Chef Manjit Gill – President, IFCA

Chef Manjit Gill is a culinary professional par excellence. Reputed for his constant innovation in the world of gastronomy, his is a name to reckon with in the national and global hospitality and culinary industry.

As the Corporate Chef of ITC, his knowledge and experience comes from four decades of work in pioneering world-class restaurants curating traditional Indian food and drawing on the nation’s culinary diversity – bringing unmatched fame to concept restaurants like Bukhara – the north-west frontier tandoori cuisine, Dum Pukht – a grand cuisine from Avadh, Dakshin – specialized food from the four southern states of India, Kabab & Kurry – the best of pan-Indian kebab and curry dishes, and the recent Royal Vega – an honestly pure vegetarian food restaurant, based on the philosophy, principles and guidelines of Indian gastronomy (Ayurveda) – all of which are ITC brands – which have become Indian cuisine icons worldwide altering the perception of Indian food in the eyes of global epicureans.

Chef Manjit Gill is the first Indian honorary member of the world Chefs’ congress known as World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS) – which has recently chosen him as the Chairman of their WorldChefs committee on Culinary Heritage and Cultural.

Earlier, Chef Gill had founded the first national chefs’ forum in India, and led the way by organizing regional forums into an amalgamated Chef’s body that is recognized by the government of India – the Indian Federation of Culinary Associations (IFCA) in 2003. In 2004, Gill brought honour to our nation when he got India membership of the world’s apex body WACS with a membership of over 100 countries. As IFCA President, Chef Gill has successfully organized seven biennial Chefs’ meets for Indian Chefs to meet world Chefs.

A teacher and a leader, the sought-after World Chefs’ judge evaluates culinary fests in different countries. Chef Gill is a member of prestigious professional organisations like The Cookery & Food Association, Great Britain; Master Craftsman – Craft Guild of Chefs, Great Britain and Research Chefs Association, USA.

Chef has authored books titled ‘Eating Wisely & Well’ published by Penguin India, Indian Spa Cuisine published by Rolly Books, Fire/Water/Earth/Air/Ether – Secrets of Indian Gastronomy (2012).

It was the face of Chef Manjit Gill that launched Indian food shows on Doordarshan in 1982, bringing culinary to Indian homes of various regions – Aapka Nashta, Daawat, followed by many other national and international TV programming. But, Chef decided to focus on food as an experience for epicureans day-after-day in his iconic restaurants as the “Real Chef.”

Chef Manjit Gill (Photograph by Shailen Parker)

Felicitated with several prestigious accolades, Chef Gill’s contribution to the culinary world has been recognized in India and abroad.

Drawing appreciation for his vast body of work as a Chef, the Ministry of Tourism (government of India) decorated him with the highest honour in the hospitality profession – Lifetime Achievement Award – a first for a Chef (2007).

Among other accolades, Chef received the Punjabi Gold Award from the World Punjabi Organization for his invaluable contribution to Punjabi cuisine (2007); the prestigious Paryatan Ratan from Panjab University, Chandigarh (2016); and the Silver Certificate of Excellence in the Sheraton Culinary Olympics held in Boston, USA (1987).

As President, IFCA, Chef Gill organized the first National Culinary Art Exhibition and Competition (1990). It is to the credit of this visionary Chef, who – in order to promote Indian Chefs and cuisine at the global competitions – pioneered India’s participation at world competitions that matter. Since 2010, Indian Chefs have been competing at the biennial Bocuse d’Or – considered the Culinary World Cup, along with the World Pastry Cup – positioning India as a world food destination.

Dr. Chef Soundarajan

Dr.Chef Soundararajan, General Secretary of Indian Federation of Culinary Associations and the Corporate Executive Chef of Mahindra holidays and Resorts India Ltd., a premier holiday company in India, was conferred with Honorary Doctorate for his extraordinary contribution towards Hospitality and Culinary Industry in particular for his commendable contribution for the Chefs Profession in India. He has set up several resorts during his career spanning 34 years. He was conferred honorary member of the worldchefs.
An alumnus of Institute of Hotel management, India, he has Certification in World Cuisine from the Culinary Institute of America, New York and a fellowship from St. Nicholas University, Louisiana. Nominated to represent India as a member of World Chefs (World Association of Chefs Societies) Education Committee.

