The famous line that a way to an individual’s heart is through his stomach is true, if we go by the opinion of young culinary students. In an interaction with them, HT picked their brains on their love for the kitchen and what inspired them to step into the niche world of gastronomical delights.
PUNJAB COLLEGE OF TECHNICAL EDUCATION, LUDHIANA
At PCTE, it was the boys who were most enthusiastic about sharing their thoughts about their journey so far.
“My mother’s creative bent of mind in preparing dishes from across the world highly inspired me. Since my school days, I have endlessly questioned her about the techniques and ideas she adopts in the kitchen. Thanks to her motivation, I soon started helping her in the kitchen where I learnt a lot. Often she would tell me that hotel management would be just right for me and I happily obliged by coming here to study culinary,” says Badal Thakur.
Ogidi Stanley, a student from Nigeria who has been in India for the last one year and has recently started experimenting with Indian cuisine, has been enthusiastic about food since the age of 12.
“In India, it is women who are more associated with the kitchen but in our country and the west, men play an equal role. Under my parents’ guidance, I started learning all kinds of African dishes and now I feel proud for having learnt Indian specialities such as Hyderabadi biryani, Punjab’s famous sarson da saag and delicious gulab jamuns and jalebis,” says Stanley, who is all set to impart lessons on Indian cuisine to his parents back home.
Prabhjeet Singh developed an interest in the kitchen while working in the front office department of a hotel. “Before joining here, I worked at the front desk of a hotel but whenever I saw various dishes being prepared in the kitchen, my heart would melt. During tasting panels, I couldn’t hold myself back from asking for recipes from the chefs. Seeing my voracious appetite (pun intended) for food, every chef suggested I train as a chef,” says Singh.
Wrapping up our discussion, Amanjot Kaur and Vanika Ahuja shared qualities that a good chef must aspire to. Creativity, patience, and flexibility, open to feedback and enthusiasm for hospitality, were some core virtues pointed out by them.
LOVELY PROFESSIONAL UNIVERSITY, JALANDHAR
At LPU we spoke to oven lovers. Most want to have their own place after finishing their training. Harsh Apurva shares his love for cakes by saying, “I can vividly remember the bakery visits with my father whom I would pressurise to buy me all kinds of cakes and other bakery goods, in one go. With time, my bond with the bakery strengthened so much so that my parents suggested that I make a career in baking. And why not? It’s a booming industry.”
For Deepak Chhetri, his Australia-based uncle inspired him. “Knowing that I have a sweet tooth, my uncle often told me that I can better handle and excel in the bakery business. He was right as with passage of time, I discovered the same during my internships with hotel bakeries. The best part is putting one’s creativity in each product,” says Chhetri, who is also of the opinion that if one is creative, variety in baking can be taken to any height.
While Harminder Singh says, “In metros or big cities, bakeries have undergone a huge change, especially by introducing European specialities such as croissants, Danish pastries, exotic bread rolls, international desserts and much more, whereas in small towns, bakeries have hardly seen any change. But, I am up for the challenge to open my own conceptualised bakeries even in small towns.”
Sumit Nandal and Anil Kumar pointed out that getting up early in the wee hours is a must for a baker. “Bakeries across the world usually open in the middle of the night to ensure that all goods are ready early in the morning. In other words, there is no room for laziness,” they say.
Another overseas student, Farai Mberi from Zambia, says it is exciting to discover Indian flavours. “Bakery is an international world but I have been blessed to learn assorted Indian breads, including Amritsari kulcha and dishes such as malai kofta followed by sweets such as motichoor ladoos highly boost me,” says Mberi.
GUJRANWALA GURU NANAK INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT AND TECHNOLOGY, LUDHIANA
Here, we asked students how they were connected with world cuisine and the importance of exploring it. Watching international cookery shows on television, exploring exclusive websites and magazines dedicated to food and social networking are the main sources that open their gateway to the world.
“If we are thorough with various cuisines, we can even win international hearts and this can further take us places. I follow many renowned chefs on the social network, says Simerjit Kaur, while Arshdeep Singh and Kashish Mehta add, “We never miss any food show, especially when an international dish is shown.”
Avninder Singh who wants to add his own flavour in every dish of the world, says, “Exploring international cuisine makes our study and work fascinating and knowledgeable. It prepares us to meet expectations of our guests from any part of the world,” while his classmate Manmeet Singh adds, “Like chefs, denizens in general should also try foreign cuisine when abroad for travel or business. Very few Indians want to try local delicacies. They keep looking for Indian restaurants even when they venture out and about. If foreign tourists and expats can happily try our food, then why can’t we?”
A DREAM TO MAKE IT BIG
Everyone has big dreams that include opening their own outlets to working with leading luxury hotel groups, cruise ships, airport kitchens to sky chefs in five star airlines. But to taste success through hard work remains their ultimate aim.
“Through our careers as chefs, we want to prove to the world that creativity and perfection know no bounds,” they say.