Celebrity chefs from across the world get together for a convention in Delhi
When master chefs gather for a discussion,you can expect a bubbling cauldron of stories,insider tips and the occasional gossip,alongside the official menu perspectives on the industry. The CSSG Gastronomic Summit 2012,held in Delhi from September 15 to 17,served up all this with a side-order of a black-tie,nine-course charity dinner.
Organised by the UK-based NGO,Creative Services Support Group,the event had a delegate list comprising British celebrity chef Anjum Anand; Frances Atkins of the Michelin-starred Yorke Arms in Yorkshire; British-origin chef Ian Curley,whose chain,The European,is an Australian landmark; Marcello Tully from the Michelin-starred Kinloch Lodge on the Island of Skye; Michelin-starred Upcoming Chef Laurie Gear of the Artichoke in Buckinghamshire; and Vineet Bhatia,the chef behind Michelin-starred restaurants such as Rasoi in London and Geneva,and Zaika (which he left in 2004). The event was held at the Grand Ballroom of Leela Palace,Chanakyapuri.
Bhatia recalled how he had once prepared tandoori seafood with raw mango chutney at a Mumbai restaurant,and was strongly reprimanded for venturing beyond the kebab-and-curry mainstay of Indian cuisine. Coincidentally,the French chef at the hotel had served green mango sauce with one of his Continental dishes and was praised for innovation. I quit and left the country, he said during his session titled Global Influences in Cuisine on the first day. The other discussions during the day revolved around topics such as The Fashion of Food and Food Love Charity. Each session was moderated by a starred chef.
Curley,talking on food and charity,shared his recent experience of rehabilitating former convicts by training them to cook professionally as part of a food show on Australian television called Conviction Kitchen. Anand insisted that the public would be less familiar with world cuisine if it werent for the media,while Atkins held forth on Emancipation in the Kitchen. A panel discussion ended the first day,with chefs agreeing that their role now includes management and business promotion besides rustling up a mind-blowing repast. On the topic Are chefs craftsmen or artistes,however,they just couldnt see eye to eye.
Sunday was reserved for showing off their skills in the kitchen,at an exclusive dinner held at Oberoi Gurgaon. At a cover charge of Rs 10,000 per head,the dinner was also a fundraiser for charities supported by CSSG. We support initiatives in 13 creative sectors such as the arts,literature,film,music and gastronomy. We plan to have a convention each year,with the focus being on one of these areas. We thought the best way to start this series would be a summit on food. Next years summit will be on the arts,said Anand Kapoor,President,CSSG.
The final course,on Monday,was a visit by five of the chefs to Vasant Valley school in Vasant Kunj. As the heavyweights of the kitchen spoke and created mouthwatering delicacies,they hoped that a next-generation culinary star was out there among the students.