Youngsters in the garden city are looking at catering as a lucrative career option, says Caroline Diana.
Food business seems to be thriving a great deal in Bangalore. Every street and alley of the city is dotted with ‘dosa’ camps, ‘idli’ carts, and ‘chaat’ stalls. What’s even more interesting is that encouraged by cooking contests like the ‘Master Chef”, craving for cooking is also on the rise.
Many teenagers have turned their kitchens into craft rooms, where they experiment with everything from spicy ‘samosas’ to sweet and succulent ‘shakarpara’ and more. Some have even gone to the extent of joining a culinary course to hone their skills.
"This is good news," says Abhijit Saha, founder director and chef at Avant Garde Hospitality. "Cooking is an art, which certainly requires lot of passion. There is a dearth of trained chefs in the city. The more people start taking cooking serio sly, the more good food the city will have," he adds.
Hotel management schools too are encouraging students by conducting workshops and contests. Chef Shaun Kenworthy, director, Indismart Group, believes that Bangalore has the potential to nurture great chefs. The International Institute of Hotel Management recently conducted the Indian Schools Young Chef contest 2013 in collaboration with the ministry of tourism.
Over 500 enthusiastic Class XII youngsters participated. “Of this, we zeroed in on one competent chef. This winner will go to London for the grand finale. The number of participants was quite encouraging. To motivate cooking as a career, we plan to have more such contests in the future," says Kenworthy.
Prashant Kumar, 16, took to cooking after being inspired by the Hollywood animated blockbuster, Ratatouille. He says, “Anybody can cook was the message of the movie.” Prashant used to help his mother in the kitchen and that`s how he developed a love for cooking. “I treat the whole cooking process as an art-- right from chopping vegetables to garnishing the finished product," says Kumar, who aspires to have own a eating joint in the city some day. Creative executive Sahar Adil got into food business by sheer accident. “I started off by helping out a friend of mine for potluck. Gradually, I started taking orders for small birthday parties. Today, it`s become a lucrative business,”says Adil, who calls her eating joint ‘Say You Made It’.
Cooking certainly seems to be a lucrative option. A fresher earns about Rs 12 to Rs 15,000 per month. Once they gain exposure, they get opportunities to travel abroad and even earn up to $55,000 a year.
For those with dreams, making your mark in the food business is possible. “Once people get to love the taste of your food, they will come to you over and again,”says Saha, adding that there are people who volunteer to work part time too. “Many a time, people who are enthusiastic about cooking volunteer to work with us for a few months, and we are more than happy to give them an opportunity,” he signs off.
It`s a yummy business