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Owing to the pandemic, food consumption has become a cautious habit and people are highly conscious of what they are eating and where it is coming from.
“It has given us an opportunity to explore ways to keep food simple, nutritious, and how it can be transported safely from one place to the other with limited human handling,” says Chef Prabhakar Nagaraj, Managing Partner, Elior India.
IANSlife spoke to the veteran to know about the changes being seen in kitchens in terms of safety measures, ingredients, collaborative dishes, and waste management.
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Food safety measures are taken by chefs in the kitchen
This pandemic has taken away the exoticism of food from the menu. The masses have switched to basic meals, keeping away from complexity in its preparation and the ingredients used. Food consumption has become a cautious habit and people are highly conscious of what they are eating and where it is coming from. To serve this need, we have switched to pre-packed meals with limited variety as compared to the lavish buffet spreads during the pre-COVID times. We assume that this is going to be short-lived. Although this step has restricted the inclusion of the number of dishes served from Kitchen during every meal, safety measures are in place as this step reduces the number of human touch-points.
Food is safe when it is handled by as few people as possible and cooked close to the hour of consumption. The pandemic has given us an opportunity to explore ways to keep food simple, nutritious, and how it can be transported safely from one place to the other with limited human handling. We can also use flash-cooking methods. Flash cooking involves cooking ingredients on a very high flame so that the outer surface of the ingredient gets sealed, eliminating any loss of internal juices and thus sustaining the nutritive aspects of the ingredients.
The growing importance of Indian spices in the kitchen in the times of pandemic
We are creating menus that are primarily based on local produce rather than being sourced from other states or the country at large. In the near future, we will witness many international dishes being given an Indian twist and vice versa. Our chefs are handpicked from the best hotels and we are able to translate global food trends to our cafï¿½ food with ease.
The food which is delivered is as per the requirement of the clients; even though they may all be from the same geography; they still have completely different requirements from each other. For example, consider Vegetable Au Gratin, a famous western dish where you mix vegetables with cream sauce, grate cheese and bake it in the oven. Here we have substituted cream sauce with Makhani sauce which is typically creamy and slightly sweet. You mix it to the right consistency, add grated cheese and paneer on top and gratinate it. This dish acts as Au Gratin but it actually is Veg Makhani. However, the presentation becomes completely different.
As Indians, we like to bite into food that tastes Indian but looks very Western. For example, if you bite into an apple pie, it may not just have apple inside; instead, it may have Anjeer Badam Halwa. These are some of the innovations that can be brought into corporate cafï¿½s especially when there is a growing importance to match the taste buds of consumers in India.
The cooking process stays the same, but you need to start mapping ingredients accordingly. Once you use Anjeer Badam Halwa as a substitute ingredient for a pie filling, it should have good consistency, so that the dough doesn’t become soggy. Otherwise, the whole purpose of using different ingredients gets defeated. From an outsider’s perspective, it is just a pie until you bite into it to relish the Anjeer halwa. Indian foods can be very nutritive, though it all depends on the way you cook it.
Increase in collaborative cuisine to dish out magic on plates
Regarding collaborative cuisines, the type of clients that we cater to need us to be at our innovative best. Their profiles create an opportunity to explore the possibility to innovate, which is what differentiates us from our competitors.
The financial luxury of these clients gives us an advantage to continuously innovate and be ahead of our time when we talk about mundane menus with typical components that we hardly ever think of changing. Our chef-led model acts as an enhancer to explore any opportunity to satisfy hungry tummies.
At the same time, when we stand as a premium catering provider, we look forward to bringing a change rather than the usual food. For example, a regular Aloo Mutter Samosa can be changed into a chicken Fajita Samosa. Basically, you are using chicken which is mixed with Fajita seasoning and flavor the dough with cumin giving a Mexican twist to the Indian cuisine.
You can have a samosa of this nature, but instead of using mint chutney or Tamarind chutney, you can substitute it with Salsa. This is something that we have innovated and is the differentiating factor that we bring to the platter when it comes to cafeteria services. It is a requirement at this point in time because when you present your menu to a corporate crowd who are well-traveled, they don’t want to have the same rice, dal, and chapati. They look for something different and wish to explore new cuisines.
Waste management in kitchens
This process is being mapped with our ERP (Enterprise resource planning). Whatever the food requirement for any client-site is, it comes to the ERP. Based on this, the production process is initiated, and the dispensation takes place. This is then tracked basis the sales on the site and if there is a huge difference in expected versus delivered outcomes, the on-site head is responsible for it.
By doing this, we have witnessed a tremendous reduction in food-wastage and this is something we follow as a process where ensuring minimal food wastage is concerned. This drives complete information about the quantity of production that should take place and the raw materials that need to be used in order to fulfill production. Then, requisition happens based on the raw materials where the purchase happens accordingly. So the complete end-to-end process is tightened. (IANS)
Final preparations are in full swing at Six Senses Fort Barwara which will host the much talked about wedding of celebrity couple Vicky Kaushal and Katrina Kaif.
