-Swaminathan Balasubramanian (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Chennai: U Yeshwanth Kumar,16 and a resident of Chennai has bagged four Silver medals at the renowned Culinary Olympics 2020, Germany, the top most culinary competition held for chefs around the globe. However, on the other side, despite representing the nation, the young chefs from other nations had much to speak compared to what Yeshwanth can share.
Master Yeshwanth Kumar represented India in four various categories namely Classical Vegetable and Fruit carving, Live Vegetable, and Fruit Carving, Artistry made from Pastillage and Gum paste. It is a matter of pride for India as he bagged Silver medals in all four categories. In an era where many countries treat their chef-participants on par to the sporting stars, India has a long way to go to recognize those who hold our flag in various nations.
Being a Chef is in the ‘DNA’ of Young Yeshwanth Kumar, son of Umasankar Dhanapal, a winner at Culinary Olympics 2012 and 2016. Yeshwanth explored his passion when he was 9 and has won at various National Culinary Competitions in India. He is also the recipient of the ‘Best Young Chef Award’ of South India Chefs Association, presented in 2018. In addition, he has also traveled to Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, China, and the Czech Republic for advanced training and development from esteemed Culinary Artists.
“Other countries offer government jobs for the winners in the Olympics. In fact, I was the one who stood alone in the entire crowd. This should change. I request the government to encourage young talent and recognize their efforts through motivation”, Yeshwanth told ‘ChefBharath.com’ on the sidelines of an event organized by South India Chef’s Association (SICA) to felicitate him.
The association, with some of their key officials, went to welcome him in the Airport while he returned home calls it a proud moment. “We are proud of his prowess and expertise and honored to share his success. We laud Yeshwanth Kumar for his achievements at the Culinary Olympics as he is a testament to the future of following one’s passion. President of SICA K Damodaran says, “Yeshwanth is dedicated, highly skilled and has proved himself time and again at the Culinary Olympics. He is the future of Indian Culinary excellence.” Yeshwanth competed amongst 2000 chefs from 70 different countries. He is the youngest to excel in the oldest Culinary Competition and is the first to win four Silver medals in 120 years of Culinary Olympics history.
As Umasankar Dhanapal, his father says “Yeshwanth has been extensively training for six long hours every day from 2017 to attain this title. We
encouraged him to opt out of regular schooling and pursue education through National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS). This gave him enough time to focus on studies while also pursuing his passion and literally carving his career. We are proud of his work and hope every parent allows their child to follow their passion and work towards it”.
“Yeshwanth is a multi-talented Chef. I admire his skills and am pleasantly surprised to see such finesse at this young age,” says Chef Sheetharam Prasad, General Secretary of SICA, Corporate Chef of GRT Hotels & Resorts. He also mentioned that “Promoting the talents of Young Chefs like Yeshwanth and getting them recognized globally, is the ultimate aim of SICA.
Chefs not willing to bring kids to the kitchen:
Speaking on the trends on why most of the Chefs not willing to bring their kids to the kitchen, Umashankar says, “Having seen the dark side of the kitchen in large hotels, most of the Chefs in India will not encourage their children to enter their profession. Most of us would have heard the story of a reputed chef who could not attend the death ceremony of his mother.” He also added that Yeshwanth has been brought up with telling both sides of the coin that happens in a star hotel kitchen. “I am sure if the working standards of the Indian chefs enhance, I am sure we will be in a position to produce more Yeshwanths in our country. From Cook to Chef, we had evolved. But how we can look at our physical and mental health is the million-dollar question.”, he concludes.
While we are in an era where Chef as a profession is not a taboo anymore and the profession is in the mainstream, it is the duty of the state and central governments to encourage young talents like Yeshwanth to represent the nation everywhere.