Pics: Jeevan D’Costa
Daijiworld Media Network – Udupi (JD)
With inputs from media release
Udupi, Oct 3 : “Today many students from rich families choose western cuisine as their subject of study, but I insist you to master the rich Indian cuisine” said Vikas Khanna, a Michelin-starred chef and a distinguished alumnus of Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration (WGSHA).
Vikas Khanna inaugurated the “Centre for Indian cuisine and food culture at Welcome group school of Hotel Administration at Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE).
Speaking on the occasion, Khanna said, “It’s a celebration and preservation of Indian cuisine. Its very important that we document and pass on the rich culinary heritage of India to our future generations. This partnership between an alumni and the administration is very much ideal. The structure of this institution and the facilities provided for the students is of a higher level at the culinary arena. The next Michelin- chef from India will be from Manipal. The biggest project of mine is this museum.”
Revisiting his days at Manipal, Vikas Khanna said, “Manipal is my first home. I owe my career to WGSHA. Dr T M A Pai is like a father figure to me. I used to stay in Udupi and was travelling to college in Manipal. Udupi is a blessing for me. My gurus’ wife used to make a jackfruit pickle. It was one of the most delicious pickles I had ever tasted. Based on the same pickle I am going to prepare a restaurant brand very soon. I started to discover Udupi cuisine from Krishna Temple. The reason I stayed in Manipal is because of Udupi."
India, a land of diverse cultures and traditions, has always had its heart deeply intertwined with the rich tapestry of Indian cuisine. "Uttaram yat yamudrasya himade shachaiva dakshinam. Varsham tadu Bharatam nama Bharato yatra santatih,” as stated in the Vishnu Purana, beautifully captures the essence of this country that lies between the ocean to the north and the snowy mountains to the south, known as Bharat.
Spanning over 32,87,263 square kilometres, from the magnificent Himalayan peaks to the lush tropical rainforests of the south, India boasts of an ancient civilisation adorned with opulent dynasties, powerful rulers, and a profound history. In India, "Our food is who we are," and it paints a vibrant canvas with the subtle hues of spices, the artful use of grains like millets, rice, and wheat, and an array of vegetables and fruits, all cultivated within the country," he said.
Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration (WGSHA), MAHE, a unit of the Dr T M A Pai Foundation, has been a pioneer in moulding young individuals into competent professionals in the hospitality industry since 1987. In partnership with ITC Ltd., the hotel division of Welcomgroup, WGSHA has consistently set the highest standards in hospitality education and training, earning the rank of number 1 in India for hospitality studies.
In a groundbreaking initiative, WGSHA has embarked on a mission to place Indian cuisine firmly on the global culinary map through its "Centre of Indian Cuisine and Food Culture."
Going beyond the conventional understanding of Indian cuisine, this centre delves deep into the intricacies of macro and micro cuisines within India. In 2021, it introduced the "Master of Arts in Indian Cuisine" programme, aimed at fostering a deep appreciation for Indian food's historical and cultural significance.
"The Centre of Indian Cuisine and Food Culture seeks to create awareness about the profound relationship between Indian food, our history, and our culture," remarked chef K Thirugnanasambantham, principal of WGSHA. "It will educate our youth about the rich historical background of Indian cuisine, tracing its development over hundreds of years, exploring the science behind the use of fresh farm produce and the art of Indian cooking. Just as ITC Hotels have championed Indian cuisine through their signature restaurants, this centre will research and develop new recipes and expand our knowledge of Indian food — a small yet significant contribution to nation-building."
Vikas Khanna, a Michelin-starred chef and a distinguished alumnus of WGSHA, stands as a global ambassador of Indian cuisine. His unwavering passion for Indian culinary traditions and his tireless efforts to elevate its status on the world stage have made him an iconic figure in the culinary world.
He played a pivotal role in the establishment of a culinary museum dedicated to preserving the essence of dynamic Indian cuisine. After 15 years of dedication and hard work, this dream has become a reality. The museum is an extraordinary destination for those interested in exploring ancient kitchen utensils and unravelling their historical significance.
In a world where food culture is in constant evolution, WGSHA, in collaboration with ITC, is nurturing a new generation of hospitality professionals poised to carry forward the legacy of Indian cuisine. Through globally recognised signature dining experiences and the dedication of individuals like chef Vikas Khanna, Indian cuisine continues to captivate and enchant food enthusiasts worldwide, showcasing the rich tapestry of traditions, flavours, and influences that have shaped it over thousands of years.
Vikas Khanna also administered oath to chefs on the occasion.
Vasanti R Pai, first lady of Manipal Dr Narayan Sabhahit, pro vice-chancellor technology and science Dr Giridhar Kini, registrar and other MAHE officials were present on the occasion.