13 February 2023, New Delhi: The 9th International Chefs Conference, organized by the Indian Federation of Culinary Association (IFCA) and supported by the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, started off in New Delhi today. The first day of the event was inaugurated by the Minister of State, MoAFW, Mr. Kailash Choudhary.
To celebrate the enthusiasm of the ongoing International Year of Millets 2023, this year, the ‘nutri-cereal’- Millets has taken centerstage at the three-day culinary extravaganza, featuring several workshops, live cooking demonstrations, masterclasses, experts panel discussions and indulgence.
Upon India’s behest, the UNGA declared the year 2023 as the ‘International Year of Millets’. The resolution, sponsored by India, was supported by more than 70 countries. The Government of India is at the forefront of the celebration, led by the Department of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare.
In his inaugural address, Mr. Kailash Choudhary encouraged the boost of local as well as global consumption of millets. Appreciating the chefs’ community’s endeavour to revive the glory of millets, he also spoke about popularizing regional millet-based delicacies like ‘Bajre ki Kheech’ in hotel menus. Recalling how millets provided nutrition to ancient Indian warriors, he highlighted how the superfood could cater to people’s holistic nutritional demands. Later, he also cooked a delicious millet-based delicacy in an impromptu live cooking demonstration with the help of chef Manjit Gill, President, IFCA.
Secretary of Department of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Mr. Manoj Ahuja, who was also present at the event, emphasized the importance of millets to the world, to address the global hunger issues. In a presentation by Ms. Shubha Thakur, JS Crops (DA&FW), the audience and participants were sensitized about the initiatives along with infrastructure being developed by the Department towards positioning India as the ‘Global Hub for Millets’. As per the vision of the Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi, the DA&FW has been working in ‘mission mode’ to make IYM 2023 a ‘People’s Movement’.
Chef Manjit Gill, President, Indian Federation of Culinary Association, welcomed the guests, which was followed by a ‘Millet March Past’ by the chefs and members of IFCA. A captivating session on ‘History of Millets’ by anthropologist Dr. Kurush F Dalal spoke about how millets’ were among the first crops to be domesticated in India, evidence of consumption of millets can be traced back to the Indus Valley civilization.
One of the key highlights of Day-1 was the live cooking demonstration by Chef Satinder Shergill, who cooked delicious millet cuisine. During the panel discussion, speakers highlighted the nutritional benefits of the ‘golden grains’. Millets are considered as superfood, packed with protein, antioxidants, and other essential nutrients, which is great for human health, farmers and the environment. The slow-digesting characteristic of millets helps in maintaining blood sugar level, improving heart health and boosting the immune system.
The second part of the event discussed entrepreneurship opportunities with millets and explored various avenues viz-a-viz diversity of millets, ethnic specialities, processing & value addition and overall scope of business. A Corporate Chefs Panel shed light on the nutrition of millets along with its potential use in Hotels and Catering industry.
The Government of India has been taking numerous efforts to promote millets as an important household ingredient by promoting a robust value chain. With the help of millet-based Start-ups supported by the DA&FW, various millet food products are being introduced in the country, which has received immense popularity. From grains to ready-to-cook millet items, packaged snacks and beverages, millets have already created a buzz and are set to restore its lost glory.
The upcoming discussions over the next two days of the 9th International Chefs Conference will discuss and demonstrate millets cuisines and promote these nutri-cereals among the chefs community to make it a preferred kitchen ingredient, – be it a local, regional or international recipe.
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