According to sources, the event company working for this wedding has procured crystal balls and chandeliers from abroad to give a royal look to the wedding. These will be installed in the hotel soon.
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Six Senses Hotel has also parked indicator vehicles on the road at frequent intervals for the guests to reach the hotel easily. A glass 'mandap' has been prepared and decorated in Rajwada style for the couple to take 'pheres' (rounds around the fire) as per Hindu rituals. Moreover, the glass carvings on the mandap is such that it creates an optical illusion.
This wedding ceremony will be held amidst tight security arrangements. Secret codes have been given to each of the guests, so that it is impossible to know which guest is staying in which room.
Mobile phones have been banned inside the venue. International photographers have been hired to shoot the entire wedding. The ceremonies will be held from December 7 to December 9, with bouncers and police personnel looking after the security arrangements. As many as 100 bouncers have arrived from Jaipur to look after security arrangements at the wedding.
Katrina and Vicky's wedding is to be solemnized on December 9.Unsplash
Vicky Kaushal and Katrina Kaif's outfits have been designed in Mumbai which they will wear during different wedding ceremonies.
As per information, Katrina Kaif and Vicky Kaushal are scheduled to reach Hotel Six Senses Fort Barwara located at Chauth Ka Barwara, by 9 p.m. on Monday, via car from Jaipur where both are expected to receive a grand welcome by the hotel management.
Along with Vicky and Katrina, their family members too will reach the hotel on Monday. However, some close family members and other guests will reach the venue separately. Katrina's sister Natasha and friends reached Jaipur airport on Monday afternoon from where they left for the wedding venue by car.
Katrina and Vicky's wedding is to be solemnized on December 9. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : wedding, Bollywood, Vicky Kaushal, Katrina Kaif, Rajasthan, hotel, Fort Barwara, ceremony, photographer, bouncer, outfit)
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Meta-owned WhatsApp on Monday announced an incubator programme in India that will select 10 organisations and help them build digital solutions to tackle critical health issues.
Called the WhatsApp Incubator Programme (WIP), the initiative aims to facilitate positive and measurable health outcomes at scale by leveraging the WhatsApp Business Platform.
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"During the pandemic we have seen several innovative use cases of the WhatsApp Business Platform by government organisations, civic actors, city administrations and many more NGOs, both large and small, across sectors and locations," said Abhijit Bose, Head of WhatsApp India.
The selected organisations will also be provided with technical support in order to design, prototype and pilot their health use cases.Unsplash
Also Read : The story behind Whatsapp
"We hope the WhatsApp Incubator Programme brings forth more such innovative and unique solutions that will help solve India's healthcare needs," he said in a statement.
The selected organizations will also be provided with technical support in order to design, prototype and pilot their health use cases.
The company said that participating organizations get the opportunity to be mentored by industry experts, access on-ground ecosystems, receive support with impact measurement guidance, and a chance to network with funders to scale their use cases.
The programme, for which applications are open till December 24, is being administered by Quicksand Design Studio, WhatsApp said. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : Whatsapp, incubator, organizations, digital, health, business, pandemic, innovative, technical)
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By D.C. Pathak
Advent of Biden Presidency with its resonating calls of 'America is back', 'we will repair our alliances' and 'will engage with the world once again' on one hand and the rise of President Xi Jinping with a stronger hold on China after the Plenary session of the 19th Central Committee of CPC, on the other, have got strategic analysts to examine if a new Cold War was already on the horizon.
India has to define its stand and negotiate its international policy keeping in view the nation's best interests of the long run. Sino- Pak military alliance that chiefly worked against India, natural friendship between the two largest democracies of the world and the need for a rapid advancement of our Defence capabilities, are the major paradigms that should determine India's approach to both development and security.
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Xi Jinping is implementing a two- fold strategy of seeking the economic route to becoming the second superpower and pursuing 'Sinicisation of Marxism' to define the future of Communist China. In a huge give and take between the Godless dictatorship of China and the fundamentalist regime of Pakistan, the former has invested on CPEC located on the territory of PoK ceded by Pakistan to China in the face of the Indian protests and got an opening into the Muslim world where sympathy for Islamic radicals has been on the rise.
Pakistan is close to the pro- US group led by Saudi Arabia and yet has a good equation with Islamic radical organizations represented by Taliban. With one leg in the camp of 'revivalists' -- Pakistan -- it mediated between the US and the Taliban on Afghanistan -- would be in a position to assure the Chinese that the Cold War game of the West using Pak-Afghan region to 'radicalise' Muslims of Xinjiang and other parts of China, would not be allowed. The axis of the two principal adversaries of India has become very active after the Indian Parliament scrapped Article 370 of the Constitution in August 2019 and converted J&K and Ladakh into union territories. India had successfully evolved a strategy of dealing with both China and Pakistan together.
Also Read : Why are India and China overpopulated?
