Celebrating Women Of Food

 

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To every woman whose ever been thwarted only to rise up and take over, here’s wishing you a very happy women’s day. My name is Rukmini, I blog at Trumatter and today we will celebrate a few good women who’re taking the heat, the burns, the fire, the abuse, the humiliation and sleeping in a closet in the unforgiving, demanding space of a commercial kitchen. They are gutting trout, cleaning gills and tossing the innards. They are carrying cakes weighing 80 pounds, working day in and out, crying out the back door. They are sweating, they are line boys and they are chefs. The kitchen doesn’t discriminate who’s cooking and so shouldn’t we.

It’s ingrained in our head you know. Through times and incessant creative drilling, an image of a chef has been planted in our head. It is that of a plump man with a wide stretched smile, pointy moustache and a slouching chef’s hat leading you to the restaurant. Like many a lathering of butter has gone into making his face a happy plump one. Like lard or nothing!

Believe me you that women are sharing the kitchen space with equal fervour and in equal numbers as men: just that often in the game of slicing and dicing in whose to receive the culinary fame, men still dart ahead in this game. But its time.

Chefs, and women at that, tease curiosity and these women have stormed into the male bastion and made a mark in an arena that’s predominantly tread by men. What a privilege it is to bring to you all a these wonderful Indian Lady chefs who are racing it like Marco & a few snippets of best women chefs whom our ace food bloggers thoroughly admire.

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Ritu Dalmia, Diva, Delhi: Co-owner of the popular restaurant Diva (in New Delhi), Ritu Dalmia’s love affair with Italian food during her travels to Italy as a teenager fuelled a love so strong that it went onto make her one of India’s best recognised faces in the culinary world. With two shows ‘Italian Khana,’ and ‘Travelling Diva’ under her belt, Ritu also launched Depot 29, in Safdarjung Enclave last year., should you feel like visiting her shrine. Imagesource

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Madhu Krishnan, ITC Grand Maratha: A woman who does magic with food, Madhu was specially credited for her contribution to the West View, ITC Maurya which opened in 1996. She moved on to ITC Grand Maratha where she did her magic once again to make it one of hotspots of great food. Her biggest contribution to the Indian Culinary scene is perhaps introducing ingredients like scallops, cheeses, olives and Parma ham, which are lightly cooked. In a time where raw and uncooked was believed to be flawed, she broke the notion with her delicious rare menu. Imagesource

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Kamini Jha, The Oberoi: You thought a woman should be a pastry chef right? Here she is in an eternal duel with the tandoor. Kamini is the chief chef of The Oberoi and is famous for her Tandoori style of cooking which has been turning heads. But why Tandoori? “The day I decided to become a chef I wanted to delve in Indian cuisine-for its diversity,” she says. Source

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Madhumita Mohanta, Caridges: A bully at school, a renegade foodie and an ace chef at large now- Modhumita has worked in Singapore, Bahrain and Kuwait before she joined Claridges. And she echoes our feeling that for women commercial kitchen and chef as a woman’s career choice was tough: She says,”When I joined the industry in the late ’90s, it was really tough but things have changed now.” Source

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Kishi Arora, Foodaholics: Kishi Arora spearheads Foodaholics and is a pastry chef by profession. Trained from the Culinary Instritute of America, Kishi specializes in baking and was awarded the best international scholarship. Having worked in the Four Seasons hotel in California and Singapore, Kishi has now settled to head her own brand. Source

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Veena Arora, The Imperial New Delhi: Working relentlessly for 9 years and still going strong, Veena Arora is the Chef De Cuisine or the Executive Chef at The Spice Route Restaurant in The Imperial New Delhi and she is the epitome of hardwork and dedication. Her work with Thai cuisine lead her to receive the “Best Lady Chef” award at the recent National Tourism Awards. Source

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Nita Nagaraj, Corporate Chef, Jaypee Hotels: “I hated it in the first month and was ready to quit, may be because the actual action hadn’t started.” Well, if one of the most eminent corporate chefs in the country feels like this, imagine how gruelling it must be out there. But she is 55 {a little more than that now} and she is killing it. Source

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Manisha Bhasin, Senior Exec Chef, ITC Maurya: Manisha Bhasin has 24 years to back her and she is confident, level headed and outright gregarious. One of the finest chefs in the country and one who’se served President Obama, Manisha Bhasin looks up to Chef Bill Galanger for inspiration. Source

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Nazneen Nikhat, ITC Sheraton: A petite one of 5 ft but look at the burden she carries on her shoulder. She carries the weight of the entire bakeru and confectionary at Sheraton on her shoulders, completing Atlas tasks one baked goods at a time. Leading a team of 8, Nazneen is only 28 and has already made us much proud. Source

And to bring this happy blog to a fitting end, here’s a sneakpeek into what our favourite {and famous} food bloggers have to say about that 1 Lady Chef in their life whose proven to be of tremendous significance and influence.

“For me the best woman chef is my Nani who is no more and that space is now taken by my mom. In fact for people to believe that I mean what I say I made her open a small business within my company Foodaholics. – Kishi Arora, Chef, Foodaholics

Follow her on Twitter: @kishiarora

On Facebook: Foodaholics

I have too many favourite women chefs, but my absolute favourites would be Madhur Jaffrey & Christina Tosi. Jaffrey for her breakthrough work with Indian cuisine abroad and taking it beyond chicken tikka masala. On the other extreme is Christina Tosi of Milk Bar with her quirky take on desserts, and also the one who triggered off the ‘naked cake’ trend. – Tarika Singh

Follow her on Twitter & Instagram – @tarikasingh

Blog: “To the T” 

“Julia Child for my inspiration. My favourite quotes comes from her, inspires me everyday, defines me. Specially this, “Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.”” –  Deeba Rajpal

Follow her On twitter & Instagram: @vindee & @passionateaboutbaking

Website: Passionate About Baking

 

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