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Think of Padma awards for cooking too: Culture Ministry tells Home

"We studied the proposal and sent a recommendation to the MHA,” said Mahesh Sharma.

Written by Ashutosh Bhardwaj | New Delhi |
Updated: November 19, 2015 7:30:19 am
mahesh sharma, padma shri award, cooks in india, indian chefs, indian chef awards, indian cooking awards, padma shri for chefs, padma shri for cooking, mha, india news Tarla Dalal (left) was the only person from the field to have received a Padma award. Sanjeev Kapoor was part of the group of chefs and hoteliers that prepared the proposal.

Cooks and chefs could soon receive Padma awards, with the Ministry of Culture sending a recommendation to the Home Ministry in this regard.

“The Ministry of Culture recently received a proposal to include the art of cooking in the list of Padma awards. Cooking is an art. If there can be Padma awards in other fields of art like music, tabla, why not cooking? We studied the proposal and sent a recommendation to the MHA,” MoS for Culture and Tourism Mahesh Sharma told The Indian Express.

Ministry sources said the idea was floated by Sharma during a book launch he attended in Delhi a few months ago. Talking to some prominent chefs who attended the event, including celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor, Sharma apparently said Indian food and spices are popular across the world, and that the art of cooking should be included in the Padma awards since that would open up business opportunities in the field.

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Subsequently, a group of chefs and hoteliers, including Kapoor and Anil Bhandari, the chairperson of the organising committee of Chef Awards, sent Sharma a detailed proposal.

mahesh sharma, padma shri award, cooks in india, indian chefs, indian chef awards, indian cooking awards, padma shri for chefs, padma shri for cooking, mha, india news Tourism and Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma

“Cooking has come a long way — from being looked down upon to being cherished as an art. This is perhaps the only art form that is consumed by all senses. Can a painting be consumed by all senses? Imagine eating a papad or wafers without enjoying the (crackling) sound,” Kapoor said.

Tarla Dalal is the only person from the field to have received a Padma award. “She got it the ‘others’ category. Cooking cannot be any other category. It is a separate category,” said Kapoor.

Given by the Home Ministry, the Padma awards — the topmost civilian awards in the country — “seek to recognise work of any distinction and are given for distinguished and exceptional achievements/service in all fields of activities/disciplines, such as Art, Literature and Education, Sports, Medicine, Social Work, Science and Engineering, Public Affairs, Civil Service, Trade and Industry, etc”.

The award scheme mandates that “there ought to be an element of public service in the achievements of the person to be selected”.

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