Sebastian Simon. I was born in Bangalore, India, but reside in Melbourne, Australia.

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine myself behind the kitchen pass, not even during my childhood days when I grew up inspired by my mum, who would cook spectacular dishes with no recipes. My dream was to become a renowned journalist, while my father saw me as a well-qualified engineer. I chose the food industry because I considered cooking a necessary skill and started a hotel management course after changing courses multiple times. It turned out to be the best decision of my life.

After I was exposed to the industry, it left a profound mark on me and kindled my interest to continue seeking more. Despite all the failed avenues I had taken, I finally found my true niche, becoming an Executive Chef at age 31.

Over the years, I’ve learned to find the perfect balance between doing and accomplishing all I want to do in my career and being there for the people I love. I genuinely struggle with it, but I would rather give as much to my life outside work as I give to my job. My peers and family constantly remind me of the cost because I miss key moments, and before I can catch up, it’s gone forever. We need to stop and smell the roses before that time has passed.

With that in mind, we must also learn to celebrate the journey rather than the destination. Yes, this career is challenging, and no, it’s not always easy. It’s definitely not the glamor people think it is, but learn to enjoy the journey. We’re so obsessed with perfection that we forget the relationships we build and the journey to make service happen. Learn to value relationships, your craft, your people, and the produce you cook with.
Don’t let fear bring you down.

Sometimes, we let fear crawl its way into our cooking, but don’t let it defeat you. If you mess up, try again. It’s not the end of the world. The mantra I constantly tell myself is this, “I knew nothing, I know nothing, I am always learning is your mantra of survival here.” This shift in mindset made me resolve to be a better leader first, than a chef.