COVID-19 has put a full-stop to life, the pandemic that has engulfed the whole world since March of 2020 has forced everyone and everything to shift to the virtual world; has made us value ‘the personal touch’ in activities we did more. Until we come up with the vaccine we just try and get used to the virtual world. The stalwarts in the cooking world have also moved their expertise to the virtual environment.
The Indian Culinary Forum (ICF) presented a series of Masterclasses for budding chefs, learning and imparting knowledge should never stop as they say. A series of 20 Masterclasses, across 20 days, with 20 chefs presenting 20 regional dishes; a true depiction of the 20-20 matches of 2020. The stalwarts from the Food and Beverage industry came together to present some lost recipes, talk about their therapeutic values and the relevance of the ingredients to the oldest known medical science, that is Ayurveda.
Chef Davinder Kumar, President of Indian Culinary Forum informs, a renowned chef says, “The best part about being a human being is the ability to adapt and move on. Teaching and learning are activities that you do from your heart if someone wants to learn, the medium doesn’t matter, and if someone wants to teach; they find a way.” During his masterclass Chef Davinder Kumar created a very healthy and wholesome the dish called, Buckwheat and Oat Chilla
During the 20 days of Masterclasses, the likes of Amit Wadhawan – Chef, Head coach and Research and Development Specialist, Ashish Bhasin – Head of culinary operations at The Leela Ambience Hotel and Residences Gurugram and Gautam Chaudhry – who was recently listed as one of India’s Top 10 Chef’s by Hotelier India presented their favourite dishes along with Bharat Khemani, Lalit Mohan, Sneha Saikia, Anand Panwar, Nandita Karan, Gaurav Chawla, Rahul Wali, Abhilasha Jain, Arti Ghai, Aditya Jaimini, Joel, Dayashankar and Neeraj Rawoot. The focus remained on exquisite dishes from the past, that have been forgotten or are not so common in today’s world and also on food and food ingredients and its benefits.
General Secretary of Indian Culinary Forum Chef Vivek Sagar added, “some of the recipes from the past are beautifully balanced, nutritious and tasty. In today’s time when alot of processed food is available, reverting to tried and tested recipes not only is a healthy choice but also a chance to keep the tradition alive.”
Chef Gautam Chaudhry, Joint Secretary of Indian Culinary Forum feels, “There is always something good in every situation, because we have moved to the virtual world, we are all able to collaborate and come together for such events irrespective of our locations. The more the merrier seems to be the way to go; like they say when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”
During Harpal Sokhi’s masterclass he prepared Haldi Shatavari ki Kheer, a balanced dessert with the added benefits of turmeric and curcumin. Ashish Bhasin presented his take on Mutton Dahi Bhalla and Chef Gautam did a recipe from Orissa called Chenna Poda, that is popularly known as the Bhog Prasad offered at Jaggannath Puri Temple. Chef Nishant Choubey presented the class with Corn Haleem, where the key ingredient was corn.
A Chartered Accountant by profession, home chef and now a Food Historian Shri Bala did a session on Pre-historic and Vedic cooking. She prepared Thrikadugam Mamsa, a dish from 300 B.C. She is a practitioner of ‘your food your medicine’ medicine, she says, “Given the situation we are in now, it is of utmost importance to focus on what we eat and how much, helping our body to become stronger and develop better immunity.”
The Indian Culinary Forum is India’s association of Professional chefs of India. It was formed in New Delhi in 1987 as an exclusive non-profit-making organization, dedicated solely to the advancement of the culinary art of India. The Forum’s objective is to act as a link, a platform and an instrument for the enhancement and overall development of the national community of chefs. The World Association of Cooks Societies is 110-nation fellowship comprising the world’s various professional chefs’ organization representing over 9 million professional chefs. The ICF has an international culinary focus in the staging of its various competitions, seminars, and events. The aims of the ICF, broadly, are:
– To enhance international, the culinary prestige to India
– To encourage Indian nationals to consider a career within the hospitality industry
– To promote Indian Cuisine globally
– To help young chefs to hone culinary skills through training, workshops, and competition