Kapila Chandran is dreamy; bites her nails and loves her friends. She believes she’s always surrounded by fairies; has even named her dog Magic. And she hastens to add that Kapila means ‘the wise one’ in Sanskrit, though people around her think she’s a ‘dumb blonde’ (mother’s Irish, father’s Indian) and don’t take her seriously because she’s 27.
One look at her culinary track record, and you will realise she’s anything but delectably dumb. More of that later. Right now, she is marching to the beat of Bacchus. She brings home the dessert with BaCCHUS, a company that offers solutions for all things epicurean. Two months into this and already her clients include f Bar and a yet-to-be-announced national restaurant chain, her ‘biggest’ client till date.
She is not flying solo. The amiable Delhi-born (‘I believe in being nice to everyone and never hurting anybody’) from the Institute of Hotel Management, Chennai has paired with Gareema Gautam (31), a veteran in the F&B industry, to shape up the menus and operational décor of F&B start-ups in Bangalore. And that is, besides directing her gourmet experience into the PR, marketing and market research wings. She has already gone beyond F&B to include any outfit that needs impeccable service – the client list includes Fluid Space, an exhibition space and Purple Orange, a cultural export house.
Kapila plunged into the world of manners when her mother (who works with the UNICEF) decided to send her on a holiday to London. The holiday extended for four years. And that meant, living it out alone, making friends and working for two hotels – the Halcyon and the Tamarind, each for two years. That’s where she got her hands into just about everything – from swabbing floors to washing dirty linen to managing front office to directing sales and marketing. And that taught her one thing: ‘work hard, party harder’. And she discovered that surviving in the F&B industry requires ‘thick-skinned, hard-working diplomats’. The result? She has become ‘more confident’ and ‘living alone in London’ helped. She could have opted the easy way out – she was selected as a hostess by Singapore Airlines. But she decided to pursue her passion for all things food and beverage in London. After four years, back in Chennai, she realised all her friends had moved out. And suddenly Bangalore materialised from nowhere. Not that, she was a stranger to the garden city — she used to Bangalore hop on weekends during her college days, if only to down draught beer, a Bangalore speciality then.
She joined The Leela in Bangalore as an assistant manager. After a year, she dined with the marketing head of Sula Vineyards who was impressed by her passion for wine. Not long after that, Kapila jumped ship to ‘sell something I loved’. After one-and-a-half years as sales and marketing manager at Sula, she decided to go Bacchus (the Roman god of good living and wine) and conjured up a delectable formula by the same name. And here, she is equally assisted by Gareema who offers operational and training solutions while Kapila gets down to the nitty-gritty of image and marketing. And how did this materialise? She was ‘selling wine’ to Gareema (then corporate F&B manager at the Royal Orchid Park Plaza). Common love coupled with a common passion prompted Gareema to move in with Kapila at her Benson Town apartment and the twosome set up business the very next month.
When Kapila is not talking business, she is doing yoga and ‘eating sensibly’. Right now, she is gung ho about Sushi, the haute item on the f Bar menu. Not to mention she is single by choice.
I, ME, MYSELF
Kapila Chandran (27)
Diploma in Hotel & Catering Management from IHM, Chennai
Worked at the Halcyon Hotel and Tamarind in London
Offers epicurean solutions to the F&B industry
Was industrial trainee at The Oberoi, Delhi
Assistant manager, The Leela Palace
Sales & marketing manager, Sula Vineyards
(Published in City Reporter, 2003)