Meet the Team
Our Cafe manager, he is the senior-most of the Baniqueds a family which has a long association with moi. His sister Aida was the first to join me followed by sisters Teresa and Thelma and brother-in-law Ricky. And then Rolando and brother Hector. And stop press: his son Alexander has just joined the family. Rolando is an expert electrician and whenever anything electrical needs fixing, he is our man.
Our Chef de Cuisine – he is an old industry stalwart who can pretty much cook anything. But his specialty is Continental cuisine. We were colleagues in Welcomgroup Banjara and when I had an opening for someone like him in my Downtown Restaurant, he came running. Well actually he flew in and we have not let him flow out, oops sorry fly out. Husband to Maria and father to Clifford and Sherlly, we are indeed blessed to have him.
Younger brother to Rolando, he is our court jester, always ready for a gag. And when there’s biriyani to be had, he is first in line. Our delivery boss, always on the look out for a new bike that I can buy for him, Hector likes to keep his hair really, really short and takes a while to smile. But when he does, its worth the wait!
Our resident joker – Lamboo as he is affectionately, called was a recruit of mine in my earlier avatar as Ops Manager Nando’s. We lucked out when he returned to Dubai looking for a job and are slowly discovering his many talents – from walking at super speed, to making great masala chai and beef biriyani and most recently sambar like my mom used to make!
She is known as Queen Gladerine and to-date, is the only female member of the brigade. But she is no pushover and knows how to handle one and all. She is our treasure and despite being with us for just about a year, has endeared herself to all – guests and colleagues alike – and we really lucked out when we got her.
A former painter by profession, he is the Mustafa behind our Pasta Mustafa. He is the strong, silent one and looking at him you would never guess that he has two married daughters! He had an earlier stint with me which unfortunately didn’t quite turn out well for both of us. No fault of his though. But he came back about a year ago and is now an integral part of our kitchen brigade.
He is from somewhere near Lucknow. His cigarette smoking, rapid weight gain, meat-only diet washed down with coke, fanta, sprite etc. had me worried and I was all set to buy him a one way ticket home. But the ultimatum worked and he stopped smoking. We also bought bigger glasses to serve our soft drinks in, leaving nothing in the can for him to polish off! Recently back from his first holiday, he is our Frankee man and the butt of all the jokes.