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The construction of Indian Culinary Institutes (ICIs) at Tirupati and Noida is all set to begin, with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Indian Culinary Institute (ICI) Society and the National Buildings Construction Corporation Ltd. (NBCC) yesterday at the Ministry of Tourism, New Delhi. The MoU was signed by Preeti Srivastava, Joint Secretary & Ex-officio Director, ICI on behalf of ICI Society and Rajendra Chaudhari, Director (Commercial) on behalf of NBCC. Secretary, Tourism Vinod Zutshi and Joint Secretary, Tourism Suman Billa also graced the occasion.

Indian Culinary Institute (ICI) at Tirupati with its Northern Regional Chapter at Noida are being set up by the Ministry of Tourism. Foundation stones for both the Institutes have already been laid. The Govt. of Andhra Pradesh has transferred land measuring 14.21 acres at Tirupati in favour of ICI Society for construction of ICI Tirupati.

The main objective of setting up of ICI is to institutionalise a mechanism to support efforts intended to preserve, document, promote and disseminate the Indian Cuisine, meet the sectoral requirement of specialists specific to Indian Cuisine, as also of teachers, and promote Cuisine as a Niche Tourism product. The ICIs are proposed as Institutes of Excellence that will offer structured regular programmes of study specific to culinary arts leading to graduate and post graduate level degrees, promote research and innovation, organize demand driven certificate and diploma courses, document and create data base specific to Indian cuisine and commission studies and survey on cuisine.

The need for ICI is felt as the formal education specific to Indian cuisine, a culinary art, with pan-India sweep is conspicuous by its absence. There is no regular credible institutional source at apex level for supply of cuisine specialists to the sector. Also, at present there is no institutional mechanism to document and disseminate information related to cuisine.

In India at present, there is dearth of ideal training ground to groom chefs of international standards. To fill this void, the ICIs would provide the appropriate training ground at par with the culinary schools functioning in different parts of the developed world. The edifice to be created would be exclusive and one of its kind at selecting and training the best talent through intensive programmes of one to three years duration. This effort will facilitate building a super-speciality food production work-force to assure positions of Chefs and beyond in the hospitality industry.

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