joint venture film starring Jackie Chan launched

HINDUSTAN TIMES Chinese action star Jackie Chan will star in the first Sino-India joint film production slated to go on the floors in the coming…
Continue Reading »