The Melting Pot

With globally renowned chefs,multiple cooking sessions and a sustainable clothing line for chefs; the International Chef Meet is a complete gourmet experience.

Written by Jagmeeta Thind Joy | Published: December 7, 2013 1:59 am

Too many cooks are believed to spoil the broth. But at the ongoing International Chef Meet in the city,world class chefs are successfully brain storming on how to focus on the culinary crafts of the region. The three-day meet packs in a exciting line up of activities including a visit by Gissur Gudmundsson,president of the prestigious World Association of Chef’s Societies (WACS) which has 90 member countries. The meet is headed by Chef Manjit Singh Gill,President of the Indian Federation of Culinary Associations (IFCA) who is also the corporate chef,ITC Hotels. Day Two was peppered with culinary sessions with the likes of senior executive chef Manisha Bhasin,Chef Harpal Singh Sokhi (also a popular TV host who obliged fans with autographs),Masterchef India finalist Kandla Nijhowne and Chef Thomas A Gugler,an executive Masterchef and WACS Continental Director for Africa and Middle East. We bring you some of the highlights: One Man,Many Hats: Thomas A Gugler was like the Pied Piper of the meet as crowds (professional chefs included) followed him through the day. Much had to do with Gugler’s look for the day. The German chef who speaks nine languages,was wearing a vibrant turban for the day. Adding the element of bling were his shining array of medals (over fifty) dotting his chef’s coat. “I have more at home and if I had to sport them all,it would take a crane to lift me,” said Gugler. The medals represent his achievements and associations in the hospitality industry in the last three decades. Interestingly,it’s his ease with different cultures that has taken the Masterchef across continents. Having lived in over 13 countries,he now resides in Jeddah where he heads the Saudi Arabian Airlines Catering division,which caters to flights of heads of states coming to the Saudi Kingdom. He’s also the food & beverage director of Al Mashfa a luxurious,state-of-the-art 7-star hospital. “Cooking is both a science and art,the trick is to strike the right balance,” said Gugler,who in his capacity of a certified judge of WACS,lives out of a suitcase,training teams across the world and judging culinary events. “A winning meal is one where a chef can take local ingredients,twist the recipe and present it in a Western way,” said added.

The Chef’s Apron: Did you know that most chefs stand in the kitchen for more than seven hours at a stretch? Being in front of their cooktops,they are exposed to grease and intense heat. The right uniform and footwear can make all the difference and that’s where KatChef steps in. Specialising in “culinary apparel”,the collections include use of special fabrics that are designed to maximize comfort,safety and style in the kitchen. “As a new innovation,we also have an eco-friendly range made from all organic cotton and recycled poly fabrics,” informed Venkat Chandrasekhar,the brand director who is exhibiting the latest collection at the Chef Meet. “White is now passé and as increasing number of chefs have opted for vibrant colours and improved styling,” shares Chandrasekhar. The denim chef coat and the one in tangerine with blue piping clearly gets our vote as do the comfortable,slip-resistant,breathable chef-shoes.

Viva Italia: The first thing you notice at the Chef Meet pavilion is the showcase of culinary arts. We saw plated appetisers,desserts and cake decorations. In this mix,it’s a small corner that draws attention for its collection of Italian specials. Showcasing that there’s more to Italy than just olive oil is Susy Wiesenfahrt with a spread of Italian Confetti and balsamic vinegar. “Confetti is made from water,sugar and avola almonds that are slowly spun in copper pots to create a very special treat. It’s a traditional Italian sweet,considered as a good omen if you distribute them in odd numbers,” she said,offering us a bite of the marble-sized sweets in colours such as red,white and green. “These days,confetti comes in more than 50 different flavours,” said Wiesenfahrt. Her basket of goodies also includes matured balsamic vinegar,some more than 30-years-old. “In my hotel vault I have one dating back 100 years,” she added.

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