Highlights from the 16th Annual Chef Awards and the 7th Chef Summit

The 16th Annual Chef Awards and the 7th Chef Summit, organised and hosted by the Indian Culinary Forum (ICF), was celebrated as part of International Chefs Day on October 21 2019 at Le Meridien New Delhi. The event was organised under the leadership of Anil Bhandari, Chairman Organising Committee ICF, assisted by Chef Davinder Kumar, President ICF, and its Managing Committee.

Amitabh Kant, Chief Executive Officer of NITI Aayog, was the Chief Guest at the occasion of the Annual Chef Awards. Celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor, Padma Shri, also graced the occasion, which was attended by envoys of five countries, a representative of the British Standards Institution, eminent members of the industry and over 400 guests.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Amitabh Kant said he was delighted to be with some of the greatest, finest and most creative chefs of India on International Chefs Day. “Chefs represent the soft power of India. India’s culinary expertise is unique, thanks these masters.”

He complimented Indian chefs as being one of the best in the world. “There is a lot of stress on health food, but if we look at traditional Indian cuisine then there is nothing healthier than it. Indian chefs are the best Brand Ambassadors of the country and will play a pivotal role in achieving Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of becoming a 5 trillion economy by 2024.”

Mr. Anil Bhandari, Chairman, Organising Committee of ICF, said the Annual Chef Awards gave an opportunity to chefs to exhibit their culinary skills besides an exchange of knowledge.  “We want Indian culinary art to gain more international recognition and acclaim.The Chef Awards, he expected,would inspire and encourage chefs.

Mr. Bhandari said the growth of the F&B industry is creating a demand for many more chefs. Chefs are a very valuable commodity today. Chefs such as Vikas Khanna,Vineet Bhatia, Atul Kochhar and Gaggan Anand who have popularised Indian cuisine abroad were valued between US$ 1 to 5 million in 2017. Chef Sanjeev Kapoor’s company has been valued two years ago at Rs 1,000 crore.

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor said the chefs have a great future as the food industry was on a growth curve and there were a lot of opportunities for youngsters. “If you all work hard, responsibly, are innovative and creative you all can win the Padma award,” he added. 

Earlier that morning, as part of the celebrations, ICF organised the 7th Chef Summit. The theme of this year’s Summit was ‘Future of Banqueting – F&B, Economics and Sustainability.’

Tarun Thakral, Executive Director Le Meridien New Delhi, was the Chief Guest. He advised the student-chefs that technological advancement in the form of Artificial Intelligence would lead to reduction of manual work globally.

One of the major points made at the Summit was that food wastage needed to be avoided at all costs by taking steps like serving smaller portions and promoting sustainability. Improving working in kitchens with custom-built equipment would lead to better economics, usage and efficiency. It was possible to record food wastage by installation of software. 

Chef Davinder Kumar said the Chef Awards was a motivational factor for upcoming chefs. Thanking industry stalwarts, jury members, associates, sponsors and participants for their support, he said ICF was striving for the betterment of the culinary profession.

The following are the winners of the 16th Annual Chef Awards:

  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Chef Sushil Chugh, GM & Executive Chef, Hotel Country Inns & Suites by Radisson
  • Golden Hat: Chef Machindra Umakant Kasture, The Ashok Hotel
  • Silver Hat: Chef Sanjay Agrawal & Chef Vivek Saggar
  • Pastry Chef of the Year: Chef Ranojit Kundu
  • Lady Chef of the Year: Chef Rekha Sharma
  • Food writer Award: Mr. Kalyan Karmakar
  • Master Chef of the Year: Chef Raj Kumar Gupta, Hotel Le Meridien, New Delhi
  • Master Chef Kebabs: Chef Ravindra, Country Inns & Suites by Radisson
  • Master Chef International Confectionery Award: Chef MPK Reddy, Leela Ambience
  • Master Chef Indian Sweets Award: Chef Sukanta Pal, Hotel Lemon Tree
  • Master Chef South/East/West Indian Cuisine: Chef Govind Singh Deopa, Leela Ambience
  • Master Chef International Cuisine Award: Chef Jatin Bhatia, Leela Palace
  • Master Chef North Indian Cuisine Award: Chef Dhum Singh, Hotel Lemon Tree
  • Master Chef Oriental Cuisine Award: Chef Swapnil Mendiratta, Leela Ambience
  • Master Chef Baker Award: Chef Deepak James, Hotel Suryaa
  • Student Chef of the Year (Female): Chef AshiNibekar, DIHM
  • Student Chef of the Year (Male): Chef Kartik Agrawal, BCIHMCT
  • Special Jury Awards: Excellence in Culinary Art: Chef Vikas Khanna — For outstanding contribution in promoting Indian Cuisine Globally
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