Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Spa Cuisine



We very well know by living in the 21st century that, as we have evolved the things have become more and more refined. The natural processes of storage and cooking have been replaced with chemicals and microwaves etc. This has become a major health concern for people today as they turn towards healthy ways of preparing and consuming food. That is when Spa cuisine comes into picture.


Spa cuisine is essentially taking our food preparation and cooking methods back to the simpler and less refined ways of the past. With spa cuisine we try to use the natural elements in food to assist the body in its day to day processes without placing unnecessary strain on it.

 Hence, Spa cuisine has few characteristics which define the cuisine like; usage of natural ingredients instead of processed and refined food products. Spa cuisine uses seasonal ingredients as it ensures availability and freshness. Some restaurants may even grow their own produce. 

Spa meals are often colorful as this makes the plate more aesthetically appealing and promise nutrients, vitamins and minerals which are well balanced.
 
As the cuisine suggests seasonal ingredients, you can be sure to obtain quality food from  both flora and fauna. Fats like olive oil, sunflower oil and canola oil are used. Spa cuisine focuses on satiating your appetite by delivering appropriately portioned dishes of high quality, taste and flavor. Spa cuisine restaurants create dishes that are a bit non- traditional, but are definitely creative. Especially when it comes to desserts, they come up with creative ways to satisfy the customer and without causing a major impact to your waistline.

Learning Spa cuisine at the college was one of a kind experience as the students were given deepest knowledge and wisdom of Spa cuisine by the Chef and also they had a chance to personally prepare those delightful, colorful and healthy dishes. The students are really proud to have learnt one of emerging trends in today’s culinary world. We have been introduced to many new ingredients, cooking techniques and yes, also new presentation techniques by the Chef.

 The way the cuisine has been dealt with, while being taught to the students was impeccable. The Chef had really gone an extra mile to make sure that the students are getting a sound opportunity to try their hand at plating their own dishes. Thus, learning spa cuisine at our college was a healthy experience as the cuisine itself.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

SPOT LIGHT

Santosh Reddy is an alumnus of class 2008-2011 from the prestigious Indian Academy of Catering technology and Culinary Arts- Brand CAI as it is called today. He has to his credit 14years of professional experience in Indian and International hotel chains. He has trained and worked with hotels like the Taj group of hotels, Holiday Inn, The Leela, Fairmont, etc.His first assignment as a Pastry Chef was with The Park, Hyderabad after which he moved on to Movenpick Hotel & Spa, Bangalore.He is presently heading the Pastry at the Radisson Blu, MBD Hotel, Noida. During his professional career Santosh has acquired a lot of distinction to himself and the hotels he worked for. “The Chocolate Box” Pastry shop at Radisson Blu, was awarded by Times Food as the best Pastry Shop in the NCR Region (Noida) for the Year 2013 and 2014.Santosh spearheaded his team of six chefs at the AAHAR Competitions 2015 where he won 4 gold medals, 5 silver medals, 3 bronze medals in various different categories.
He was the architect behind building the biggest ginger bread house     at  the Raddison Blu, Delhi during Christmas.
He is honored with  the title of Best Pastry Chef of the year 2015 at the AAHAR prize distribution ceremony.








Tuesday, June 9, 2015

KALEIDOSCOPE


what do the people of the world crave for? Love? Baloney. It’s a purpose. It’s a sum total of your priorities, your memories, the people who come and go, your choices and the results of all that and much much more: mixed around like a concoction of reality and hope. It all started when I was losing myself, when I was losing touch with the world around me and being felt like I was surrounded by a sky full of dementors.

Anyway. This was that point in life that probably one would say “every teenager goes through” but personally, I think what matters is how each one’s thoughts wander during such events and controls the mind and soul of a human being- the crucial state of mind that makes all the difference.

I was a victim- or rather Survivor- of deception and misunderstanding- two simple words that could cause so much chaos in an 18 year old’s mind.

Typing all this makes me second guess myself- is this the truth? Or am I just drowning in self pity? Coming up with an answer to this question makes it so challenging because of all the clichéd stories out there- but heck! I m gonna go on anyway.

So I believe everyone comes across a handful of inspiring people in their lives, and like everybody out there, so did I.

Briefing my story – that person who inspired me so much so that im here, writing about all this- out in the open was my teacher. I would say- not only was he a teacher for me, he was someone who I respected a lot. He was a mentor, Almost a friend.

Now, randomly but essentially meandering onto my many theories- You know what the key to a good life is? Lowering expectations.

This unfortunately, did not happen in my case. The people around me- my friends, my teachers, my parents, everybody seemed to expect so much out of me that it became hard for me to wrap my brain around why, sometimes- these people would say things like “your standards are going low” or “your graph is showing a downfall”. I mean…what does that even infer? WHAT GRAPH?

I have a graph? Why don’t the other kids ever have a graph like that? What frustrated me even more was when people would say such things, they wouldn’t tell me WHY. They wouldn’t tell me HOW I’m falling, and neither would they tell me how to get back up. So I was on my own here. With my own dangerously over thinking brain that just seized negativity the moment it came close. This was when I was lost. I would question myself “where am I falling? What am I doing wrong? Am I fading away?”

