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Posted at: Sep 15, 2018, 12:43 AM; last updated: Sep 15, 2018, 12:43 AM (IST)

Too many cooks add to the flavour

As 700 chefs gather in the city for a conclave, they are all ready to chalk out the food map for future

Mona

As the oil sizzles on the griddle and a little water is splashed... some hearts are set on fire at the very place where Chef TK Razdan sat with the other two — Chef Sanjiv Verma and Chef Navdeep Sharma — and conceived the idea of an association!

The Chef’s Association of Five Rivers (CAFR) brings together as many as 700 chefs for its third conclave and awards in Chandigarh. So what do chefs talk about when they gather? Obviously, food! As some delectable fare makes it to the table, the young and old, apprentices and experts, create a vibrant atmosphere at Pashtun-35.

For the record

Based out of Jalandhar, Chef Varinder Singh Rana, holds five Limca World Records — largest kathi roll, longest sandwich, longest aloo parantha, 213 types of halwa in three hours and 567 kinds of raita in two hours! What makes him go for such large portions... err records? “To show one’s skill and attract attention.” Going back to the roots is one trend that he along with the world is passionately following. “The food is traditional, the presentation new. The old-good chana bhatura has fused with Lebanese and Punjabi hummus gaining ground,” he smiles.

Back to the roots

Flying from Chennai to Chandigarh is Chef Saby. “Kitchen is a place to stand in,” admits the recipient of President of India’s award for best chef and the president of Young Chefs’ Forum of Indian Federation of Culinary Associations, who has his restaurants in most major metros. Meeting, greeting professionals in his field ranks high on his list and he is happy about many women donning the chef’s hat, “I am glad that women are able to join and continue in big kitchens.”

As for latest trends, Saby says, “The super-foods trending today have always been part of Indian culture. Millet is the vrat rice; aloe, ragi and chia have been there all along. We just need to embrace our Indian roots with pride.”

Punjabi flavour

Curry Singh Kitchen is Reetika Gill’s outlet in Gurgaon, which she runs with much humility and pride. “I serve Punjabi food that I have grown up eating all along.” At a given time, she dishes out only nine to 10 items — all traditional fare.

Big challenge

Narendra Singh Jaravta is the chef behind Domino’s Choco Lava Cake. Adapting to the digital onslaught in every field, he say, “Any job is challenging, so is a professional kitchen, but I love the sight, smell and taste of it all. Also, smiles on our patrons’ faces are very satisfying.”

Progressive cuisine

Back to roots is Harangad Singh’s mantra. And he does it with a flourish. In his fancy - sounding restaurants — Pra Pra Prank and Prankster — it is all about progressive, nostalgic, cuisine. Let us explain. If growing up in Chandigarh, chole with fresh buns from Polka, smeared in butter, is how he remembers his best meals, he dishes out Savoury Donuts – chole kulcha donut with gajar achar mousse! His dahi-bhalla ice-cream served on rumali roti reminds one of the chilled bhalla papri chaat! “The idea is to revive the flavours from the past and present them in new avatar.”

“Connecting all of these innovative professionals is the aim of CAFR,” affirms Sanjiv Verma. Opines TK Razdan, “The food industry is gearing up for conscious-eaters and these youngster chefs are doling out their best!”

mona@tribunemail.com

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