Mangalore: National Youth Festival - A Feast from Faridabad, Literally!

Prakash Samaga
Daijiworld Media Network – Mangalore

Mangalore, Jan 13: When a national event of magnimous proportions takes place, mere ceremonies and accommodation to the delegates and participants are not enough to ensure its success. One of the key 'ingredients' of such an event is the food, which, if done well, adds a touch of perfection to the event.
But it is no child's play to cook for thousands of people, and at the same time ensure flawless, lip-smacking taste.

All together, 125 cooks, 125 waiters and 20 supervisors have been hired to look after the preparations in the kitchen, along with 30 cleaning staff. Their job - cook for 5000 people at a makeshift kitchen erected at TMA Pai Hall in the city.

Rahul Khurana, owner of Jazal Caterers from Faridabad, Haryana, proudly says that this is the 5th National Youth Festival he is preparing food for. His team has cooked for the earlier National Youth Festivals in Udaipur, Bhubaneshwar, Patna and Punjab. He had also taken the responsibility of arranging food at two National Games

Explaining their work, he said for five days it is mandatory for them to have near-sleepless nights, as they need to wake up early in the morning at 4.30, and go to bed only after 11.30 pm. His team consists of the the best cooks, who are adept at preparing various dishes. There are even specialized cooks, like one from Delhi, an experienced hand who caters to non-vegetarian tastes, and another from Chennai who prepares South Indian delicacies like rasam.

Cooking is family business for Rahul, and he has been in the field for five years. He did his hotel management course in Australia, and worked for Shelton Group of Hotels.

He arrived in the city on January 1, much before the other contingents, to undertake a study of the markets and wholesale shops. "Only cooking is done in the kitchen, grocery items have to be purchased on large scale from wholesale shops, considering the quantity of food to be prepared," he says. A cook is capable of preparing 2000 chapatis in one hour.

Though there are are professional and experienced people in the cooking department, Rahul says some communication problems due to differences in language. "But many of them are literate and speak good Hindi," he adds.

His father looks after the payment and other issues. Rahul and his team prepare food worth Rs 8 to 9 lac daily during the course of the event. A lot of hard work and many hours of meticulous preparation go into it, no doubt, but it is well worth the effort when compliments pour in from thousands and hundreds go for second helpings.