It was like I was being continuously picked at by the universe until I pop. The worse part being- I ALLOWED the universe to pick at me. Everything seemed to be victimizing me and things slowly started to make less sense, confusing me all the more. When an avalanche buries you and you’re lying there underneath all that snow, you can’t tell which way is up or down. You want to dig yourself out but pick the wrong way, and you dig yourself to your own demise. That was how I felt. Disoriented, suspended in confusion, stripped off my compass. It was almost like a Bollywood movie scene where the girl is depressed, she doesn’t eat and just bawls her eyes out all night. I wouldn’t say my situation was the same- for instance, I ate like a glutton, but unfortunately, it proved to be somewhat similar.

After all that overthinking, negativity and plain misconception of life, I finally couldn’t take it anymore. I had to find that ray of sunshine and make my way out into the world again, so I gained some courage (a lot of it) and made the WISE decision (very wise, Now that I think of it) of digging my way through and talking about all this to someone I looked up to with great respect and someone whom I thought- for some vague reason- would GET me and what was exploding in my head.

To my good luck, gut feeling and sheer pouring-out-of-emotions, this person took me out of my dark side and made me realise that it is only my negative thinking that is ruining me and causing so much mayhem in every other aspect of my life. All that I have written in this article- I realise because of this one person and one of the most important lessons I’ve learnt from him- is giving time. I guess there are some things that are meant to vanish in an instant and there are some things that will take time to dissolve. Time truly heals everything and makes that annoying phrase “everything’s going to be okay” seem so much sweeter when experienced. I owe a lot to this “hero”, if I may call him that, and I will remain ever grateful to him for being the only person who didn’t lose hope in me and saw my true side, even though there was so much cloudy turbulence in the air.


It’s funny, the thing about people. They come and go- like pebbles thrown in water. Some creating huge ripples, some changing colors and some just disappearing into invisibility. All this is reality and is something that turned my life around and I am not ashamed to write about it or let the whole world know. Petty and dramatic for some, but life changing for another. It is important to be someone who makes you happy and makes you want to look back and say “yes. I made it.”

Monday, June 1, 2015

Developing Young Chefs In Sugar Artistry

Ten years back when we started getting trained to be chefs, the practical skills we gained were only through the practical sessions under skilled Chef Trainers or through books. Even with such minimum resources available we could still learn culinary skills which helped us to grow strong in the industry. In the present era of 'Internet', everything is available to make anything and this availability of technology and know-how has become a boon for the budding chefs to gain substantial knowledge and skills.
With so many talented  culinary professionals  in the industry, easy access to the online resources and the state of art culinary infrastructure in the leading hotels  in our  country we still have a long way  to make it to Culinary Olympics in general and in  Pastry & Confectionery arts in particular. Being a Chef Trainer and specialising in confectionery arts and mentoring the students hands on with various confectionery mediums like Sugar Chocolate, Nougatine, , Pastillage, Marzipan, etc. I feel that we need to raise our bar of performance to meet the international standards in creating these artistic showpieces.

In my experience 'Sugar' is the best and the most challenging confectionery medium to work with in Indian conditions. Many Pastry Chefs consider sugar work the pinnacle of their decorative work. One reason is surely the sheer beauty of skillfully made pulled, poured and blown sugar pieces, which can be elaborate constructions of multi coloured sugar flowers in blown sugar vases or sugar baskets filled with sugar fruit, and sugar pedestals wrapped with sugar ribbons & bows. A showpiece created entirely from sugar is truly a work of art, and it takes an eye for design and strong pastry skills to work with this delicate medium and are composed of several different types of sugar elements. 

Dedication , passion, practice, eye for design and well disciplined approach towards this skill when getting trained can make oneself proficient. Chefs who have mastered this skill practiced for hours, even years and have earned the respect that this accomplishment brings them. Students are often irresistibly drawn to the challenge of learning these techniques when they see what results are possible.
Being associated with an institute which is probably the only culinary school in India that has the infrastructure like a full-fledged sugar studio with all the basic and advanced sugar equipment's and tools , imported silicon set of sugar mats and moulds, blow pipes, etc.We are able to bring out sugar master-pieces and also teach sugar work to the students in the third year as part of their curriculum with as  subject titled Advanced Pastry & Confectionery Arts. Students practically make sugar showpieces in their lab sessions and the availability of infrastructure makes this work of art doable even if the medium is sensitive to handle. Our team of Confectionery trainers impart skills to the students because of which they are able to create intricate Sugar  Showpieces while at the same time displaying their acquired technical skills. The most difficult and advanced techniques like pulled sugar & blown sugar work challenges even our credibility, but the passion towards the art  keeps inspiring us to perform better.
This confectionery art work is challenging & one who develops these skills perfectly will always get the higher applauds in the culinary world, we always aim to sculpt a well trained budding chefs from our academy before they land in the industry which is our greatest contribution. Now it is such a situation that our alumni has already made their mark in the Culinary world. It will not be an exaggeration if we come across one of them representing the  nation in the upcoming Culinary Olympics and showcase the Sugar confectionery art.
The presence of endless opportunities & possibility to perform any kind of Culinary art these days, it's time that Indian chefs should showcase the artistic skills to the world at International Culinary Competitions.