Young culinary artists showcase products to mark Chefs Day

Published October 21, 2021
Young Pakistani chefs at work on International Chefs Day. — Photo by writer
Young Pakistani chefs at work on International Chefs Day. — Photo by writer

KARACHI: Young chef Nimra Usman turned over a small stainless steel bowl and carefully placed it in the middle of her white ceramic 13-inch round plate. Picking up an icing bag filled with mashed potatoes she started making an outline around the bowl with hands that were trembling slightly. “I want my Chicken Roulade to look and taste the best,” she said.

Similar sentiments were shared by the other young chefs celebrating International Chefs Day here on Wednesday. Donning aprons and long white coats, they were all gathered around tables, bent over plates and platters as if they were doing delicate surgery.

Organised by the Chefs’ Association of Pakistan (CAP) in collaboration with the World Association of Chefs Societies and the College of Tourism and Hotel Management (COTHM) at a local hotel here, the celebrations also included a chefs’ walk as well as cake cutting. But as they say “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”, everyone was more focused on creating the best dish during skill showcasing.

Nimra told Dawn that she earned her graduate diploma in International Culinary Arts in two years. “It should have taken me less time than that but there were many interruptions in the course due to Covid-19,” she said.

But Usman Jamal, her junior working with her on the same dish, was hoping to finish his course on time now that the lockdown has been lifted. “I am not just looking to find a job with a five star hotel here. I also want to bring my own innovation to Pakistani cuisine,” he announced.

Meanwhile, Kazeena Thanvi was busy at the chopping board, cutting cucumbers and lemons for a salad.

Gauhar Fatima was decorating brownies with a pinkish paste. “It’s pineapple puree,” she said, while explaining that she had added pink food colour to make it more interesting.

Jawwad Haider wanted to be the shawarma king of Pakistan. “Alas, there are no prizes for our delicious delights here today,” he smiled.

There was also a batch not looking very confident. They only had to offer milkshake, which looked more like tea, especially because they had served it in small glasses. “What to do? Yesterday was a closed holiday on account of Eid Milad-un-Nabi and I couldn’t shop for the right crockery, glasses and mugs,” he declared.

International Chefs Day was first celebrated on Oct 20, 2004 by the late South African chef and businessman Dr Bill Gallagher. It is now celebrated every year without fail to highlight the profession of chefs all over the world with the promise to share and pass on their culinary skills to the next generation of chefs in order to not let it die.

Published in Dawn, October 21st, 2021

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