The Chefs’ Association of Pakistan (CAP), member of World Association of Chefs Societies (Worldchefs) along with its strategic partner the College of Tourism & Hotel Management (COTHM) launched the country’s first National Culinary Team of Pakistan on 5th January 2016. Provincial Minister for Education, Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs Rana Mashhood Ahmed Khan was the chief guest at the prestigious ceremony held at COTHM-Lahore Main Campus.
Senior journalist Mujeebur Rehman Shami also attended the ceremony as the Guest of Honour. A large number of professionals from the country’s chef-community and hospitality industry were also present at the occasion.
Addressing the audience, Mr. Rana Mashood Ahmed Khan congratulated the CAP, COTHM, chefs’ fraternity and the hospitality industry of Pakistan at the historic event. He said, “The presence of Pakistani cuisine and Pakistani chefs at international culinary forums, events and competitions was always badly missed. Now with the evolution of this culinary team, the country will get recognition in this arena too.”
He said that a team of girl and boy students having expertise in preparation of Pakistani foods will raise the Pakistani flag high in international competitions, launched from the platform of College of Tourism and Hotel Management. He also announced that preparations have been completed for holding national food championship in Pakistan next year.
The minister said, “The engagement of youth in positive activities is the need of the hour. I am sure that Pakistan’s talented youth will make the country proud through their performance on this platform.” He appreciated CAP and COTHM’s single-handed efforts in realizing the need and taking up this initiative to raise a national culinary team to represent the country globally. Counting COTHM as the best hotel school of Pakistan, he said, “COTHM’s contribution in the HR development of the country through skill-based education and training programs is outstanding. This institute has earned good name for Pakistan,” he added.
Addressing the audience, Mr. Waqar Ilyas Khan, Corporate Vice President, CAP said, “The development of National Culinary Team of Pakistan comprising the country’s best chefs is a landmark achievement made under the banner of the CAP. Now the world will come to know how amazing and skillful Pakistani cuisine and Pakistani chefs are.” He added, “The Team will represent Pakistan in the international culinary competitions around the world and thus foster goodwill and soft image of our country internationally.” Mr. Ahmad Shafiq, Secretary General CAP also spoke on the occasion. He said, “Despite the fact that our cuisine offers a unique experience, it has never been introduced and promoted internationally as a distinctive food which has its own identity. It has rather mistakenly been identified as Indian cuisine in most parts of the world. To create a separate identity of Pakistani cuisine, the National Culinary Team of Pakistan has been created.”
Further explaining the objectives of this initiative, Mr. Shafiq said, “Representation and promotion of Pakistani cuisine will be pursued to let the world acknowledge its separate identity, to get our chefs international recognition and prestige, and be made a part of the international forums and organisations which deal in culinary arts, dining establishments and other related fields.”
Concluding the launching ceremony, Chef Muhammad Zubair, Patron-in-Chief of CAP extended the vote of thanks. He thanked the chief guest and others for taking out time from their hectic schedules to grace the occasion. He also thanked the chefs’ fraternity and hospitality industry of Pakistan for making invaluable contributions to the field in their respective capacities.
Culinary competitions are held regularly around the year in various countries. Hundreds of teams participate in these competitions. The National Culinary Team of Pakistan will participate in international culinary competitions around the globe and will play a vital role in promoting the soft image of Pakistan internationally. Representation at international forums through such ventures will reinforce our identity as proud people of substance. The world will come to know about our rich food, language, culture and heritage. Business and employment opportunities for our people will multiply internationally and above all, we will be able to create a soft image of our country across the world. Keeping in line with its objectives, the 11-member team, in its first competition, is going to represent Pakistan officially in culinary competitions to be held in Turkey in February 2016. The team members are: Mohammad Raees, Mukesh Khaimiji, Ali Abbas, Shumaila Zafar, Abdul Manan, Falak Gohar, Jahangir Hussain, Mohsin Randhawa, Zahra Ibrahim, Mohammad Razzak and Rizwan ul Haq.