Chefs to Heads of State meet in Delhi, to raise funds for Kailash Satyarthi Foundation-India
New Delhi, October 25, 2016
The Club des Chefs des Chefs (CCC), an exclusive gastronomy club comprising chefs to heads of state across the world, will host a charity dinner here this evening to help raise funds to support the Kailash Satyarthi Foundation-India, an NGO headed by Nobel Peace laureate Kailash Satyarthi, and Princess Diya Kumari Foundation, Jaipur.
The club, whose members comprise chefs to Presidents, Prime Ministers and royals across the world, including US President Barack Obama, the British Queen and the German Chancellor, are in India as part of their General Assembly, which takes place once every year in a different country.
The Paris-based CCC also announced a three-month long scholarship for the top student of the Institute of Hotel Management, Pusa in New Delhi to train in the palaces of Europe, including in Monaco.
Five chefs, including Chef Montu Saini, the Executive Chef to the President of India, will cook for the charity dinner whose proceeds will go to benefit the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation-India, a children’s rights body set up by the 2014 Nobel Laureate and Princess Diya Kumari Foundation, Jaipur.
“These chefs are all ambassadors of their respective countries. We use their services for good causes and help for various charities. Previously, we have raised money for Syrian refugees in Geneva and in Milano we held a fundraising dinner to benefit a hospital. Two weeks ago, Britain’s Royal Chef Mark Flanagan helped to raise one million dollars for ‘Artists for Peace and Justice’, a US-based charity, which builds and manages schools and colleges in Haiti,” Gilles Bragard, founder of the CCC, told a press conference at The Imperial here yesterday.
The six-course gala charity dinner will feature a menu where Chef Cristeta Comerford, chef to the US President Barack Obama, will cook a special vegetable soup; Chef Fabrizio Boca from Italy will rustle up a veg Risotto; Chef Christian Garcia from Monaco, who is also President of the CCC, will prepare a Mediterranean dish while Chef Flanagan will do a special lamb dish. Chef Saini will be presenting the dessert.
Saini, who represents India in the CCC, said he had been working to put together the event in India for the past eight to nine months.
On Sunday, the chefs were given a tour of the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
“The chefs visited and interacted with students of the Institute of Hotel Management Institute, Pusa in New Delhi. The club has announced a scholarship to the topper in Food Production course. The winner will get a chance to spend three months in Europe for training in different royal palaces. All expenses for the student will be taken care of by the CCC,” Chef Saini said.
“Yesterday, the chefs cooked in my kitchen; tomorrow I will probably cook in their kitchens. It is a dream come true for me; it is an exchange of culinary team,” he added.
“We gave them golgappas cooked especially for them. They also had freshly made aloo tikkis. The idea is to give them a taste of the local cuisine. At the Imperial, where they are staying we are creating a special replica of Indian cuisine for them,” he said.
Gilles Bragard, who founded the CCC club in Paris in the year 1977 as a place for the chefs to meet once a year and exchange notes and recipes and learn each other’s traditions and cultures, said the idea was to make the club a ‘G 20 of the chefs’.
After all, when the political leaders meet at various global stages such as BRICS or the G-20, the onus falls on the chefs to the Heads of State to come up with meals that could ‘end up in swinging the negotiations’.
“We meet once a year in a different country and this year India has been chosen as venue of the General Assembly. We are all very proud to be in India,” he noted.
Last year, the CCC raised funds for children in Haiti. “We have had charity dinners in Italy and Switzerland. At our Swiss annual meet we raised money for Syrian refugees and in Milano we held a fundraising dinner to benefit a hospital,” Bragard said.
One of the missions of the club is to promote local food and healthy eating habits. In keeping with tradition, the chefs undertook a culinary tour to the famous spice market in Chandni Chowk today.
President Pranab Mukherjee hosted the visiting chefs for high tea yesterday and they also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi here today.
“We are delighted to have the opportunity to receive the executive chefs from this exclusive club. We are happy to see that food is acting as major bridge between peoples and countries. It is an important aspect of soft power. It also offers us an opportunity for us to showcase India’s culinary strengths. We hope this visit is the beginning of many more visits which is sure to strengthen India’s bridges with countries,” Mr. Venu Rajamony, Press Secretary to the President of India, said.
“We hope this annual meeting will be continued. I request if the chefs can take some elements of Indian cuisine and add to their principals. We hope the chefs will discover the elements of diverse cuisines and do true and take it back with them to Europe and other countries,” he added.
During their trip to Agra and Jaipur via Fatehpur Sikri, they will be hosted for a lunch by Princess Diya Kumari at the City Palace in Jaipur. There is also a stop en route at the Maharajas’ Express, the most luxurious train in India, where the chefs can soak in a bygone era of elegance and romance.
Mr. Vijay Wanchoo, Sr. Executive VP & General Manager, The Imperial New Delhi, said, “It is an honour for The Imperial, New Delhi to be a proud partner in hosting this exclusive gastronomic assembly of ‘Le Club des Chefs des Chefs’ with afour decade history, for the first time in India. The Imperial is India’s legendary hotel and it’s a matter of extreme pride for our chefs to work with these culinary ambassadors from across the globe and showcase the traditional flavours of our country to them. The carpets are laid, the tables are set and the menu courses are planned for this once in a lifetime event wielding magic for the culinary powerhouse.”
He further said that the event concluded with the ‘world’s best cake mixing ceremony’ by all the coveted chefs and chef Prem K Pogakula - Executive Sous Chef The Imperial New Delhi, heralding the festivities with joie de vivre.
In Delhi the stay of the chefs is being hosted by The Imperial, Delhi. They will stay in Agra at the ITC Mughal and in Jaipur at The Rambagh Palace where they will participate in a gala dinner.
“ Am delighted to spend our annual meet in India, It is great to discover the wonder of India and its fabulous gastronomy. This Indian experience will stay in our hearts and in our memory,” Chef Christian Garcia from Monaco, who is also the President of the CCC, said.
The chef delegation includes chef Cristeta Comerford, the chef to the US President for the past 21 years who organised the last state dinner given by the President Obama just last week; Chef Jose Roca, the chef who has been serving the Prime Minister of Spain for the last 40 years; and Chef Bernard Vaussion who has worked for six Presidents in France.