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ICF focuses on ‘Future of Banqueting’ in seventh edition of Chef Summit

The Indian Culinary Forum continuing with its tradition hosted the seventh Chef Summit as part of India’s biggest culinary awards, the 16th Annual Chef Awards in New Delhi recently. The summit was inaugurated by Chef Davinder Kumar, president, Indian Culinary Forum; Tarun Thakral (ex-director, Le Meridien); Rohit Bhatia (chairman & CEO, RIG Group of Institutions), and Anil Bhandari, a hospitality industry veteran and chairman of the organising committee.

The theme of this year’s summit was ‘Future of Banqueting – Food and Beverages, Economics and Sustainability’. The summit witnessed participation of aspiring chefs, hotel-management students and hospitality professionals from all over India, who discussed, debated and deliberated upon a lot of issues relating to the hospitality industry. The industry experts shared insights on why banqueting is becoming the major revenue earner in the hospitality industry.

The day-long summit was phased over four sessions. The first session was on the topic, F&B opportunities and challenges in banqueting. The second session was on innovation & sustainability in banquets, F&B – technological advances. The other two sessions of the day were managing economics of banqueting, and how are professionals embracing sustainability in business and banqueting?

Commenting on the summit, Chef Kumar said, “The forum has been giving due recognition to the unknown faces, who bring smiles on the faces of diners for 16 years now. Along with rewarding the chefs, the forum also understands its responsibility of empowering them and with this agenda has been conducting the summit for the last seven years. Banqueting is the backbone of the hospitality sector and it is essential that the men & women behind the action, should be empowered to see what the future of banqueting holds, so that accordingly they can upgrade their skills, acumen and business.”

Adding his views, Bhandari said, “To make India a global culinary destination, it is important to prepare the young hospitality graduates as well as the practicing professionals to unlearn, learn and relearn to grow in the business against all tides and challenges. The agenda of organising the Chef Summit is to create a world-class symposium where the best of the minds in the hospitality sector will meet. It was a day full of sessions where a lot of important issues pertaining to banqueting were discussed and we hope that the key takeaways from the different sessions will help in policymaking in the hospitality sector.”

The first panel discussion was moderated by Ashwani Nayar of Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG). The speakers in the session were industry veterans such as Sandeep Arora, Sanjay Khullar, Neelam Bharadwaj and Yaduvansh Mathur. The session highlighted some of the prospective F&B trends, discussed on experiential cooking and food safety, among others.

The second session was moderated by Anil Malhotra. The speakers in the session were chef, equipment and appliance experts such as Nirmal Khandelwal, Ajay Khanna, Nitin Kumar, A. Prabhu and Sudhir Arora. Some of the key takeaways from the session were discussions on Indian made kitchen and banquet equipment, customisation of equipment and most importantly the need for environment-friendly kitchen equipment.

Naveen Jain moderated the third session. The speakers of the session were veterans of the hospitality industry such as Vineet Wadhwa, Chetan Vohra, Ramandeep Kapur and Sanjay Malkani. The session highlighted on issues such as is banqueting a commodity or a brand, what drives banquets reputation and profitability management.

The fourth session was moderated by Rifaquat Mirza. The speakers of the session were experienced chefs and professionals such as Nita Nagaraj, Gautam Chaudhry, Puneet Sikand and Rajeev Janveja. Some of the key takeaways from the session were reducing carbon footprint in restaurants; adopting ethical cooking; controlling food wastage; saving water and electricity and respecting society norms, among others.

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