India has always been known for its varied cuisines and recipes that go a long way back in time. As a mark of tribute to India’s food culture and its traditional, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) in collaboration with YES bank, is hosting the National Conclave on Indian Food Culture in the Delhi on 21 August. Soon enough there will also be a National Recipe Archive as an online portal “FOODCAST”, is set to be launched alongside the conclave. 

The deliciousness of a meal has always been attributed to its preparation, and while India takes pride in its delicacies, it’s always important to give due recognition to the background and history of gastronomy in India. FSSAI has initiated the Conclave in an effort to boost awareness and dialogue on Indian food culture and engage people to make more informed food choices.

The quintessence of India’s food culture has always been a holistic approach to fulfill the health needs of the local people. With the traditional and local nutrition based food choices, the country has been balancing between preparing, eating and digesting food. The conclave comes at the time when we are a global economy featuring more of international lifestyle and less of homeland. Thus, the conclave aims to promote awareness for the need of culinary entrepreneurship rooted in indigenous food tradition of India to help states as well as centre to enrich from the culture beyond just tourism.

The panelists at the conclave include Shri Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog; Smt. Rashmi Verma, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism; Dr. Sunita Narain, Director-General, Centre for Science and Environment; Ambassador Gautam Bhattacharya, Deputy Head of Mission—Embassy of Sweden;  Aman Nath, Neemrana Hotels, amongst other dignitaries, food thinkers, writers, and entrepreneurs. The conclave will be inaugurated by celebrated Chef Sanjeev Kapoor. Top-brass of food companies like Britannia, ITC food, Bikanerwala etc are also supposed to join the panel discussions.

The conclave will feature opinions of panelists regarding International Initiatives for Promoting Regional Cuisines, Documentation and Archiving of Traditional Foods and Culture, Implementing Food Safety, Creating Trails and Itineraries for Domestic and International Tourists, Providing local food guides and authentic culinary experiences and finally the Role of Food Industry in Promotion of Traditional Foods.

One of the major highlights of the conclave is the launch of FOODCAST, an online portal that curates recipe and ingredients from different parts of the country, with a view to building a national food archive. 

With the cross-section of stakeholders including central and state government authorities, food scientists and historians; chefs; food writers and authors; experts; corporates and multi-nationals; bloggers; restaurateurs; food revivalists; and influencers, the conclave will address five key issues: Developing a National Recipe Archive, Creating and supporting local Food Hubs, Facilitating and Branding Safe Food Streets, Supporting and recognizing regional Food Festivals and Encouraging Food Trails.

One of the major highlights of the conclave is the launch of FOODCAST, an online portal that curates recipe and ingredients from different parts of the country, with a view to building a national food archive. FSSAI plans to ensure revival of our culinary heritage, promotion and recognition of local and regional recipes and helping people to make more informed food choices. The work of sourcing and vetting some basic recipes has been initiated, but every State would need to participate to enrich and update this initial database, for a more holistic representation of their rich regional and local cuisines.

Another interesting happening at the event would be taking a step forward towards Food Hubs. In an attempt to amplify the cultural experiences at tourist locations, the state governments will create food hubs to give the complete cultural experience at the place. Such food hubs could offer popular and unique local and regional dishes, demonstrate relevant cooking techniques and showcase food wisdom that has evolved over the centuries. Local businesses and street food vendors may be engaged to set up outlets and provide well-priced traditional foods of that region.

Taking forward the idea of bringing forward the cultural and specialised food experiences, the well-known food streets would be focused on by setting benchmarks for hygiene and sanitary conditions which will be pre-decided by FSSAI and state government bodies.

As the food speciality grows, the conclave would also address the possibility of special food festivals happening everywhere to showcase popular dishes, representing preferences of the local community and establishing ecological links. The goal is to have high quality regional food festivals that are professionally managed events, true to the region’s food story and community spirit. 

To enhance the popularity of food trails, Indian Food Culture could have its own certification system based on certain pre-requisites and promote such food trails through tying it in with all the other pillars e.g. they could be displayed through the FOODCAST portal, made a part of the Food Hub concept or integrate recognized food streets as part of their repertoire.

Mr. Rana Kapoor, MD & CEO, YES BANK and Chairman, YES Global Institute, said, “YES Global Institute is proud to be associated with The National Conclave on Indian Food Culture. This is a pioneering platform to encourage chefs, culinary entrepreneurs, food safety and policy experts and tourism professionals to work together to preserve and promote India’s rich culinary heritage. We believe that India’s traditional creative and culinary knowledge soft power can become a strong pillar of Brand India.”

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