Contrary to the fast food concept that has dominated the new generations, the Slow Food organisation aims to prevent the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions. India joined the Slow Food Chefs’ Alliance in 2015 with a vision to improve the overall quality of food that is grown, cooked and served in the restaurants and hotels of the country
Founded in 1989, Slow Food is a global grassroots organisation which envisions a world in which all people can access and enjoy food that is good for them, good for those who grow it and good for the planet. The idea is to counteract the rise of fast life and combat people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from and how food choices affect the world around us. It aims to save a model of food production which is ‘Good, Clean and Fair’ for consumers, producers and the planet itself. Recently PHD Chamber of Commerce held a special discussion on the slow food concept to raise awareness about the issue so more people can join in this global movement.
Addressing the gathering, Chef Rajdeep Kapoor, president, Slow Food Chefs’ Alliance and executive chef, ITC Hotels, informed, “Earlier the dishes prepared in the kitchen were made from materials available according to the season. But with change of time raw materials are available all around the year. Now with the Slow Food Movement we aim to source sustainable products and retain traditional values of food culture in order to create a balance in the environment.”
Speaking to Food & Hospitality World, Gunjan Goel, vice president, Slow Food Chefs’ Alliance and a corporate food consultant said, “India is such a diverse country which already has a deep historic connect with slow food. We always ate what was in the season, what our farmers grew or what our ayurvedic practitioners suggested. But the Western influence has drifted us to the fast food concept. It is high time that people reconnect with their traditional food culture. This can only start through hotels and restaurants as chefs become morally aware about sourcing and preparing good quality food.”
Commenting on the India chapter’s future events, Kapoor added, “We have already been hosting monthly events and raising awareness among young professionals. We will be further associating with institutes and restaurants to promote local and sustainable buying practises.” PHD Chambers proposed to host a Slow Food Picnic this year and invite key industry members so they could undertsand the concept in a better manner.
Slow Food is based on a concept of food that is defined by three interconnected principles: good, clean and fair
GOOD: quality, flavoursome and healthy food
CLEAN: production that does not harm the environment
FAIR: accessible prices for consumers and fair conditions and pay for producers
Many organisations now only represent the farmer’s community and are helping to bridge the gap between sustainable products and a chef’s demands. Puneet Jhajharia, co founder, Crop Connect; Achintya Anand, founder, Krishi Cress; Akhil Kapoor, Delhi Farmer’s Market have been helping bringing fresh farm product to a dining table. Slow Food Chefs’ Alliance is in touch with these people to source directly from the farmers.
The Slow Food goal is to revive the interest of consumers and chefs, in the abundant biodiversity of Indian agricultural produce, wild natural plants, indigenous grains and foods, traditional knowledge and cooking techniques.