Smart makeover on the cards for House canteen from Nov 15
ITDC has already zeroed in on a chef who has worked with the President of India for five years and is internationally recognized to oversee the culinary operations of the canteen. Officials did not disclose the chef’s identity.Updated: Oct 25, 2020, 23:52 IST
India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), which will start running the Parliament canteen on November 15, plans to hire a celebrity chef as it seeks to improve the quality and expand the varieties of food on offer for MPs, officials familiar with the plan said.
ITDC has already zeroed in on a chef who has worked with the President of India for five years and is internationally recognized to oversee the culinary operations of the canteen. Officials did not disclose the chef’s identity. The Lok Sabha secretariat has they approve the plans drawn up by the state-run hotel chain, including the price list.
“There will be a gradual change in the service,” said an official on condition of anonymity. “We will start operations with around 125, 150 people.”
Initially, because of the Covid-19 outbreak, ITDC will limit itself to serving tea, coffee, kadha (a herbal concoction) and packaged snacks such as salted savories and biscuits. Full operations are likely to start only around the next budget session. An increase of merely Rs. 5 is also expected in the prices, officials added.
“It is a major banqueting operation,” said the official mentioned above. “The sweeping changes will be in the service done for sit-down meeting, such as that of the Prime Minister with the council of ministers, joint parliamentary committee meetings, conferences and hosting of foreign delegations.”
At present, the corporation is looking to upgrade the cutlery and the crockery, and improve the kitchens to match five-star hotel standards, said a second official. “There will be three primary canteens, Parliament, Parliament annexe and the library,” this official said.
Parliament and ITDC have already signed a memorandum of understanding relating to the improvement in food quality and are expected to finalize an agreement soon. When full operations resume, the workforce is expected to be around 250-strong; the workers will be hired over a period of time.
“The basic aspects will likely stay the same,” said the first official. “We have to wait and see what all the secretariat approves. But we would like to offer them a wide variety of teas, coffees, cappuccinos, decafs.”
The house last week ended its more than 50-year-old association with Northern Railways that had been overseeing catering n the Parliament House complex since 1968. The staff deployed by Northern Railways has been asked to report back to their department by November 15.