CSSG has completed a cycle of important meetings between the young beneficiaries of the programme and some of the finest and globally renowned Michelin starred chefs. Bringing together some of the greatest names in cooking, eight women Michelin female chefs travelled to India to take part in a series of events hosted in Delhi and Mumbai which included Ana Ros (Slovenia), Angela Hartnett (UK), Anita Mu-Jiuam Lo (USA), Carrie Helen Nahabedian (USA), Frances Atkins (UK), Lauren Eldridge (Australia), Lisa Allen (UK) and Sonja Fruhsammer (Germany).
After these two days, the experienced chefs and apprentices gathered together in the modern kitchens of The Leela Palace New Delhi, the highlight of those events. Together, in an atmosphere both studious and of rejoicing, the girls along with the chefs cooked a variety of dishes using organic ingredients procured from their visit to the organic farm. From the palate of ingredients that were provided, the girls together with the chefs learnt to cook Pizza, a variety of Frittatas, Chargrilled Vegetables, Pastas, Marinated Cherry Tomatoes and Apple Crumble with Vanilla Cream. The beauty of these dishes were that it showcased how to use a limited palate of ingredients and create dramatically different tasting dishes.
In the meantime, interviews took place at Le Cirque. Young girls were interviewed and will have the opportunity to start their career.
All these events were extremely successful. Girls and women were able to nourish each other through encounters that were very rich on a human level.
“It’s our pleasure to support CSSG in its laudable initiative of ‘40 girls to 40 Chefs,’ and empower underprivileged girls to follow their culinary aspirations. This is something very close to the heart of The Leela, and reflects our core value to provide equal opportunities to all.We are delighted to open our doors to the next generation of young talent and give them a chance to work in the state-of-the-art kitchens of The Leela Palace New Delhi with some world-class chefs.” Mr. Rajiv Kaul, President – The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts.
“I am really happy that I had the chance to meet the underprivileged girls. I believe going to the farm, trying to make the girls understand where the products are coming from and how
important it is that the product has a quality was most important. Sometimes, even European kids don’t have the understanding of simple things like “how spinach grows”. That basic knowledge is very important to have. I was honoured I was able to cook for and with them. I am happy I was able to share a little piece of my everyday life with them. I believe that I don’t think any of them has been in a luxury environment of a 5-star property before. I believe it can be a great motivation – they saw us cooking and they know none of us comes from the richest of families on earth; we all needed to fight to get to the position we are in today.”
Ana Roš – Hisa Franko in Slovenia
“I’ve done this with CSSG for a few years now. I’m deeply struck by the young Indians I train. They’re mostly from underprivileged backgrounds and they really want to learn. All one needs to do is instill discipline, the idea that to succeed, you have to be very focused. They have the skill we teach them how to concentrate. We have a center in northern England where we also teach underprivileged young people into catering. I’d like to eventually tie this us with that. It’s one way of giving back to my industry”.
Frances Atkins – The Yorke Arms in the UK
“Just watching them throughout the day get so excited about the ingredients – it is so inspiring really to see, how far they have already come just through their initial training. And then getting them back into the kitchen and cooking with them; there was this enthusiasm that everybody wanted to be involved and everybody wanted to learn and try new things. With the right encouragement and the right support, they’ll be able to go really far. They all want to work hard and they all want to achieve; it’s just amazing to witness it.”
Lauren Eldridge – Marque in Sydney
“The culture, the people – everything here is so different. There is a lot to take in. In Delhi, we had the opportunity to see the city and we tried out some of traditional street food. It was very different, but good. The amalgamation of spices that are used in cooking here is very fascinating. The produce and spices in India are different. Once has to know how to use them in our style of cooking……we are used to the frozen Indian curry; here, the way the spices are used and dishes cooked is amazing”.
Lisa Goodwin-Allen – Northcote Manor in the UK
“As a chef, it’s extremely rewarding to teach, inspire and share your knowledge and passion for food and cooking. To see the joy and sheer awe on the faces of the youth that we shared our love of creating great food, was an experience I will always cherish. Sometimes it the simplest things in life that make the biggest impact. I believe we made a significant impact with CSSG and their exceptional work on empowering women for the betterment of their lives. Promoting the growth, physically, mentally, spiritually of young women in the creative culinary arts in a country such as India is quite an endeavour. I applaud all that you and CSSG has done.”
Carrie Nahabedian – Naha in Chicago
“The week in India was a very special experience to me. It was alot of fun to work with the girls and a great feeling that I could teach them something – even if it was just the idea that women can make something out of their lives. I am thankful I could take part in this project.”
Sonja Frühsammer – Fruhsammers in Berlin
“It was a wonderful experience; very inspiring. It’s great to see so much potential in one room. Working with the girls was very sweet.
They were very eager with no attitude which is what you are looking for when you are hiring a cook. I see that they are going to do well.”
Anita Lo – Annisa in New York