He is happy that chefs are stepping out of their kitchens and are now running television shows and attaining celebrity status. India’s ex-top chef, however, feels that they now need to do their bit to feed the hungry, especially those affected by calamities.
Preparing food for Presidents and Prime Ministers does pose a challenge but it was a special opportunity when he was part of team of chefs to make food for Syrian refugees at Le Richmond Hotel in Geneva, Switzerland this year, says Machhindra Kasture who worked as executive chef at the Rashtrapati Bhawan for a record 8 years.
He was also involved in preparing a charity brunch to raise funds for ‘Beyond Food Foundation’ in London in 2014, he says.
In 2013, Kasture was in New York to offer his culinary specialities to homeless of Manhattan at Xavier Mission.
“We do have associations of chefs here in India. They can and should take initiatives”, Kasture says.
“People, especially children these days are not keen to eat traditional food and prefer junk food. Programmes in schools in informing children and mothers about the necessity of nutrition by a chef can make a lot of difference,” he says.
He believes that the cookery shows are becoming hugely popular and have encouraged people to take this profession.
“Programmes like ‘Master Chef’ and ones by Indian chefs have become hugely popular and not only changed the image of a chef but also encouraged many to take up the profession,” he says.
Kasture, suggests that the chef bodies can step in and help the authorities to cook healthy food for the victims of calamities like the Chennai floods.
“Calamities like the recent one in Chennai floods pose a challenge to authorities to feed people. The chefs bodies can step in and suggest food that is healthy and that can be served in such conditions,” Kasture says.
Kasture, who is working with the India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), however, is not happy with the new trend that is setting in of ‘fusion food’.