Thursday, August 20, 2009

My first day in a Culinary School by Prashant Joseph

We always say time changes things, but we actually change them ourselves. One of these changes that occurred in my life was joining the Culinary Academy of India. I joined college on July 23, 2007. As our batch reached college, we were asked to sit in one of the classrooms on the 6th floor of the building. There was silence in the room as all of us were not familiar with each other and did not know what to expect from the college. There was mixed thoughts and emotions going through everybody's minds. Some were sad about leaving home and others because summer vacations had got over. For me everything felt just right. I had been looking out for a good culinary school in India and got to know about the college just a few days before the opening.
As the day progressed, we were welcomed by our Principal, Chef. Sudhakar N. Rao who within minutes made us feel that we were in the right place and also gave us an insight of what to expect from the college and the hotel industry. His ability to put things across to people and get the right things out of people was commendable. He also shared his experience on the cruise and in the hotel industry which wowed all of us and got us thinking of what we should work to achieve in the years to come. We were then introduced to all faculty and board members of the college and had some time to interact with each other. Within a matter of minutes, I felt surrounded and engulfed by a group of extremely friendly people. All of us actually just wanted to know if there was anybody from the place we come from or someone we could 'gel' with.
Most of us including me had already seen the fully equipped college campus previously while undergoing counseling and had been briefed about the various kitchens and labs where we would be training. I felt a sense of ease after the first day and eagerly waited for the days to follow. Two years down I can say that I've never looked back and thought that maybe I should have done something else. George Bernard Shaw said “Some men see things as they are and say, "Why?" I dream of things that never were and say, "Why not?". More than everything else, what the college has taught me over the past few years is to change to my "why's" to "why not".... and all other things just fell into place.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mentoring Young Budding Chefs by Chef Khaja Ram Bhaduri

After finishing high school, youngster stands at the threshold of CAI to materialize their aspiration of becoming chefs. Their ideas are loosely woven thought… delicate desire… faint citadels of hopes…
Here starts the grooming. Its through genuine interest, kindness, appreciation, flexibility and openness the mentor goals are given shape. For some becoming, a chef is a natural born talent while others it takes a bit more of work.
The mentor conjures between a teacher, guide and counselor to realize the dreams of young culinarians. Creating a wonderful gourmet delicacy from basic ingredient is a magical understanding for these budding chefs in the midst of experienced stalwarts.
The desire to be a great chef nurtured with love for food and ingredients is meticulously groomed by the mentors who install in them a positive frame of mind to excel in the most pressing scenario.
Finally it completes a full circle when the mentor through his profound experience enrich the learners to tread towards a realistic goal as the roads to success in this field is especially paved with hard work but the rewards are many.
It is the mentor who makes the learners realize that it is with great passion and respect for food and years of investing in zealous work and training that a GORDON RAMSAY OR EDWARD NOTTER is born.

Students learning 3-dimensional centre-piece making

Teaching intricacies of Dessert Plating

Mentor commitment

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Cruise Galley Training by Chef Ankit Mathur

Cruise Galley Training
Though cruising culture in Europe and the America has stoked the growth of the industry tremendously, India still seems to be struggling with teething problems in meeting the expectation of the companies hiring people. Nevertheless, in terms of staffing requirements many leading cruise line companies have identified India as a Destination of Trained Personnel. But the biggest confront for these companies was to hire the staff which is well trained in food preparation and presentation and good food handling practice.
CULINARY ACADMEY OF INDIA, the only institute in Asia, was satisfying this urge, which is official training Centre for P&O Cruise UK, Princess Cruise USA & Costa Cruises ITALY by formulating “Pre-Embarkation Training Programme” for Prospective Crewmembers aspiring to be chefs on aboard luxury cruise ship.
This Pre-Embarkation training refers to the acquisition of knowledge, skills and competencies as a result of the teaching of vocational or practical skills through video presentation, practical demos, lectures and training in simulated kitchen.
Being chef myself, and have visited cruise vessel of P&O Cruises and Costa Cruises I have examined the working conditions as well as lifestyle of the crew on board. When I confer about this experience with the student who have not seen cruise ship before, it is just beyond their imagination. I have always believed that giving a clear perception to students about the work and place helps to groom them for any of the circumstances in future because “An education isn't how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It's being able to differentiate between what you know and what you don't.”
In the Pre-Embarkation training module the candidate are being imparted knowledge of company profile and its existence in the international market. A lot of emphasis is given on following the guidelines of food hygiene norms of company. The duration of this course is between 3-4months depending upon the position they are hired. Practical sessions are of utmost important as they are asking to work on the corporate menus provided by the company. So that they can understand, the importance of food cost and hence minimizing the food, wastage and accurately anticipating the amount of perishable supplies needed. The good infrastructure and cruise simulated kitchen in the academy acts as motivational factor for the Trainers like me to deliver the best sessions to my students.
Discipline in the Hospitality industry is the only Bridge between the goals and accomplishment, as they are going to work in multicultural environment so right from the day one the discipline kick starts. Candidates who do not adhere to the code of conduct are counseled, warned of consequences of similar misconduct onboard. Apart from the culinary session, I also carve up on Moral values so that they do not give up and remain optimistic when things become tough. Till now I have trained 5 Groups of students for Costa Cruise line ITALY, who are fully satisfied with the performance of the students once they embark the ship. The candidates working on board have always given a Feedback stating the academy as “A Quality Training Centre for Cruiseliners” because of the sophisticated infrastructure and well experienced knowledgeable Chef Instructors.

