Updated 8:27 am, Jul 29, 2020

In India, we need education in culinary skills: Chef Manjit Gill (IANS Interview) || SNE

By  Business Standard .
Sep 28, 2018



Going to the extent of suggesting that children should be allowed to mess with the cooking and connect emotionally with the they eat, well-known feels it is important to “understand our food”.


“We all have to understand our first. We have to communicate with our We must have proper understanding of the goodness of our food. This is very important,” Gill, the of the of Culinary Associations and of the (Worldchefs), told IANS here in an interview.


Gill, who is busy with the preparations of the World Heritage Summit & Food Festival 2018 (in which chefs from 40 countries are expected to participate) being held at the historic in from October 12 to 14, says that Indian food is culturally rich even though there has been little effort get it into a “structured and scientific” format.


“In India, we don’t have education on culinary skills. So far, we have only hotel management institutes where everything about the hospitality industry is taught. For the first time now, we have set up the (in Noida near Delhi) to teach specialised culinary skills to students,” Gill, who is the for the and of the (Pusa), said.


“We do not have proper textbooks to teach about our Indian food. There is no terminology for Indian food. Our institutes are teaching only Westernised food. For example, no one even teaches you how to make a basic thing like “paneer” (cottage cheese) in a scientific and structured way,” he pointed out.


Gill, who has been in the food business for over 40 years, said: “is in transition. We can say that it is still struggling to get a good ethnic restaurant. Our food is based on the principle of wellness and sustainability. We have to understand this. Every region has a different flavour and is very important. The concept of seasonal food, which is emphasised in all regions in the country, is important as it is based on centuries of experience of what food is required in what season.”


Gill agreed that many restaurants are using too much and ghee in the name of tasty Indian food.


“The restaurant culture in is about 40-50 years old. If you put more fat (oil/ghee), you end up cooking carelessly. The balance of six tastes has to be maintained in good food,” he added.


Born in a Sikh family from Delhi, Gill made it to being among the top-rated chefs starting from very humble beginnings.


His family situation was such that his father, Tara Singh, a and former prisoner of war (PoW), had to agree to keep his children, including Gill, completely vegetarian so that they could study in a school run by Jain missionaries.


Starting as a at the ITC’s Maurya Sheraton (now Hotel Maurya) in New in the mid-1970s, Gill was part of the team that took the restaurants there to popular heights in the 1980s and 1990s.

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