Share the Load//

Mopping Floors, Making Beds and Cleaning Toilets No Big Deal in the Hospitality Industry: Chef Vicky Ratnani on Life in Lockdown

The celebrity chef on chores he has aced during the pandemic and how sharing the load helps strengthen family bonds.

Photo courtesy Vicky Ratnani
Photo courtesy Vicky Ratnani

With the pandemic still looming, staying in has become a priority as has doing chores around the house. We spoke with celebrity chef Vicky Ratnani on his experiences in sharing the load.

Doing housework has always been perceived as a woman’s job. What was it like when you were growing up?

I spent the first 10-12 years of my life in a large joint family and most of the household chores were done by the women. My grandfather used to visit the market to buy groceries, and my dad would buy the meat for the house. But inside the house, I never saw him help in the kitchen, clean or anything like that. 

As a kid, did you have any chores around the house?

Mom used to make us do a lot of work—from running errands to putting clothes out to dry. We had to iron our own school uniforms. I used to love making tea and would make my own bed as well. 

#Share the Load started as an Ariel campaign around five years ago. With the onset of the pandemic, Share the Load has become a reality that everyone has had to accept. What was your role in the house before the lockdown?

Being from the hospitality industry, we always had equal roles in the house too but over the last couple of years I’ve been travelling a lot for work so it had reduced. I could often cook at home, help our daughter Tanisha with her assignments. I really enjoy going to the market to buy vegetables and fruits. I would like to think that I have always been very hands-on around the house.  

During the lockdown, how are the responsibilities divided at home?

I have almost completely taken over the kitchen duties including groceries shopping. Pia (wife) takes care of the other chores like the clothes and cleaning. Tanisha used to help out a little bit with dishes and making her own bed. I also taught her a bit of cooking But, she’s in Grade 11 and is home-schooling so we don’t put too much pressure on her. 

Beyond cooking, have you discovered any other household work you’re good at?

Yes, I’m very good at washing dishes. And I think washing utensils is almost like meditation. I’m good at mopping the floors, I make perfect beds as well. When you go to hotel school, housekeeping is a part of it. So, mopping floors, making beds and cleaning toilets is no big deal—it’s life. We just didn’t do it all this while because we didn’t have to do it but it’s not like, “Oh God. How can I clean my toilet? Or why should I mop my floor, it’s not my job.” Thankfully, we’re not like that.

We’re not completely out of the lockdown, but do you think sharing the load helps in strengthening familial bonds?

It does 200%. It definitely makes you feel much better and closer. It’s like that management acronym TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More. I think it’s been good, there’s more appreciation for each other’s efforts. It also gives you a house-proud and confident feeling that we don’t have to rely on third parties to help us; that we’re physically and mentally capable of doing so. 

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- Marcus Aurelius

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