What to expect at the IFCA International Chefs Conference, with 34 experts coming down to share culinary experience
Since their first chefs conference that introduced the Indian Federation of Culinary Associations (IFCA) to the world in 2003 (New Delhi), the organisation has conducted five conferences in major cities, focussing on themes like networking and sustainability. This year, the IFCA brings the International Chefs Conference to Chennai for the second time, in a three-day event that begins today, at ITC Grand Chola. And the theme for this edition is “handing down the baton to younger chefs,” says chef Soundararajan, general secretary of the IFCA, who founded the association along with ITC’s chef Manjit Singh Gill. “We will be strengthening our Young Chefs Forum that has around 3,000-4,000 members from across India,” he adds.
With a total of 34 Indian and international delegates (excluding senior Indian chefs who will also be speaking) giving seminars at the event, we’re told to look out for the addresses of Charles Carroll from the US, John Sloane from Galaxy Macau resorts and Christopher Koetke who has anchored several cookery shows in Chicago. While their speeches will primarily cover sustainability, Soundararajan points out that Canadian chef Cornelia Elizabeth Volino’s address on negating difficulties and improving the working environment for women is also not to be missed.
We hear that popular journalist Vir Sanghvi will talk about food trends, as ITC puts up themed lunches and high teas for all three days of the event. Soundararajan signs off informing us that, in a first, the IFCA will introduce the Best Students Award, to be presented to around 20 students from culinary institutions, while the professionals will be contending for awards like the IFCA Culinary Leadership Award and the IFCA Star Chef Award. Till March 22 at ITC Grand Chola. Details: ifca.info
Know your sushi
Among the participating chefs is Japanese chef Hirotoshi Ogawa, who conducted a sushi training workshop in Chennai last March. He returns this year, for a session on sushi hygiene — how to avoid bacteria in sushi counters — and identifying the right fish. He shares pointers:
■ Unexpected ingredients used in sushi today are strawberry, mango (fruit sushi), beer marinated tuna, cheese and chocolate
■ In a good sushi roll, the rice should be softy spread over the roll, not pressed. Sushi should be soft and not rubbery. The rice on the roll gives an indication of how the sushi was made
■ Sushi is incomplete without cucumber and freshness. And the cut of the vegetable is important for taste