Wednesday, September 01, 2010

IGNOU's Food for Thought

Be it xukoti (a dish made of jute leaves and rice) or chicken cooked in rice powder in Assam, Bengal's puli pithe or Hydrabadi jahaji korma or dum ke baigan and many more, these dying cuisines from different regions of India may come back to the dining table. Lip-smacking dish macher paturi, puran poli, eromba, iddyappam, puttu kadala, khar or Goan patolleo, etc. will soon be subjects of study at the Indira Gandhi National Open University's Maidan Garhi campus in New Delhi. After getting the go-ahead by the board of management and academic council recently, IGNOU will soon set up a first of its kind culinary institute in India that will offer courses in Indian gastronomy and regional cuisines.

According to IGNOU Vice-Chancellor, V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai, "the introduction of the new courses will help in documenting, preserving, developing and promoting Indias regional cuisines. Every region or state has a cuisine that is unique. With the passage of time, some of the most authentic recipes are already lost or dying. They need to be documented. That apart, the institute will offer professional programmes starting from certificate courses to Ph.D. It will also offer MBA with specialization in Indian culinary art".

According to IGNOU officials, the institute will be a part of the School of Tourism and Hospitality Services Management. The courses will begin from 2011-12 academic session. Dedicated to the study of Indian culinary art, this institute will carry out large scale documentation and research programmes in social and cultural anthropology and other related sciences and publish scientific papers and books concerning regional cuisines in India. The courses will also include comparative studies of other cuisines. "The programmes will also include aspects on restaurant management, hospitality sector and tourism", said Pillai.

The university, at present, is in dialogue with various Swedish universities and institutes like University of Gothenburg, Chalmers University of Technology, Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology, among others for collaboration. The programmes to be offered by this institute will be full-time classroom courses, and IGNOU is going to recruit experts in regional cuisines as faculty. "Chefs, hotel and restaurant managers, will also be involved. We hope the institute will contribute to make Indian cuisine a well-known part of international gastronomy and also help India's hospitality and tourism sector", said Pillai.

Source: The Times of India, September 1, 2010

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