Handling meat and eggs is considered a given at culinary institutes but what about aspiring chefs who would not want to even touch non-vegetarian items because of their religious or ethical beliefs?
The Indian Heritage Hotel Association (IHHA) and some other groups representing hotels have approached the Union tourism ministry urging it to run vegetarian-only degree programmes in some hotel management institutes.
Headed by Gaj Singh II of the erstwhile royal family of Marwar, the IHHA has 140 hotels, including Jaipur’s Diggi Palace and the Neemrana Fort Palace, as its members.
In a communication to the tourism ministry, the association pointed out that there was not a single degree course that gave the option of learning only vegetarian food.
As a result, a substantial number of vegetarians were not opting for culinary courses despite inclination, the letter added.
An online petition and a Facebook page dedicated to the cause are also being run by a group of people called ‘degree for vegetarians in hotel management course’.
While the online petition has drawn around 3,500 signatures, the Facebook page too has received almost an equal number of likes.
Tourism minister Mahesh Sharma told Hindustan Times that the ministry had received several representations and was examining the issue presented before them.
The letter by IHHA general secretary Randhir Vikram Singh, dated March 10, said the government could consider starting the option of learning only vegetarian food in two culinary institutes proposed for Delhi and Varanasi.
“Vegetarians should also be given an opportunity to enter the hospitality industry,” Singh said.
The Hotel Association of India had also written a letter to the ministry in March asserting that vegan diet was increasingly becoming the preferred diet among health-conscious tourists.
“An increasing number of hotels are now offering vegetarian food on account of their location in temple towns. A course in food production on vegan cooking may also be considered for meeting the specialised needs of this segment,” read the letter by the hotel association.
The online signature campaign was started by chartered accountant CR Luniya based in Pune, on portal Change.org.
The petition argues that just like there are specialised courses in degree colleges for people wanting to master a particular subject, hotel management courses too should be offered with vegetarian specialisation.