Thursday 23 May 2013

Bloggers Table at The International Institute of Culinary Arts, New Delhi

If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, 
you can become it.
                                                                     - William Arthur Ward
How many of us dare to dream? Even if we do dream, how many of us have the courage to pursue our passions to live that dream. Last week, our Bloggers Table had the opportunity to meet at the International Institute of Culinary Arts, people who were brave enough to take that one step to lessen the gap between their dreams and reality. Yes, here I am talking about meeting IT professionals, dentists, engineers and people from various walks of life, who gave up their full time professional jobs to pursue their passions and are now living their dreams to become a chef. 
The International Institute of Culinary Arts, which is located in the by lanes of the famous Hauz Khas Complex is founded by Mr V.S.Datta, who is himself a hospitality industry stalwart with more than 4 decades of experience in hotels and hospitality industry.  Admirably, he is also a recipient of  'Lifetime Achievement Award" for his contribution to the hospitality industry. To run the institute he is helped by his son Arjan Datta, who is the Chief Operating Officer at IICA, and also a graduate of  Hospitality Business Management from Manchester, U.K and his daughter-in-law Rupreet Datta who is presently the Manager Operations at IICA. A Mechanical Engineer by profession, she too followed her heart and after completing her training as a chef at IICA joined in the family venture.                                          The institute offers various courses accredited by Edexel and City and Guilds including Hotel Management, Culinary Arts, Diploma in Bakery and Confectionery. They also offer short term hobby courses in International Cuisine, Chocolate making and Patisserie. All courses offered at the IICA are hands on - the first 6 months are spent at the institute and thereafter  there is 4 months of industrial training provided in a five star hotel and further 2 months of examinations and practice. The faculty consists of a panel of highly experienced chefs with a varied experience in working in some of the best hotels in our country and abroad.  With a class structure of no more than 15 students in each course ensures that every student receives  personal attention from the chef instructor. The best part is that IICA does not have any age limits for admission to their course, unlike many other top culinary institutes in our country, which means that even if you are over 40 like me, you still have a chance at having a go at following your dreams.
 IICA also plans to open a second campus in Gurgaon, where it will launch its first ever cafe institute and one stop shop for all bakery equipment. Living in Gurgaon, this is something that I am really happy about and looking forward to!!
We were all given a tour of the training kitchens where we got to meet the chefs and watch the students in action. Looking at them working with so much dedication and concentration, you really couldn't tell that they were barely four months into their course. It was a pleasure to watch them cook and create what we gathered was our lunch, making us all salivate in anticipation of what lay ahead. 
Learning from the best - we watched awe-struck as the chef skillfully spun the sugar and turned it into a beautiful golden ball. It was magical !!
A student working with great concentration at cutting the chicken.
After the tour of the institute which was quite informative we sat down to begin our meal. We started with a cool glass of lemonade and a freshly baked basket of bread served with a plate of herbed butter.
For salads, there was the classic Salade Nicoise - a beautiful combination of tuna, eggs, tomatoes, potatoes, olives and greens dressed in a light french dressing. It looked fresh and tasted delicious - a perfect start to a great meal.
 Next  came the Soupe a l Oignon, a classic french onion soup with a gratinated baguette topped with Gruyere cheese. The soup was light and the seasoning just perfect.
For the Entree, there was Pan seared Sole with sauteed spinach and lemon butter. Simple with a delicate lemon flavor, it was cooked to perfection. 
In the main course was Poulet Saute Chasseur - Hunter styled Chicken with bundle of vegetables and chateau potatoes.The flavors were spot on and the meat  tender and juicy.
 The plating was beautifully done with great attention to every detail -shards of caramelized onions, the buttery rich potatoes and the perfectly done bundle of vegetables. 
I loved this bundle of vegetables accompanying the chicken.
The star of the show, which undoubtedly won everyone over, was the Mangue Romanoff, a simple cream and fruit dessert. The fruits were fresh and the sweetness in the cream just enough to bring out the flavors of the fruit. The shining sugar work crowned on the top of the glass making the dessert look so pretty and elegant. 
It was so delicious that I managed to polish off the whole glass clean.
 Just when we thought we had reached the end of our meal we were surprised by the entry of the cutest looking Petit Fours - tiny slices of cheesecakes shining like bright jewels.  Even though they looked quite inviting, I was absolutely full and could manage only a tiny bite. 
There was not a single thing in the whole menu that did not work for me. If I hadn't actually witnessed the students preparing these dishes, I could have sworn the dishes could have been made by a trained chef in a five star hotel - they were all so good!!
It was an absolute pleasure to visit IICA. I would like to congratulate the faculty for doing a commendable job in maintaining such high standards in training their students. We at Bloggers Table wish them all the best for their future ventures.

Along with me on this French adventure were:
Aishwarya @ Aishwarya Eats
Charis @ Culinary Storm


  1. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful article with us.

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