Nourishing people, nurturing the planet

Ahead of World Food Day (October 16), CE speaks to chefs about how they are planning to highlight the critical role of water for life on earth and water as the foundation of our food
Image used for representational purposes.
Image used for representational purposes.

HYDERABAD:  World Food Day (October 16) is a day of global significance that aims to raise awareness about hunger and the need to ensure food security for everyone. In 2023, World Food Day takes on even greater importance as the world grapples with the challenges of a changing climate, population growth, and the ongoing consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s theme, is ‘Water is Life, Water is Food. Leave No One Behind’ aims to highlight the critical role of water for life on earth and water as the foundation of our food. CE speaks to chefs about how they are planning to raise awareness about it.

According to Chef Kailash Gundupalli, Director of Culinary, Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre & Hyderabad Convention Centre, “As a chef, I believe in using my culinary artistry to convey the profound theme ‘Water is Life, Water is Food. Leave No One Behind.’ In each dish I create, I weave a narrative that highlights the indispensable role of water in the world of gastronomy. Water is not just an ingredient; it’s the lifeblood of our food. By showcasing this connection on every plate, I aim to awaken a deeper awareness among diners about the critical importance of water in nourishing our planet and our bodies. Through my culinary creations, I hope to inspire a broader commitment to water conservation and responsible sourcing, ensuring a sustainable future for all.”

Despite significant advancements in agriculture and food production, the world still faces a daunting food security challenge. According to the United Nations, around 9.2% of the global population, approximately 690 million people, are undernourished. This alarming figure emphasises the urgency of addressing food security issues on a global scale. 

“As a chef, I aim to raise awareness about the pivotal theme of ‘Water is Life, Water is Food. Leave No One Behind’ for World Food Day 2023 through a multi-faceted approach. We will design a special menu featuring water-intensive ingredients, offering diners an opportunity to experience the connection between food and water.

Collaborating with local farmers practising sustainable water management to ensure there is focus and spotlight on their efforts. Menu labelling with water footprints will inform customers about water consumption. Social media campaigns, partnerships with water charities, and sustainable kitchen practices will amplify the message. Engaging with diners directly, and hosting collaborative events, water tasting sessions, and interactive workshops will foster understanding and inspire action toward responsible water usage and conservation. Through these efforts, I hope to emphasise that water is the lifeblood of our food and the key to a sustainable future,” shares Chef Prem Pogakula, Executive Chef, The Westin Hyderabad Mindspace.

World Food Day 2023 reminds us that achieving food security is not just about producing more food; it’s about doing so sustainably, ensuring equitable access, and reducing waste. It’s about nourishing people and nurturing the planet simultaneously. 

“I am passionate about the art of cooking, we are committed to raising awareness about this crucial issue. Through my culinary creations, we have incorporated locally sourced ingredients by showcasing the symbiotic relationship between water conservation, agriculture, and the dishes we create. We intent to educate our guest about the water footprint of various foods and how choosing locally sourced, water-efficient ingredients can significantly impact our environment through my culinary journey.

In the recent years, at Radisson Hyderabad Hitec City we have been hosting tasting sessions featuring dishes made from drought-resistant crops, highlighting their importance in regions facing water scarcity. By offering a sensory experience, we hoped to convey the message that every meal choice we make can contribute to a sustainable, water-conscious future, ensuring that no one is left behind in the quest for a nourished and hydrated world. Even in our restaurants, we have been practising a glass half full philosophy in order to reduce the massive amount of water wasted,” says Chef Chakradhar, Radisson Hyderabad Hitec City. 

As individuals, we can make a difference by making informed choices about our diets, reducing food waste, and supporting initiatives that promote sustainable agriculture and food security. Together, we can create a world where everyone has access to nutritious food, and where our planet’s resources are cherished and protected for generations to come.

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The New Indian Express