The leading association of Culinary Professionals – ICF (Indian Culinary Forum), is constantly engaging with their members and other stakeholders of the hospitality sector to address the growing concerns of the community in unemployment. Titled as ‘Way Ahead’, the e-reach out help members interact, network and collaborate in all possible ways.
Chef Vivek Saggar, General Secreatary of the forum tells how the association is connected in this lock down and also mentoring the industry professionals. Speaking to ChefBharath.com, Vivek says countries around the world are facing an unprecedented health crisis, which has impacted all the sectors of the society and the economy. Tourism and hospitality are the worst affected as they are interrelated.
He added ” Closure of hotels as well as standalone restaurants is a big blow to the industry. Restrictions on banquets, social distancing norms making hospitality operation unviable. Lockdown, quarantine, and travel restrictions has left the sector with no business. Cinema halls and multiplexes are still on the lockdown mode and the in-house catering is on a standstill. More or less the same is the story with shopping malls. Food courts closed, Night curfew still in place has exterminated the nightlife across the country.”
Way Ahead sessions:
As a noble cause to address this concern, Vivek feels it is important to stay connected. He said “ICF took many initiatives to keep in touch and engage with its members during these difficult times. Some of them are through organised online demonstrations, series of sessions on creative learning, and need for upskilling through webinars aptly named ‘Way Ahead’. ” ICF is also conducting online competitions in association with leading brands like Quality NZ, Revone, Sunrise, Rich’s to name a few.
With all the problems mounting, when unemployment has been the highest in this sector Vivek said ICF has created an initiative called ‘ICF Job Support’ which aims bridging the gap between employers and employees. Speaking on the admission trends which are predicted to be lesser for hospitality institutes compared to last years, he said, “This is a fact, but I can call it a temporary phase. All institutes are now gearing up for online classes and also opening institutes with all the precautions in place. Directorate General of Training for example has issued SOP’s ( Standard Operating Procedures )in this regard.”
When asked how the Government can help, he says the governments should support them with waiving off the property and other taxes as they had no income. “All licenses should be renewed without charging renewal fees for one year. Allow bars to open as liquor sales are a major part of revenue. Restaurant to have normal operation time as before lockdown with all precautions in place.”, he said. Finally, he concluded by saying “We as a Community are closely Knit family and we are together today and will be tomorrow.”