Multiple / Identical plating

Appetizer plating

Assembling Main Course for Line

Sample plate presentation

Pick-up on the line

Plate construction

Monday, June 29, 2009

"King of the Fruits" - Mango by Chef Jagadishwar Prasad, Faculty, CAI

"King of the Fruits" - Mango
Mango is one fruit which is originally from Indo-Burma region. Mango belongs to the Genus Mangifera family Anacardiaceae. Anacardiaceous species yield other valuable products like wood, gum, resins, wax, varnishes and tanning materials. Mango fruit is a fleshy compressed drupe. Mangoes vary in size colour shape, fibre texture, taste and flavour. Mango is otherwise called the “King of the Fruits”. Mango is one such fruit which has edible value equally in the unripe and ripe form. As far as the nutritive value is concerned mangoes contain high vitamins A and C, minerals and anti-oxidants and play a very vital role in soothing the stomach as it has certain enzymes which help in digestion. Due to the presence of these enzymes mangoes can be used as tenderizers also and dishes made with mangoes (in any form) do not need any additional tenderizers. As we all know that mangoes are high in fibre, low in calories, rich in vitamins A & C mangoes can be a stable daily diet. Here is a sincere attempt to use mangoes in various forms, cuisines, courses, even as pickles and condiments.

Mango Salad

Thai Mango & Chicken Salad

Mango Shashlik

Mango Salsa

Mango Sundle

Mango Lassi

Mango Gazpacho Soup

Fish Curry & Raw Mango Rice

Tomato & Mango Rice

Mango Phirnee

Mango Burfi

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Indian food presentation @ CAI, By Chef Shivarama Krishnan, Culinary Academy of India

Indian food presentation @ CAI
Whether someone agrees or disagrees “Indian food” has always been a bowl or platter food which is right from the cooking vessel into the service dish put straight on to the table of the guest. Least attention has been given to the visual aspect and presentation just because some great Indian chef said presentation is not an Indian concept. Interiors of the restaurants, hence changed from traditional to contemporary, furniture is become more casual and light unlike the heavy teak wood which used to be the order of the day. But the food remained where it was and no sincere effort has gone to bring in some visual touch as we all know Indian food tastes excellent. Being from Culinary Academy of India and having trained 7 batches in Indian regional cuisine I always had the idea of lighter, simpler but will presented pre plated Indian food can also be served as any other European foods. As a special occasion I have demonstrated 10 plates to my students in the workshop named “Plating Trends”. Hope this small effort of mine will ignite many more to think on the lines of Indian food plate presentation.

Reshmi Murgh served with a Creole o Pudina Pulao and a back drop of Vadiyam (Fryum)

Shammi Kebab rolled in Roomali Roti spread with Mint Chutney

Bengal Fish Curry served with White Rice and Stuffed Karela

Traditional Kashmiri Nalli Ka Ghost with paratha & Mooli ka soola

Stuffed fish curry served with tiranga pulao and katti saalan

Authentic Khandvi served with Marathi Kadhi

Roulade of Paneer stuffed with palak and dusted with deseeded chilli flakes with makhni gravy & saffron rice

Friday, May 22, 2009

Chef Lyjo James, Student Edible Aspic Work @ CAI

Culinary Artistry or food decorations are used to enhance the overall visual impact of the foods or the places where the food is being served. This emerged as a full-fledged operations of the kitchen brigade specially the Garde-Manger department of a A-grade food establishment .
At Culinary Academy of India I have learned the fine art of making ASPIC-LOGOS with pure melted gelatin and food colours. After picking up the basic aspic logo making techniques from Chef Sudhakar N Rao I started experimenting and brought in my own ideas and today , I started making aspic displays with new and highly acceptable techniques keeping in mind the rules of food decorations and presentations. Apart from what I learned in CAI,( )
I started using techniques such as the “inlay”, ”ensemble” and “embedding” and gave my aspic logos and works a three dimensional outlook. Today I can say that aspic is one of the best and most difficult mediums which can be used for making different centre-pieces for exclusive buffets.
· Straight Cut
· Smudge
· Emboss
· Inlay
· Embed
· Ensemble

Inlay Technique used in making Aapic centre-Peices

Herbs, peels and spices used in in-lay technique

Embedding technique of making aspic centre-pieces

Vegetable like rutabagas used in embedding

Vegetables used in aspic ensemble

Food ingredients in ensemble

Vegetable embossing in aspic

3 Dimensional arrangement with elaborate use of aspic

Smudge technique of making aspic paintings

Smudge aspic painting in making

Smudge Aspic Work display

Display of Straight cut aspic logos

Aspic work with form, flow and pattern with emboss approach.