International Chefs Day: Know Why 'Healthy' Food is the Future from Culinary Maestros
International Chefs Day: Know Why 'Healthy' Food is the Future from Culinary Maestros

Your whole idea of visiting a restaurant is a big flop if the food served doesn’t meet the expectation. We have always praised the restaurant for its interior, food, quality, music and service and have seen restaurant owners taking all the praises for the work done; but have you ever thought how much effort a chef put to bring the best on the table. It’s all because of the creativity in the kitchen that a restaurant is all praise.

Ever since its inception by Late Chef Dr. Bill Gallagher in 2004, International Chef's Day has been as much about celebrating people in the culinary profession as promoting the importance of healthy and responsible eating.

What’s the significance

“International Chefs Day honours all chefs and their efforts to constantly serve the people through cooking and exposing them to food, cuisines, and link these with culture. It is celebrated on October 20, every year to give due importance to the noble profession and the professionals who bring in punctuality, sincerity and dedication, each day to their work. ICF, a member of WACS, was established in 1987, and has since then been bringing in the much needed awareness for the profession, respect to the culinary professionals, and unanimously driving the careers in the hospitality industry to the mainstream of coveted career options. It also celebrates this day with its Knowledge Summit and Chefs Awards,” shared Chef Davinder Kumar, President, Indian Culinary Forum.

According to Chef Vaibhav Bhargava, Partner, CHO, New Delhi, one of the most important aspects of International Chefs Day is to stress the importance of cooking and eating healthy foods. “International Chefs Day was instituted to remind chefs that it was their duty to pass on their knowledge and culinary skills to the next generation of chefs with a sense of pride and commitment to the future,” he added.

With focus on health and ‘healthy food’ as a theme as 2020, the chef’s day is being celebrated to promote healthy eating through chefs.

“A balanced diet is necessary for both good nutrition and health. You are shielded from a variety of degenerative non-communicable diseases, including cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Our bodies receive all the necessary nutrients from the food we eat. Furthermore, none of these nutrients are found in junk food; they are only found in foods that are healthy. Even after being aware of this, people continue to be lured to eat junk food, which is why it's crucial to discuss eating healthy food,” pointed Chef Ashish Singh, Corporate Chef, Dhansoo Cafe, Delhi & Gurgaon.

Commenting on the same, Chef Vaibhav mentioned, “Having a strong immune system and eating “stress-busting” foods are important. We are living a hectic lifestyle where hearing about heart attacks has become a common affair, our stress, the lifestyles we lead all of it has an impact on it and it’s important to advocate healthy food now more than ever.”

For Chef Kumar, when it comes to availability of food, the gap between haves and have-nots has been widening. On one hand we have obesity and food wastage, and on the other hand the world has been fighting for zero hunger. Obesity and malnutrition both are dangerous for the future population. We were caught unawares by the pandemic. The only way to build immunity and stay on guard is to stay healthy. “Locally grown foods, foods less travelled, and seasonal foods are excellent for our health. These habits have to be inculcated in life as early as possible. This issue of unhealthy food habits cannot be tackled overnight; concerted and continuous efforts need to be put in to get people to eat healthy. The change in mindset when it comes to food consumption is very important, and the process has to start now,” he exerted.

 Some healthy Kitchen Hacks by Top Chefs

Chef Vaibhav Bhargava: “For me that one thing, that I swear by always is - Add a little salt to everything and while you are in the process, the food is still getting cooked don’t forget to season and taste as you go.”

Chef Davinder Kumar: “As a five-star dining place, we cannot eliminate international cuisines altogether. Our guests come to us for that very global experience. We ensure that we buy locally grown produce, and there are quite a few things that we make from scratch. We consciously reduce the sugar and salt in our recipes and add other elements like herbs that contribute to the flavour without compromising on the taste.”

Chef Ashish Singh: “Instead of using hacks we need to use the simplest possible method of cooking any particular dish.”

Tips to share with young chefs:

Chef Vaibhav Bhargava: “Go to places where you want to work and wait for an opportunity there. Those are the places that are going to mold you into the chef that you will become. Be driven, but patient.”

Chef Davinder Kumar: “Research, read, and don’t be in a hurry to make a quick buck with gimmicks like amateur videos. These might come back to bite you in the future. Choose your idols wisely, because you’ll be unknowingly emulating them. Know to discern the genuine from the rest. There is no shortcut to success. Be honest, and work with integrity. Network, share ideas and experiences, and take every chance to learn first, keep practicing before you get to the implementing stage.”

Chef Ashish Singh: “All young chefs should be process and method driven and should understand and respect the ingredients being used. Their approach should basically be as simple as it can be.”

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