Renowned in the hospitality world, Rashmi Uday Singh, an accomplished author with over 40 books and a distinguished Gourmand award recipient, has embarked on a new venture. She is now the founder of Hospitality Hope, the world’s first global hospitality job portal, which is a pro bono initiative financed entirely by her. This innovative platform offers a lifeline to hospitality professionals across the world in search of internships or employment opportunities.
Launched during the Welcome Hospitality Conference in New York in mid-September, the portal garnered substantial attention and appreciation at San Sebastian Gastronomika, with plans for a forthcoming launch in London.
In a quick tête-à-tête, the author chats with HELLO! about her motivations behind this latest project in light of her personal health struggles and much more.
HELLO!: People tend to slow down when they undergo personal health challenges, but you’ve done just the opposite. What’s your secret?
Rashmi Uday Singh: I firmly believe, when life hands you lemons, set up a lemonade factory! Also, Gabbar Singh’s dictum ‘jo dar gaya wo mar gaya’. So cancer, chemotherapy and open heart surgery spurred me to do something exciting yet meaningful. I’ve written 40 books and countless columns… I have even shot TV shows with Gordon Ramsay; I saw no point in doing more of the same. I also like to venture into uncharted territories: writing India’s first restaurant guide, the world’s first vegetarian guide to Paris and now, it’s this pro bono job portal that excites me.
H!: Tell us the story behind setting up the Hospitality Hope portal…
RUS: It all started during the pandemic when I was posting job alerts on Instagram when people, restaurants and hotels requested me to do so. Of course, I did not charge anything, I never do. It seemed to be doing really well, because I got requests from restaurants in India and even New York. And when I had my open heart surgery in 2021, I had plenty of time to think and that’s when the idea of Hospitality Hope took seed. I still wasn’t sure if it was viable, since it was a first-of-its-kind venture. However, much later, when I asked Italian restaurateur Massimo Bottura about his opinion on the subject, he told me to go ahead! And I did. I faced many challenges along the way … from dealing with digital portal builders to changing design teams and dealing with their bureaucracies and then hiring help. I’m still looking for tech-savvy bright young people! All these challenges punctuated by a few personal surgeries has made this one big adventure.
H!: Most people start portals with a purely commercial aim. You have done this with an altruistic motive. What led you to this decision?
RUS: This portal enables youngsters to get internships and others to get their dream jobs. It’s completely free and I don’t choose anyone. Everyone can post their job or internship requirements and applications. No fees, no subscriptions. I have used up all my savings to create Hospitality Hope. It lets me give back to the hospitality industry that has given me so much, for so many decades. If I’m honest, it’s a purely selfish project as it makes me feel good!
H!: Your life on social media deceptively makes it all look fun and glamorous. What happens behind the screen?
RUS: The truth is that my vocation [travel and food writing] is what others’ vacations look like, so my Instagram photos will obviously reflect that. I was not on any kind of social media till about seven or eight years ago, when a friend told me I must join otherwise I would “become a dinosaur”; “I am a dinosaur, already,” I replied (laughs). But because I like new experiences, I tried it. It is a powerful medium to spotlight others work, to thank, to connect, to explore and to have my #foodieblinddates.
H!: What drives you so hard every single day?
RUS: I enjoy what I do.
H!: What would your advice be to other women, who want to venture into a similar domain?
RUS: I’m still learning. It’s very tough and I’m digitally challenged so I can’t advise anyone! In fact, I need and welcome all the advice I can receive.
This story has been adapted for the website from a story that was originally published in Hello! India’s November 2023 issue. Get your hands on the latest issue right here!