When visiting multi award winning Everest Lounge Indian & Nepalese Restaurant in Market Harborough one evening in May, I was given permission to have a quick chat with Jake, who has been working there part time for the past 3 years.
Jake, like his friend Joe (with whom I had a similar interview last year), has had some impressive reviews from many of the restaurant's customers, so I was intrigued to know a little more about him, his experiences at Everest and whether he felt working there from a young age had helped him. I also wondered if (and how) he thought it might benefit him in the future.
This is a transcript of our conversation on May 2nd 2023:
Simon (thebestof Market Harborough):
So Jake, thanks for agreeing to this brief chat. Let's start with you telling a little bit about yourself. Are you a local lad?
Jake (Everest Lounge Restaurant)
Hi, I'm Jake Coleman, I'm 17 yrs old and go to Robert Smyth Academy in Market Harborough and yes, I've always lived here in Market Harborough - - it's my home town.
So at what stage are you now at school, about to take your 'A' Levels I think?
Yes, in just a couple of weeks time!
Well, we all wish you good luck with those.
So let me ask you how you got to know Pradip (business owner) and came to work here at Everest Lounge Restaurant.
Well I first saw the job advertised on facebook, and I already knew my friend Joe who had come to work here a couple of months earlier, and that was quite soon after the restaurant opened for the 1st time in June 2020.
I applied because I was wanting a kind of holiday job. I met owner Pradip and his business partner Sunil and they were good enough to offer me a trial shift in the restaurant. And that went quite well and they took me on, which was great.
So it all happened quite quickly really. I think I soon adapted and felt I was beginning to get used to the work, although I remember feeling very shy and reserved at first. But then very soon after, we all went into the Covid lockdown, so I had to learn everything quite quickly 'cause of course we were only doing takeaways then.
Had you had any work experience previously or was this your first?
No, no work experience at that point - this was my first job as I was still at school. But it's worked out very well, and I've been here working shifts when I can or in holidays ever since, - that's almost 3 years now!
So I've been working shifts about 3 nights per week after school and then at weekends - but less so recently of course as I've been preparing for my A Levels.
Well yes, that's understandable. But let's go back for a minute to those early days - do you remember how you felt when you first started?
I was a bit nervous, but everyone was very helpful - they knew it was my first job and they really looked after me.
Had you had any experience or eaten much Indian food before?
Yes I had eaten quite a bit, but I didn't know much about it. I had to get more into it now, especially learning about Nepalese food and its culture from the chefs. It was really interesting, and the team were brilliant and very supportive from the start. And if I saw them out of work too - they were very approachable and helped me a lot.
So how long would you say it took before you began to feel comfortable in the job and felt 'one of the team'?
Oh, it's quite difficult to say really, - probably a good couple of months before I felt I knew what I was doing. But it was during lockdown that I really learned about the food, 'cause apart from taking orders, it was all about preparing the food. And as you can imagine, it was really busy.
I think you know that everyone here thinks very highly of you and how you've adapted to the work place and the environment during your time here with your friendly and willing personalty. What would you say are the top 3 things that you've gained most along the way?
I think, 'gaining confidence; is definitely #1, and Pradip and the chefs really helped me gain confidence by teaching me stuff and helping me to talk to customers and people.
I've learnt that talking and building relationships with customers is really important in keeping them happy and getting them to come back. And I have to say, the restaurant has done a brilliant job with that.
And also, probably learning about the food on the menu and the Indian and Nepalese culture and way of life. That has been really good as it's not like working in a pub and bringing out burgers and chips and things. It's very different and really interesting. And the staff helped me a lot with that, especially in the beginning which has been really good because I've been able to help others with that since then too.
It seems they've done a great job teaching you but you've been very good to absorb it all too. And, I know your customers have appreciated that level of knowledge as well when choosing dishes, because I see your name mentioned on some of the hundreds of customer reviews the restaurant gets.
I think what you've learned while working here are great life lessons which will really help you in whatever career path you choose.
So what are your thoughts about the future Jake? I know you're still at school but do you have any ideas yet about what you might like to do or achieve?
Well, obviously now I'm doing my A levels in the next couple of weeks, and my focus is just on them. I've not applied to any Uni for this year as I'm planning on doing a bit of travelling first and I've got a bit of money saved which working at Everest Lounge has helped with. I think it's the right time to do it; hopefully it will be a memorable adventure and it'll give me some good thinking time.
Then, I'm thinking at present of possibly doing something in Property Management. My cousin's got a business and I'm thinking I might like to work with him to get an insight into that, but really I have an open mind still about the future.
Well at 17, I think you're entitled to have - you've got plenty of time! But in the meantime, you're obviously enjoying yourself working here.
Definitely, and one thing's for sure, working at Everest Lounge has really helped my confidence to approach different people, to go to interviews etc - it's been really beneficial. And also the confidence to go travelling to foreign countries.
So where do you want to travel to?
I want to go to South East Asia - to Thailand, Indonesia. And I'd like to go to Nepal having learned so much about it while working here. And I'd like to visit some European countries too. Maybe in a few years, I'd like to see Australia and New Zealand, having studied these places at school - who knows? My Dad has done a lot of travelling and he's said - 'just do it' 'cause it's learning about 'life'.
I think you're absolutely right. And I'm sure it will benefit you in the future.
One thing Pradip has been particularly impressed with about you is your initiative and work ethic. You can't really teach people that. For someone of your age, you appear to have grasped the importance of putting your heart into something, which is a great and mature attitude to carry you through life, and essentially, it will give other people confidence in you.
For example, it was a busy time at the Harborough Carnival last year when you and others took responsibility to 'man the stand', and serve customers with hot food straight from the stall. And I know that made Pradip really proud with the way you managed it and it reassured him of your ability.
Yes, that was also a good experience for me and I was grateful to have the opportunity to do something like that. It's definitely helped me and yes I've worked hard, but they've all worked hard to help me, and I'm really thankful for that. Growing up in my teens, it would have been so easy to get distracted onto other things.
So would you recommend doing some work experience at a young age to others?
Definitely, it's been an invaluable experience.
Thanks Jake for your time - I've really enjoyed talking to you. I think you've got a great future ahead of you.
Thank you, and you're welcome.
Simon Perry of The Bestof Market Harborough was talking with Jake Coleman of Everest Lounge Restaurant in Market Harborough on May 2nd 2023.
I'd like to thank Pradip Karanjit, owner of Everest Lounge Restaurant for allowing me to speak with Jake on the premises and to publish this interview.
Everest Lounge Indian, Nepalese & Tibetan Restaurant
46 St Mary's Road
Tel: 01858 433336
Member since: 20th June 2014
Simon Perry - working 'tirelessly'! with thebestof team to drive our 'Buy Local' campaigns and support our very best independent local businesses.
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