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Changing dynamics in the culinary world – the Indian perspective, Hospitality News, ET HospitalityWorld


By Vikas Singh

The term “culinary arts” describes occupations involving the preparation and cooking of food. Culinary artists are often masters in creating newer, better, healthier food items because they constantly modify recipes. Fundamentally, culinary arts have never been considered a discipline that could be offered in educational institutions. The idea of professional training in culinary arts to produce future chefs did not exist. The hospitality industry has noticed an increase in chefs’ social standing and the requirement for skilled chefs over the past ten years due to the legendary chefs like Padamshree Chef Sanjeev Kapoor and Chef Vikas Khanna. This has changed the mindset of young boys and girls who are now interested in making a career in the field of culinary arts.

Being a chef might have seemed like a delusion a few years ago, but things are gradually but surely changing. The culinary arts industry is shifting, and many higher education institutions are at the forefront of this shift. The world where the celebrity chef and culinary craze phenomena first emerged is very different from the one we live in now. It is now brimming with possibilities, creativity, and adaptability.

The decade’s start saw Covid’s global outbreak, upending the way foodservice served the masses. The trends have been reeling and one can witness several of those paving their way into 2022 too. The pandemic brought to the fore the importance of immunity, for which menus at eateries were redesigned with inclusions of immunity-boosting dishes. Veganism and plant-based milk and meats were already seeking a dominant stance among the masses in yesteryears, but the outbreak of the novel coronavirus further bolstered this transition. Though nutritious meals were everywhere, the virus’ omnipresence stemmed the widespread opening of cloud kitchens. Guaranteeing fool-proof contactless food has not just been from the foodservice aggregators but goes back into the kitchens where the traditional cooking equipment are outgoing with smart cooking equipment taking over the reins.

While the aforementioned have become dominant to mark their way into 2022, many more rising trends are set to take over the way patrons experience their food at the restaurants. Sustainability continues to be a top priority for many eateries. By using the peels and other leftover parts of fruits and vegetables in mixes and stocks for delectable gravies, restaurants are placing more of a focus on avoiding food waste. Biodegradable packaging has replaced the predominate plastics in packaging. The ‘carry your straw’ movement initiated by a renowned café chain in abroad and India revolutionised the concept of sustainability.

Since the ripple effect has evolved further, practically every restaurant, from independent restaurants to large chains, is striving to use environmentally friendly packaging. To lessen their carbon footprint, several eateries are now investing in electric bikes for food delivery. In addition, lost recipes are being revived at an unimaginable rate. Chefs were able to re-learn and master the traditional recipes they had treasured as youngsters as a result of the Covid-induced lockdowns, which allowed them to visit their homeland and spend more time with their relatives. It is currently being extended to the customers. Many restaurants have already begun recognising the lesser-known traditional foods that are being handmade by the chefs on their menus.

Although it is believed that “food is medicine,” chefs make sure it doesn’t taste like medicine. The focus will still be on health through 2022. Much progress is made in replacing refined flour and other components with superfoods like millets to improve gut health and save expenses by investing in these cost-effective crops. Last but not least, like in past years, tech and food will continue to go hand in hand indefinitely in 2022. Tech has made it possible for food to be delivered to customers more efficiently, from raising meats to designing contactless dining experiences and navigating immaculate meal delivery aggregator networks. While preventing waste will continue to be a priority in 2022, smart appliances for commercial kitchens will increase efficiency by consuming less energy.

With each new period, Indian cuisine is evolving. Due to ultra-urbanisation, we now have a vast array of possibilities for eating whenever we choose, unlike in the 1960s and 1970s when there were fewer options for dining out with family for lunch or supper.

Consumption of food has increased with growing population and use of liquor too has tremendously increased in past 50 years. Let us go through several other aspects of changing trend of food culture of India in past 50 years.

Changing trends – Indian perspective
The hospitality sector in India is booming, and there are growing international opportunities in the food industry. Smaller independent initiatives are favourable and distinctive and are also on the rise, in addition to the standard group of hotels with some of the most well-known eateries with celebrity chefs from all over the globe. The trend of exploring different cuisines and experiencing new things is becoming increasingly popular. Due to this growth, the culinary industry is prospering outside the conventional “chain of restaurants” model.

Use of oil – Mustard oil is widely replaced by vegetable oil, soybean oil, Dalda and olive oil. Popular snacks like Samosas and Pakodas continue to exist. Chola Bhatura and Pav Bhaji are still the favourites in North, East and West India.

Introduction of new food items – Indians are enjoying Momos, Chowmein, Soup and Soya Chaap like never before. 50 years back there was nothing like Sandwiches, Burgers, and Pizza, but now even in small towns and villages small stalls are witnessed serving Chinese food items.

Non-Veg Food – India is gradually turning into a non-vegetarian paradise of the 21st century. Back in 60s and 70s, consumption of non-vegetarian food was less. Introduction of western food chains in India has played a key role in this changing trend.

Dining – Indians are now inclined towards fine dining. In 1950s, 60s and 70s, the choice of restaurants was quite limited, but now due to the cut throat competition in the restaurant business, there are more options and choices.

Home Delivery and Cloud Kitchen – Indians prefer home delivery due to waiting time in restaurants and eating in the comfort of their homes with their families. India is looking forward for options like free home delivery, online booking of restaurant dining and using phone applications for ordering food. The trend of cloud kitchen has evolved post covid.

Mode of cooking – We have switched the mode of cooking from Chulha to Oil stove, from Gas stove to ignition stove. In today’s India,Chulhas have become rare with Tandoors replacing these. Most of the Indian homes are using ovens for baking etc.

Agricultural Production – India is becoming an industrial economy which is rapidly replacing its agricultural past. More and more people are moving to cities for better job opportunities, which tend to reduce its agricultural growth and production.

New Era – Education in culinary art
India is evolving quickly because of the improvements in its educational infrastructure; the best technical and business colleges in India are now recognised internationally. Some of the courses with the highest growth rates in India are those in baking and cooking, few of which have also attracted attention abroad. Some of the top educators in the world are working with the Indian culinary institutes.

The food and beverage sector is expanding exponentially as eating out has become the new standard. Due to the high demand, the industry is providing new employment opportunities for today’s experts every day. A degree or diploma in culinary arts might be helpful for a lucrative career in the industry. Numerous universities have come forward and joined the army of training younger generations in the discipline of culinary arts. Degree programmes in culinary arts strongly emphasise on mastering the art of cooking and food preparation. A culinary arts student receives a comprehensive and well-rounded curriculum in studying food. During their studies, students are taught about food, its historical background, its societal significance, and the science behind it, as well as how to prepare food, create culinary art, and keep up with current and upcoming food trends. The programme also teaches about meat science, distinct regional and international cuisines, sensory attributes, and nourishment.

Among various universities offering unique courses in the field of culinary arts, ManavRachna International Institute of Research & Studies stands strong in creating individuals who would prove to be an asset to the food industry. The institute works tirelessly to produce the best chefs possible. After receiving proper training, the chefs who go out to explore the varied dynamics of the food sector will be a unique breed, with solid and forthright understanding, expertise, and the capability to supervise others in the kitchen while showing confidence.

Students in a culinary arts programme will learn everything they need about food, including skills and techniques, wines, and nutrition, while also learning about hotels and hospitality management, business management, food service, finance, and more.

Hence, a new generation of “foodtrepreneurs” is being developed by an increasing number of institutions due to the growing trend of entrepreneurship.

The author is program director, Faculty of Hotel Management, Department of Culinary Arts, MRIIRS





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