|(left) Chef Sudhakar trains aspiring chefs at Culinary Academy of India, Hyderabad
Profession: Chef; Course: Bachelor’s degree/diploma in Culinary Arts
Institutes: CAI, Hyderabad; Culinary Instituteof America (US, Singapore); WACA, Manipal; Le Cordon Blue (four continents); IHM, Aurangabad
Job profiles: Chef; Consultant; Entrepreneur; Food stylist/writer/critic/sculptor/photographer/historian; Food & Beverage Controller
Recruiters: Hotels, restaurants, airline/regular caterers, cruise liners, hospitals, corporates, educational institutes, armed forces, TV production houses/media
WHILE Indian chefs, today, are excelling at foreign cuisines like Mexican, Mediterranean and sushi, our own desi cuisine never fails to fascinate Chef Narayan Rao. Consider this; India is made up of 28 states and seven union territories. While a dining table in Kashmir looks very different from one in Kanyakumari, even within a 30 kilometre radius dining options vary based on one’s religion, community and food choices (non-veg, pesitarian (fish-eating), eggetarian, veg, satvik and vegan).
Phew! Even the respective colonial influence has left its mark on Indian platters. “The food varies depending on the season and offers a lot of depth,” elaborates Chef Narayan who was Executive Chef of The Aman, a luxury hotel in Delhi until recently.
Main ingredient: passion
Chef Narayan’s reasons for joining the profession are “Pure passion and love for food!” Ditto for pastry chef Kishi Arora, who might have pursued an MBA after a BCom at the coveted commerce college SRCC, if her family had had their way. In the face of staunch of opposition, she took a loan and attended the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), a coveted institute in New York City. Still paying off her loan, Kishi seems very driven and convinced of her choice.
Chef K. Thirugnanasambantham, faculty at Welcome Academy of Culinary Arts (WACA), Manipal University says that the Bureau of Labour Statistics offers a positive forecast. An 11 percent increase in employment for chefs and food professionals, is expected by 2016.
Traditionally, those aspiring to be chefs would pursue a degree or diploma in hotel management, which trains one in the hospitality industry’s core functions - Housekeeping, Front office, Food & Beverage and Food Production. When Chef Sudhakar N Rao, a hotel management graduate, returned to India after working abroad for many years, he felt the time had come for focused chef training institutes and programmes in India. So in 1996, he set up the Culinary Academy of India (CAI) in Hyderabad, with the help of qualified chefs, culinarians and hoteliering professionals.