For many, dishes such as pizzas, wraps and doughnuts are everyday affairs. But when the 70-odd girls from a shelter home in the Capital were asked to name a dish that they’ve always wanted to have but could never afford, these were the exact dishes that were the top favourites.
When these girls awoke on the slightly chilly Saturday morning of November 14, little did they know all the suprises awaiting them. In a Children’s Day event organised by the NGO Feeding India, four celebrity chefs were asked to prepare dishes for these kids themselves, and they happily agreed.
The Chefs included Chef Manjit Gill (Corporate Chef, ITC Group), Chef Ritu Dalmia (Chef and co-owner, Cafe Diva), Chef Manish Mehrotra (Corporate Chef, Indian Accent) and Chef Abhishek Basu (Executive Chef, The Park).
At the event, Chhoti Si Aasha, the unsupecting children — who were busy playing indoor games and participating in drawing competitions — were asked to open the doors to the verandah, and the sight that awaited them instantly put smiles on their lovely faces. The celebrity chefs stood in front with brightly coloured balloons, shouting “Happy Children’s Day”. A cake was cut and that was followed by a feast, prepared by the chefs themselves.
“We are responsible for the society’s food. We treat our guests with great food all the time. This event gave me a chance to feed those children who are deprived of meals at costlier restaurants,” said Chef Manjit Singh Gill, who is also president of the Indian Federation of Culinary Associations.
The menu? No au gratins or consommes or sorbets — terms that have now become common in every TV-watching Indian home, thanks to the Masterchef series — but pizzas, wraps and a variety of doughnuts, the very same dishes the kids had once wanted to eat, but didn’t think they would. In fact, some of the kids had never even seen doughnuts. The children’s delight on seeing the fare was infectious.
“I am overwhelmed to be a part of this event. I got a moment to forget those troublesome clients and do something which is actually good,” said Chef Ritu Dalmia, who made the pizzas as a treat for the kids.
After a hearty lunch, the chefs and kids joined their creative forces to make a special banner that currently hangs at the centre of the shelter home. The idea of Chhoti Si Aasha was to fulfill the wishes of some children who are otherwise faced with countless challenges and difficulties.
“The aim of the event was to show that if celebrity chefs can step out to serve food to these children on one day, then why can’t all of us help feed needy people regularly? The Magic Truck is the way to realize this dream, which will feed two meals to 1,000 kids everyday” said Ankit Kawatra, founder of Feeding India, which has fed 4,45,000 meals in 20+ cities over the past one year.