News Article

  • A CHEF PAR EXCELLENCE
  • Date: 2015-11-19
  • A national tourism award winner, with distinction in conventional and modern cooking, Chef Davinder Kumar is one of the most reputed and recognised chefs the country has today. He has played a key role in bringing the chef’s profession and the artists at the rear its recognition and rewards. He was the brain behind the recently concluded ICF awards. In a candid conversation with HC, Chef Davinder Kumar, President, Indian Culinary Forum and Vice President F&B Production, Le Meridien, New Delhi talks about ICF’s future plans and the industry intricacies.

    By  |  Rachita Sehgal

     


    Kumar started his career in 1972 with the Oberoi Group of Hotels. After completing a three-year diploma course in kitchen management, he was sponsored by the Oberoi Group to go to the Lycee Technique de Hotelier in Paris, where he specialised in French cuisine. “In the 70s, culinary experts were not that popular due to the lack of awareness. For people, a chef was just a khansama who never gets a girl to marry.

     

     

    This perception has changed with time. Today, chefs are decision makers. They are not merely in kitchen. Instead, they are in the front as sales and marketing people,” says Chef Kumar. As the president, of ICF Chef Kumar holds his responsibility not only to the current industry people but for the future chefs to come, talking about the initiatives that are being taken up by ICF to encourage young chefs and student chefs, he shares, “Through the platform of ICF, we encourage youngsters to see what is happening in the world, to show them the latest trends, to show them the potential for growth. We try and show students the opportunity available in f&b industry.” According to him, social media has played an integral part towards promotion and has encouraged a lot of young students to take up chef profession.

     

    ICF has a dedicated award ‘student chef of the year’ to further hearten students and they feel very motivated when they see that they are being recognised by the leading chefs of the industry. In a bid to master the intricacies of different cuisines, Kumar has travelled across the globe. “This profession needs regular upgradation of skills. You need to come out-of-the-box and broaden the horizon. Keeping pace with the world is important,” he shares. Explaining ways of getting the basics right, Kumar says, “A good university definitely helps in the foundation of a strong base. Also, the organisation with which you start your career in this field matters a lot.”

     


    Even though the chef profession in the last few years has seen a major boom, the enrolment of women chef compared to male has been distinctively less. “Women chefs continue to find it difficult to break the glass ceiling in the domestic food industry,” says Chef Davinder Kumar. According to Kumar, despite a growth in the industry in the last twelve years and a spurt in women opting for a culinary career, their numbers continue to remain less than those of men. “To encourage girls, we have instituted a ‘Lady Chef of the Year’ award. In totality, considering the kitchen or starting up their own businesses, the number of lady chefs have increased but unfortunately not as compared to men,” says Chef Kumar.

     


    Further talking about the standardisation of Indian cuisine, he elaborates, “The paradigms of the Indian cuisine are very important. We people only look upon on five star hotels and form our opinions about the cuisine.” The f&b industry in India is rapidly growing and evolving day by day “We as leading examples need to set benchmarks for the future to come and tell them that quality plays importance over everything else,” he adds.

     


    A strong believer in culinary innovations, Chef DK is recipient of many honours and accolades. The 7500 kg cake that he and his team created during the 10th anniversary of Le Meridien, New Delhi has found a place in the Limca Book of Records. His presentation had won a medal at the International Cooking Festival held in Tokyo, Japan, in 1983. He was bestowed with Golden Hat Chef Award and also the Best Chef of India award by Ministry of Tourism, Government of India at National Tourism Awards. Known for his leadership qualities, Chef DK has the distinction of serving the Indian Culinary Forum (ICF), a fraternal body of chefs in the Northern region, for 12 years now. Even after spending long four decades in the hotel kitchen, his passion for the profession and love for the trade is still intact.

     


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