Running a brewpub/concept restaurant isn’t easy- it’s a lot of work, a lot of sweat and the occasional tears.
There are a lot of good, earnest people working behind the scenes, who put in a great deal of effort, round-the-clock, to ensure that everything you love about us stays that way.
And these people are none other than our never-tiring, ever-inspiring staff.
Say hello to the man who makes sure your wood-fire pizzas are done just right—our Commi 2 and Pizza Chef Mani Shankar.
When did you join Toit?
I joined in 2012. It will seven years this year since I joined.
What were you doing before that?
I was in Calcutta before that. I am from there, and I was working in a plastics company.
I was the Supervisor’s Assistant. They knew my father, which was why I joined the place.
But I wasn’t too happy with the salary, so I left that job and came here.
My brother was staying in Bangalore and he called me here and told me about Toit. He used to work at Cake Walk, which used to be right next to Toit. He heard about the job here, spoke to the Supervisor, and then called me here.
What is your role at Toit?
I’m a Pizza Chef.
Did you have any prior experience working in a kitchen?
I didn’t have any prior experience. But when I first came to Bangalore, there was no vacancy at Toit, so I worked as a kitchen assistant in a restaurant in Marathahalli.
Once there was an availability, they called me here and I joined immediately.
Have you always liked cooking? Or did you develop a passion for it here?
I’ve always liked to cook. Back in Calcutta, at home, I used to cook with my mother.
I used to love making chicken and fish dishes with my mother.
Did you join the kitchen as soon as you joined Toit?
No. I joined as housekeeping staff, and after about 5-6 months I spoke to the Chef about my interest to join the kitchen. So they transferred me and I was kitchen assistant.
I learnt different things while doing that and then they promoted me to Commi 2.
What is a typical work day like?
I wake up in the morning and freshen up. I live in Old Madras road, not too far away, so I walk from home. Takes me about fifteen minutes to reach Toit.
I come here, and as soon as I come I check what all items are in stock, whether anything is spoilt and what else is needed.
Then I fire the oven and tell the kitchen assistant what all I need. He cuts everything and gives it to me, and then based on the orders my work starts.
We work in shifts, so I take a break at 3:30 pm and come back by 6:00 pm, after which I work till closing.
What is the most popular pizza that is constantly in demand?
Right now, there is a new menu, and from that people order the Spicy Chicken Pizza a lot. And also the Cajun style pizza from the vegetarian options.
The speciality of the pizzas at Toit is that they are all wood-fire pizzas and not made in electrical ovens. This is a process that takes time—how do you manage when there is high demand?
When there is a lot of demand, we work as a three-man team. One person handles the toppings, one person handles the dough, and one person oversees the baking.
We try to keep the wood dry and ready so that we can fire it quickly and turn out pizzas quickly.
There is lesser control with wood-fire. Do you tend to burn or undercook the pizzas at times?
When you have practice, you’re able to control these things. We have a temperature gun that helps us with this as well. So we know exactly when the temperature is too hot, or even when it is not hot enough.
When is your off-day? And what do you do on an off?
My off-day is Thursday. I wake up the same time in the morning, have my breakfast and freshen up. Then I do my laundry, make some food, maybe some mutton or fish dishes.
Then I eat, clean my house, rest a little bit before I head out in the evening. My cousin sister stays here, and she has a son, so I go play with him and spend time there.
I also like watching movies, any movie with Salman Khan. He is my favourite actor.
How has the experience been, starting with housekeeping and getting to Commi 2?
It feels really good! I have worked and the company has helped me move forward. I still have a long way to go, and I want to continue working in the kitchen.