Chefs Sanjeev Kapoor and José Andres are feeding India’s frontline workers | Condé Nast Traveller IndiaMay 28, 2021
Manish Gupta, CEO – TajSATS; Chef José Andrés – Founder, World Central Kitchen; Chef Sanjeev Kapoor and Chef Rajendra Nayal, executive chef, TajSATS Mumbai
In the most difficult of times, food can be a way to heal and help. Chef José Andres—owner of ThinkFoodGroup which has over 30 restaurants across the United States—has been using food to help since 2010. His non-profit organization World Central Kitchen provides meals to people affected by natural and man-made disasters all over the world. Now, in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis in India, he has joined hands with fellow chef-cum-philanthropist Sanjeev Kapoor to reach out to frontline workers in the country.
Bringing meals to India’s hospitals
The initiative, titled ‘Meals to Smiles’, is in partnership with Taj IHCL and aims to deliver healthy meals to hospitals and healthcare providers across India. “WCK’s vision to use food to empower communities and strengthen economies has positively impacted millions of lives across the globe to date,” chef Andres told CNT. “We are humbled to be able to play a small role in India’s battle against the pandemic with the support of Chef Sanjeev Kapoor among others.”
Currently, meals are being provided at hospitals in Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Goa, Hyderabad, Kolkata, New Delhi and Varanasi. The food is prepared and delivered through TajSATS—IHCL’s air catering brand—with stringent safety and hygiene standards in place. Everyone handling the food wears face masks and PPE kits and maintains complete social distancing. The meals have been designed keeping in mind the needs of the hour. “Recognizing the need for nutritious meals for the medical fraternity, the meal boxes consist of wholesome and well-balanced meals that are healthy and will help maintain satiety through the long working hours,” said chef Sanjeev Kapoor. The meals include a carbohydrate-rich main course, like vegetarian biryani with dal makhani or brown onion pulao with matar paneer. Add-ons like bread or stuffed parathas, yogurt, juice, dry snacks, chocolate, whole fruits and freshly baked lemon, blueberry or almond tea cakes are also part of the wide-ranging menu.
This is not the first time chef Sanjeev Kapoor is extending aid during the pandemic. Earlier in May, he also provided more than 500 free meals to doctors at a COVID facility in Asarwa in Ahmedabad. With the help of twelve appointed chefs, he cooked and served three meals a day for doctors working at the state-run facility. Chef Kapoor also collaborated with Taj IHCL last year to provide over 3 million meals to those affected by the first wave of the pandemic. “Collaboration is key to making a large-scale positive impact and in times such as these, uniting in solidarity of the community and those in need will only help strengthen India’s efforts in overcoming this crisis,” he explains.