The People That Make Us
Over on the JKS Restaurants Instagram, we’ve been spotlighting those talented people who make JKS what it is today. One of them is our own General Manager, Preeta Nair.
Originally from Ipoh in Malaysia, but with Keralan ancestry, Preeta Nair came to the UK in 1995 after landing a scholarship at Leeds University to study Hospitality & Business Management. She spent the next twelve years working in highly regarded Indian restaurants in London, but yearned to try something new. So, she took a qualification in human resources, entered the world of pharmaceuticals, and worked a short stint in Dubai. With her return to the UK, came a return to hospitality. Preeta contacted an old friend, Savio, who was working for JKS Restaurants and he in turn introduced Preeta to co-founder and Group Operations Director Sue Sethi.
After the interview, Preeta was offered the role of Floor Manager at Michelin-starred Trishna and immediately became an integral part of the team. Four promotions later, she’s General Manager and loves being the fulcrum of the restaurant for both customers and staff. Preeta’s extremely proud of JKS’s training programme, which she’s experienced the benefits of first-hand. Although she doesn’t eat meat or fish, she finds she has all the knowledge and experience necessary to guide customers in their choice of dishes. Her very first day at Trishna was spent with the Executive Chef, learning what goes into each recipe. Like every newcomer, she received a food bible to study, and a training calendar. “It’s very well organised,” she says, so that people from any nationality can grasp the intricacies of the cuisine.
To make a success of hospitality, you don’t just need a passion for food – you need to be hospitable, she says, to get along with people and communicate that through your body language. The work is challenging and can be stressful, so it’s essential to love doing it. Life came full circle in 2019 when Preeta had the honour of serving Malaysia’s ex-Prime Ministers during a meal at Trishna. She confesses to missing local Malaysian specialities such as Musang King durian, and bubur durian, the sticky rice dessert her mother makes using the famously whiffy, thorn-covered fruit. Being vegetarian is, she says, rather unusual in Malaysia, but if Preeta ever decided to give up, her first meal would be Trishna’s Hariyali Bream. “Everyone always says it’s the highlight of their meal.”
Downtime? Reading, learning languages and watching Korean drama serials
Keeping fit? Cycle rides through Ally Pally and Muswell Hill
Industry inspo? Heston Blumenthal – “so, so inventive”
Think the world of food and drink could be right for you too? Click here for more information about our available vacancies across the group.