New Delhi: Chefs are no less than artists or scientists but are still not honoured by the government. Chefs must be recognised for their creativity, says an expert.
The Indian food and beverages services market, both organised and unorganised, stood at Rs.247, 680 crore in 2013, but nothing is being done to recognise the efforts of chefs who are part of the growing hospitality industry.
Anil Bhandari, chairperson, organising committee of Chef Awards, which honours chefs for their contribution to the hospitality industry every year, says nobody has taken up the "cause of chefs", therefore, "the government has yet to give recognition to chefs for their creativity and innovative work."
"The government has not realised the role of chefs in projecting Indian cuisine internationally... The Padma Shri awards' nominations list does not include the category for chefs even as artists, scientists, etc. are honoured every year," Bhandari said.
"After all, the chef is like an artist when he makes his dish appealing, colourful and tasty. He is like a scientist as he has to proceed scientifically to prepare a nutritious meal, mix various ingredients in the right proportion to obtain the right flavours,” he added.
A chef's job is “laborious” with long working hours and late evening shifts.
“His multi-faceted role includes being an artist, a scientist, a financial analyst and a human resource development manager. There are women chefs too, however, there aren't many of them as family responsibilities act as a constraint in continuing in the profession,” he said.
But not all of them leave their passion for cooking.
“A popular avenue is the system of home delivery by women chefs who specialise in certain cuisines or items and prefer to work from home. Some women, in view of their domestic responsibilities, take to writing recipe books,” he said.
He is happy with cookery shows on TV as he feels any form of publicity motivates chefs.
“Chefs display their cooking skills through cookery shows on TV. In addition to the glamour, for the viewer there is education-cum-entertainment, a greater awareness about cuisines of other countries, a display of different cooking techniques and brand exposure,” said Bhandari.
“Any form of publicity, whether through the TV or films, motivates the chef community and encourages aspiring chefs,” he added.