Dishing Up A fruitful Event
Around 700 culinary professionals attended the seventh Indian Federation of Culinary Association at Pullman New Delhi Aerocity
The Indian Federation of Culinary Associations (IFCA) organised its seventh International Chefs Conference (ICC), a biennial event. Held between 1st to 3rd September, 2017 at Hotel Pullman Aerocity New Delhi, it saw the participation of over 700 culinary professionals from India and abroad. Hotelier India was the official media partner for this event.
The event was inaugurated by Chef Thomas Gugler, president of WorldChefs, Pawan Agarwal, CEO of FSSAI, Jean-Michel Casse, COO, India and South Asia of AccorHotels, Tristan Beau de Lomenie, GM of Hotel Pullman, Chef Manjit Gill, corporate chef of ITC Hotels and president of IFCA, and Dr Chef Soundararajan Palaniappan, general secretary of IFCA. After Chef Gill delivered his presidential welcome address, in his inaugural address Michel-Casse underscored how chefs in the country could benefit through the conference.
Chief guest Agarwal explained the new initiatives unveiled by the FSSAI department and requested Indian chefs to take note of the training programs that his department was organising across the country. Besides narrating the conference’s objectives, Dr Chef Soundararajan outlined how IFCA was realigning itself to match the dynamic goals of Indian culinary professionals. He specially thanked the Ministry of Tourism for the support it had extended to the association.
AN ERA OF FOODPRENEURS
The conference gave chefs, food stylists and people involved in F&B operations an opportunity to listen to speakers from various fields. Amongst them was Arnab Mukherjee, VP, India and South, Welbilt who narrated the company’s history and that of the group in detail. He also spoke about the brand’s equipment that is created keeping in perspective aspects such as safety, hygiene, ease of operations, durability, etc.
The conference was aimed at encouraging cross-border interaction between attendees and speakers and fostering culinary entrepreneurship. Chef Gugler spoke briefly on how WorldChefs worked for culinary professionals and in detail about the WorldChefs certification process for chefs globally. He mentioned how experienced chefs could get their skills validated across different levels for this certification process. Chef Toine Hoeksel, culinary director, Asia Pacific, Marriott International added to this by recounting the company’s entire business currently, including its brand portfolio, F&B vision, challenges, opportunities, local business, talent acquisition and development.
Chef Sabyasachi Gorai, a foodpreneur himself and president of the Young Chefs Association of India, narrated about the emerging challenges and opportunities for young chefs in the country. He said, “Training and mentorship, choosing the right path as well as knowledge of basics are very essential for them. The right attitude and communication skills are pertinent; self-doubt normally pulls down these young chefs.”
HYPE AND FACTS
A key highlight of the conference were the sessions by industry specialists who spoke on nutrition and food preparation. Dr Pasupathy Parikshan, consultant and scientist on food satety presented before the delegates the importance of separating truth from hype in foods and food preparation. “Reading the labels on food material”, he said, “was important and one should not to go by the brand’s hype. One can narrowing the risks by the right choice of food material and food preparation. Chefs should encourage biodiversity and reduce unsafe food chain.”
Chef Madhu Krishnan, executive chef, research, innovation, development, Hotels Division, ITC Ltd added to Parikshan’s clarion call and appealed to the chefs to be mindful and bring nourishment back to meals. She urged them “to celebrate the classics by simplifying dishes, be respectful to the seasons and source from locals, break paradigms and be unpredictable.”
ICC’s second day saw Chef Thomas Vaccaro, pastry dean of New York’s Culinary Institute of America (CIA) talked about the evolution of contemporary desserts. He narrating some of his experiences at CIA’s Modern Café, delving through the changing faces of deserts, improved presentations, new trends, the mirror glazed cakes, etc. ‘Retail presentations today are aimed at captivating the customer’s attention. 3D confections and 3D printing are the latest delights,” he said. “Entremets, Verrines and show pieces in deserts are much appreciated and customers prefer smaller portions.”
Celebrity nutritionist, Rujuta Diwekar later spoke about food and nutrition in the fast-paced world and how chefs can help in inculcating health into the dietary requirements of fitness conscious guests.
The day also saw presentations by regional associations, including Chefs Association of Five Rivers, Chefs Association of Garhwal, Culinary Forum of Goa, South India’s Chefs Association and Western India Culinary Association. Additionally, there was an Awards ceremony, followed by a gala dinner.
ICC’s final day had a series of speeches. Amongst them were Chef Vikram Cotah, COO, GRT Hotels and Resorts who made a presentation on ‘A Reflection On Modern Processed Food Diets’. Later TV host and celebrity chef Ranveer Brar focused on ‘What Is “Real” Indian Food’. He brought in different perspectives about Indian food, which caught the audience’s attention.
Dr. Ganesh Bagler, professor and scientist in IIIT followed this up with ‘The Science of Indian Cuisine’ where he supported the traditional cooking sytles and eating with the rationale that our ancestors applied to food. He also touched upon how we could alter our dietary habits to improve our health. He offered several scientific reasons on why the food Indians ate was traditionally ideal and what they should do now to stay healthy in the future as well.
The event wound up with a round of thanks for the various IFCA members and representatives from the culinary world who had continuously worked for the upliftment of their fraternity. ICC underscored one thing – that culinary professionals are living in interesting times. And it is up to them to make the most of it.