Dr.Chef was awarded the prestigious National Award from the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and the Golden Star Award from the South India Culinary Association.

He is the founder of the South India Culinary Association and Founder General Secretary of the Indian Federation of Culinary Associations and the founder general Secretary of the Chefs Guild of India. He is a certified Worldchefs Judge.

Represented India in Bocuse d’ or Global competition.

Chef Christopher Koetke

Christopher Koetke, CEC CCE HAAC Vice President, Strategy and Industry Relations, Kendall College

Christopher Koetke is a professional chef, having worked now for over 37 years in the culinary field. In the last 20 years, he has devoted his professional life to culinary education at Kendall College and at 48 other campuses in 12 countries. An expert on international education, Koetke also has his finger on the pulse of global food, beverage and hospitality trends.

Koetke earned his MBA from Dominican University in River Forest, Ill., a bachelor’s degree in French literature from Valparaiso University in Indiana, and a Certificat de la Langue Française from the Sorbonne in Paris, France. In 2011, he was honored as the Outstanding Alum from the Brennan School of Business at Dominican University, and two years later received an alumni achievement award from Valparaiso University.

Koetke has cooked professionally since 1982 in some of the finest kitchens and pastry shops in France, Switzerland and the United States. Prior to starting to work in culinary education in 1998, he was executive chef of Chicago’s critically acclaimed Les Nomades and competed on a national level.

Chef Koetke is an expert in sustainability as it pertains to the foodservice industry. He serves on many boards, writes for numerous publications, is a frequent international presenter, and has won many awards including: the nonprofit Chefs Collaborative’s inaugural Pathfinder Award in 2010, Chef of the Year for 1996-7 by the Chicago Chapter of the International Wine and Food Society, Cooking Teacher of the Year in 2009 by the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP), the inaugural Award for Excellence in Culinary Education from the Foodservice Educators Network International (FENI), the Illinois and national Association of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) Distinguished Service Awards, and the World Chefs Education Award in 2016. His cooking show, “Let’s Dish” which ran for 5 years in the USA was nominated for a Midwest Emmy.

Certified as an executive chef (CEC) and culinary educator (CCE) by the ACF—the largest organization of professional culinarians in the United States—Koetke has been an honorary member (HAAC) of the ACF’s honor society, the American Academy of Chefs, since 2011.

Chef Ramu Butler

Chef Ramu Butler is the Corporate Chef and F&B Manager with the Ramada Cochin, Vice president of Kerala SICA (South Indian Culinary Association) chapter and member of IFCA and World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS). A WACS-certified judge with two decades of experience in the culinary profession with brand names like Taj, Hilton, Club Mahindra, Ramada, among others, Chef Ramu is an active member of the Slow cooking USA.

He has won the Smart Chef National award, as well as one for Culinary Excellence at the IFCA International Chefs Conference 2015 at Chennai.

Chef Sujan Sarkar

Chef Sujan is chef and partner at ROOH, serving his interpretation of new-age progressive Indian cuisine and India-inspired cocktails located in San Francisco Bay area.

Chef has come a long way in a very short while. Awarded Times Chef of the Year in 2016, he has been running two of the country’s most successful restaurants, EkBar – a modern Indian gastro bar, awarded the 2016 Best New Cocktail Bar in the World by Condé Nast Traveller UK, and Olive Bar & Kitchen which is one of the finest European dining destination. After years of experience working in high-end eateries across Europe and few Michelin star restaurants, things got exciting when he joined Automat as Head Chef and soon after opened Almada next door; making it one of the most exclusive hideouts for celebrities in central London.