Kamal Grant learned a valuable hospitality lesson on Gordon Ramsay’s Food Stars, interview

Kamal Grant on Gordon Ramsay's Food Stars Season 2
Kamal Grant on Gordon Ramsay's Food Stars Season 2 / FOX

When Kamal Grant entered Gordon Ramsay’s Food Stars, his pitch for his Magic Middles cookie business revealed a sweet spot on Lisa Vanderpump’s team. Although his time on the FOX reality show might have expired too soon, Kamal believes that the experience will help his food business rise to the top.

Recently, FoodSided spoke to Kamal Grant after his elimination from the immersive bar episode of Gordon Ramsay’s Food Stars. Although Kamal wished that he could have had more chances to showcase his business and culinary knowledge, he does not regret the opportunity.

While perspectives can vary on what was or was not the best way to showcase hospitality in the immersive bar challenge, Kamal knows that guest experience is vital in the food business world. In many cases, clearing tables is just as important as the door greeting.

Kamal Grant on Gordon Ramsay's Food Stars Season 2 episode 2
Kamal Grant on Gordon Ramsay's Food Stars Season 2 episode 2 / FOX

As the owner of Sublime Doughnuts in Atlanta, as well as Magic Middles, Kamal appreciates that how the customer sees, interacts, and responds to his food companies is vital to their success. Specifically, he mentioned, “the guest experience is everything. We are here to make people have a good time, be hospitable, and for people to enjoy their experience.”

Kamal Grant says that he is in the “happiness business.”

While many people love to indulge in a doughnut or a cookie, it is not necessarily required sustenance to complete their day. Kamal shared, “I tell my employees when they first start working for me that we are not in the food business; we are in the happiness business. Nobody has to eat a doughnut. You get a doughnut to make yourself happy.”

That sentiment comes through in the care and craft that is whisked into every doughnut made and cookie baked. When the person behind the food made ensures the best guest experience, the food business can be successful.

Even though Sublime Doughnuts has had years of success, Kamal appreciates that Magic Middles is still in the infancy stage. He might dream of filling store shelves with dozens of flavors, but he understands that slow and steady wins the race.

Kamal believes that being a food entrepreneur is all about baby steps. Test after test not only builds confidence but also the strong foundation for the brand. When a customer knows that the product delivers what it promises time and again, customer loyalty is obtained. Kamal is willing to take that time to ensure that his brand is successful.

Hard work and dedication are characteristics that he has nurtured over the years. Recalling his time as a cook in the U.S. Navy, Kamal shared, “that experience definitely toughen me up for everything that I have done in the culinary world. Cooking for all those sailors in the middle of the ocean was a unique experience.”

But, it showed him the power of food. Sailors were uninhibited with their opinions. More importantly, a great meal could be that moment of happiness when they were surrounded by water and away from their families. Cinnamon roll day definitely made the whole crew feel a little sweeter.

Kamal related that Naval cooking experience to the first challenge on Gordon Ramsay’s Food Stars Season 2. Everyone was concerned about pushing out food as the line grew. Kamal, manning the grill, had been in bigger, more stressful situations where he had to push out food. For him, it was all about managing the moment.

The discipline that he learned from that Naval experience still influences his approach to his food business. From instilling the pride in his staff for making the best tasting and looking doughnuts at his shop to ensuring the most flavorful Magic Middles hit store shelves, the foundation of the happiness business is the willingness to work hard.

Even though Kamal Grant may not be the next Food Stars winner, his businesses are on a successful path. Will Magic Middles be front and center next to those other Keebler Elves cookies? Only time will tell. When that chocolate passionfruit flavor arrives, make sure to buy a few extra containers because it is sweet happiness in a single bite.

Gordon Ramsay’s Food Stars Season 2 airs new episodes on Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. ET/PT on FOX. Episodes can be streamed the next day on Hulu.

Kamal Grant is the owner of Magic Middles cookies and Sublime Doughnuts in Atlanta.