In the midst of a strict lockdown in United Kingdom , an Indian origin Chef was working , stirring different ingredients in a temple kitchen to dish out more than 25000 – 30000 meals to the hospitals. It gives him immense satisfaction that he could serve the people who were in need . This gesture , this description of entire exercise took me to more than two decades back when the same hands of the Chef as a young student were stirring ingredients in the quantity kitchen of the college and one of his friends was ‘ yours truly’.
The satisfaction for him to serve people comes from the fact that he used to genuinely like cooking and dishing out different delicacies for friends and patrons . The name of the Chef is Kedar Joshi . I remember our assembly on our first day of our college – Maharashtra State Institute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology known as food craft institute earlier , we found a common ground to converse in the fact that we were staying close to each other . This meant for next three years we would be going to and fro to the college together alongside on a bicycle for first two years and then sharing a bike during the last year . Many of us had come to the course as a second option Kedar had clear interest in cooking . The three year course itself was not easy as it looks from outside , with 13 subjects which included accounts , hygiene , French apart from core industry subjects .
Next three years Kedar went on to capitalise on his liking for food with hard work , 7.30 am to 4 pm in the college and going for out door catering ( ODC) to earn some money . Communication skills was not his strength then , but equipped with a fiskars knife , chef cap , white chef coat and two volumes of Modern Cookery , he went on skill himself for the future . From learning to make basic sauces , soups , desserts , curries , bakery , continental food to quantity kitchen it never looked like he wanted to come out of the kitchen . After all there were other subjects like food and beverage service , house keeping , front office and others , he had his eyes set on kitchen. But whether it was participating in food festivals or canteen activity , he would always be behind the counter dishing out something or the other . With his Chef coat and checkered trousers he already looked and behaved like a man on the job . He got selected in a campus interview in a leading chain of five star hotels . The salary offered was 1800 Rs per month . While some of us thought we were worth more , Kedar was firm with a long term vision and grabbed the opportunity . He went on to work there for 4 years before working at a five star property in Mumbai for next three years . Then he went on to go to UK and worked in an five star property before settling down as a Head Chef for last seven years at ‘ Crown’ part of leading chain ‘Young Hotels and Pubs’ UK which has more than 250 pubs .
So what’s changed in the last two or three decades with the Chefs . Kedar says that there is a lot of thrust on innovation and making the food more interesting and appealing . Way back till the mid 90s , we had no internet connections , the books available were expensive and the only learning resource was the college library . Today you type one word and you will get sea of information , visuals and videos . Young aspiring students should capitalise on this he says . But that’s not enough he says , to be successful it is important to love what you do, then it doesn’t feel like a job to be a done . Persistence in work , sticking to what you like pays in the longer term , so no need to look at your first salary, he says .
And in his case although he came from the most humble background , he had a firm support from his parents and knowledge and blessings from our teachers .
Every dish prepared is a piece of art and although you get the feedback within minutes , food as a supreme form of art is yet to get it’s due world over . This is true not only about food but also the artists or the Chefs behind the beautiful , tasty and flavourful dishes that we enjoy. We know many celebrity chefs but there are thousand of chefs also working in the core of the industry .With International Chef’s Day , It’s time we celebrate and salute these men and women who give us loads of happiness . Chef Kedar Joshi is one of them , in fact he is our very own Super Chef from Pune.