Amidst an array of Indian cuisines and food enthusiasts at the 14th edition of Culinary Art India, chef Jitender Singh had his concentration set on watermelon as he carved out the face of Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman as a tribute to his heroism. In the thoughtful gesture, Singh, who has served Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, carved out Abhinandan’s distinct and “iconic” mustache, on the watermelon, along with “Jai Hind” in Devanagari script and a couple of army men.
Being from an army background he had stated that he had lost his cousins during the Kashmir Attack and he is aware of what one goes through when ones dear ones are in danger. What Abhinandan did for our country is beyond courage and bravery. Through this fruit carving, he wanted to pay a tribute to our brave pilot, our Army men, and other defense forces. The culinary festival also saw 15 chefs demonstrating their culinary expertise and competing in Authentic Indian Regional Cuisine.
Be it Punjabi cuisine or Rajasthani or Odisha cuisine or South Indian cuisine — different flavors and food preparations from across the country were on display on the first day of the Culinary Art India at the Pragati Maidan here. Not only professional experienced chefs but students who are currently pursuing culinary courses also participated at the event too. Chef Vivek Saggar, General Secretary of Indian Culinary Forum, found the CAI competition as a great “platform for young aspiring chefs”. CAI is a great platform for these youngsters. I want people to treat these chefs with respect. There was a time when our profession was taken for granted but now the time is changing and I hope people consider these chefs more than just ‘bawarchis’.