It needs to be recalled that China drew the best lessons from the demise of the USSR -- it could clearly see that the Soviet regime had become an oligarchy that ignored the internal economic decline because of which it was not able to sustain the war in Afghanistan. This led Deng Xiaoping to adopt the policy of opening the Chinese market to the world in a controlled fashion and thus initiate a process of faster economic growth on which China has not looked back. China has become the second biggest global economy by investing in markets abroad and accessing technological knowledge wherever it was available -- including the research work of the US universities where it established 'Chairs' to reach out to the same.
Xi Jinping combines the persona of Deng and Mao Zedong and while consolidating Chinese economy further, he has reverted to the concept of supremacy of the Communist Party of China as the symbol of Marxism. This has helped him, among other things, to keep his leadership going on the strength of ideology and project it as something that was free of any personal vested interest. The recent conference of the Central Committee of CPC credited Xi Jinping with achievement of the first Centennial goal of making China a 'moderately prosperous society' by 2021 -- the hundredth year of the party's existence and acknowledged his pledge to make China a 'great modern Socialist country' by 2049 -- the second centennial mission marking the completion of hundred years since Mao Zedong declared the establishment of the People's Republic of China. By highlighting the importance of 'ideology' and 'line', Xi Jinping has identified himself with the Party so completely that his leadership can not be easily challenged by any dissenters.
Under Xi Jinping, China is progressing economically and also politically extending its influence in the world taking care to buy time for its mission and somewhere following the doctrine of winning a war without a battle. It is joining multilateral platforms to create a non- combatant image, inducing economic dependence of other smaller nations on it through its Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) and forging bilateral alliances and pacts to further its geo- political advancement.
Pakistan is close to the pro- US group led by Saudi Arabia and yet has a good equation with Islamic radical organizations represented by Taliban.Unsplash
Sino- Pak strategic alliance -- an illustration of this multi-prong objective of China -- is a cause for great concern for India. China knows it can not change the Western systems and is not in a hurry to challenge the global economic order -- it is exploring alternate approaches of invading others economically and doing it successfully. As far as territorial expansion was concerned Xi's China adheres to its known 'two steps forward one step backward' strategy -- which is salami slicing of sorts -- that was in evidence on LAC as also in the Indo-Pacific. India has suitably responded to these moves on land as well as on sea by undertaking a matching military build up and actively joining in Quad, respectively.
Some analysts have perceptively noted that President Xi Jinping has embarked on a larger than life mission of surpassing Mao Zedong in building China as the dominant power of the world -- matching the place it once occupied in its civilizational history. His new strategy of bringing all 'under one heaven' compels a recall of the description the Chinese Emperor once enjoyed as the 'son of heaven'. It is remarkable that a Communist dictatorship carrying the stamp of Marxism today is deriving strength from the country's civilisational roots. This reflects the desire for world domination -- the Emperor of China expected 'tribute' from other countries as protection money.
Xi's China is also working on fail -- safe alliances -- using its economic hold as in the case of Pakistan. The defence expenditure of China has been on the rise -- in comparison to India it rose from a near parity in the Nineties to more than three times of India's defence budget, as at present. China's move forward is neither transactional nor transformational but a strategy of continuum -- steady in pace and direction --attempted on a good understanding of the global 'space' on land ,sea and air. Geo- politically China is now in the frame so far as the emerging scene of the world getting divided between two superpowers, was concerned.
The defence expenditure of China has been on the rise -- in comparison to India.Unsplash
India has set in motion a well- considered strategy of handling the economic and security challenges emanating from this situation. There was never any doubt that the US and India must together anchor the collective effort of the democratic world to counter the threat from the Communist dictatorships on one hand and that from Islamic extremists on the other.
The policy of the Modi government to have bilateral relations on the basis of mutuality of interests in the economic and security spheres has been very successful. India is enlarging the ambit of friendships with European democracies, Australia, Japan and Israel -- including association with Quad -- to promote collective security against these dangers. As a nation with a voice in the global matters pertaining to war and peace, India is working for self-reliance in the area of defence and building military strength to take on any aggressive move of the PLA on the LAC and punish Pakistan for any provocation from across the LOC.
India has maintained close friendship with Russia which has -- apart from defence deals with India -- been on the same page on the vital issues of Afghanistan and radicalization. It is the policy of mutuality of security interests in Afghanistan that has made India work in collaboration with Iran, notwithstanding the conflicts that this country had with the US and Israel. Indian diplomacy has worked hard to keep the Western powers convinced of the legitimacy of India's policy towards all these other countries.
Finally, there is an added challenge on the internal security front because of the intent of the China-Pak combine to instigate acts of terror, insurgency and sectarian discord in India in an attempt to destabilize this country. A new dimension of the domestic scene of India is the rise of civil society forums which in collusion with anti-India lobbies abroad and elements hostile to the Modi government at home, play politics by proxy on issues ranging from Kashmir to Northeast and from safety of Dalits and minorities to poverty alleviation. Fortunately, we are getting adequate Intelligence to draw a line between genuine protests and sponsored agitations.
(The writer is a former Director of Intelligence Bureau; the views expressed are personal)
(Keywords : president, prime minister, Biden, Xi Jinping, Narendra Modi, China, America, India, Pakistan, military, alliance, defence, challenge, concern, security, dominant, power, history. )
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