#Home Chefs Matter at Taj Lands End
Attended my first food conference!! Organised by FBAI, I discovered it's not just about food!! It's about learning a way of life!! Home Chefs are an important part of the food industry.They form a link between outside food and home.We might eat out but at the end of the day,most people crave ghar ka khana.No wonder that even hotels are holding home chef pop-ups.
Missed the first few lectures but was in time for Rushina's where she narrated her life story.She encouraged the new home chefs to have faith and face all the trials and tribulations,knowing that there will be a rainbow at the end.She has no degree in food but has still managed to reach up there in the food circuit,thanks to her passion and dedication
Next was the dynamic Munaf Kapadia of The Bohri Kitchen who left a successful job in the corporate world to start a company that was based on his mother's cooking.They started at home with people writing in to request a meal which they priced low initially.He used the skills he learnt at his job to market The Bohri Kitchen and his has been one hell of a success story
Next was Chef Saransh Goila who has made a terrific name for Goila Butter Chicken.He gave tips on how to make one's product popular with the use of the social media.
Then there was the charming and sophisticated Nikhila Palat who used to be in charge of PR for Taj Hotels.She spoke of how sometimes mistakes happen,even with the best of intentions,but can be rectified with the right attitude.She gave an example of how a VVIP guest had a real animal on his bed at a safari venue.The apology included a stuffed animal with a letter stating how excited it was to meet him
Chef Varun Inamdar spoke of creativity,using local ingredients with foreign dishes.He has represented the country abroad at several events.
Then there was Chef Ajay Chopra of Westin who spoke of sticking to one's speciality and improvising it.He suggested training wives of farmers on making products with extra produce so that they may be able to sustain themselves.He also spoke of the need to buy direct from farmer so as to help them.
Rashmi Uday Singh spoke of how she found home chefs and gave them a podium.She in fact had started a Home Chefs Cafe at the Crossroads Mall that served their products,years ago!
An important lecture was held regarding registration required by home chefs,depending on their earnings (a higher amount requiring a license)
The lunch at the Taj Lands End event was prepared by Home Chefs Ananya Bannerjee (Oriya food),Gitika Saikia (North Eastern food),Purabi Naha (Bengali Food),Sandeep Sreedharan (Malayalee food) and Sherry Malhotra (Himachali food).The display and selection of menu was outstanding
Then came chef Vicky Ratnani.He divided the teams into 8 groups.Each was given a set of ingredients and had to prepare a dish with walnuts in half hour.
We were seven of us.It was a great way to test team skills.Planning the dish,preparing it in half hour with only one knife provided and plating it,was no mean task.We made a Paneer Steak with Walnut Pesto and Grilled Vegetables.We didn't win but we had a lot of fun!! We were the oldest and noisiest bunch!!
There were many more exciting sessions including one with Harpal Singh,Kalyan Karmakar and Ananya Bannerjee but the moment home chef Bela Gupta found most exciting was when she,the Herbivore,met Kunal,the Carnivore!! Remains to be seen if she can convince him to try her fare.... :D