In an exclusive interview with Restaurant India, Pawan Aggarwal, CEO, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India talks about the evolution of Indian cuisine.
What is the whole concept about?
The whole concept revolves around bringing back the goodness of Indian food culture. Indian food is extremely rich in itself that Indians need not to go anywhere. India has a rich culinary heritage that has evolved over centuries. Local food habits are primarily based on a holistic approach to nutrition as required by local people. FSSAI through this initiative is committed to strengthen the knowledge and wisdom of regional cuisines and culinary practices. FSSAI along with other Govt organizations, corporate, domain experts such chefs, bloggers, food authors and writers et cetra and other key organizations aims to co create a credible source of information to promote safe and wholesome food and connect people with our rich food culture. Our food has the potential to make Indian food recognised as a brand globally.
Why do you want to promote Indian cuisine when every International food hub wants to satiate Indian palate by their cuisine?
India has a rich food culture. It’s our culinary heritage that we are promoting. We want to revive that old tradition i.e., the way we used to cook. There is so much to learn from Indian cuisine then why to go anywhere else?
What do you think is necessary to expand Indian cuisine?
The unorganised sector is the foremost hurdle for FSSAI which needs to be solved. We have done a conceptual framework for food cast. Our focus is to recognise food cities/ streets and then organise food trails which is quite unpopular in India. Food trails are the food walks which provide an exposure of various regional cuisines. Also it would become easy to pick up the best elements from the variety to brand those cuisines. Then we could take the best food globally.
Does food cast consist all the categories of food?
Perhaps with the time but right now we are focusing on regions like Assam, Hyderabad, Lucknow, et cetra. They have that natural taste with their food plus they are healthy at the same time.
Are you introducing any app for that?
Yes, we are launching an app which would be enabled on all androids and iphones.
When food trails will be introduced in India?
It will surely happen soon. Experts are working on that and we have given them a sense of timeline which they will carry. Also we are fortunate that things are not happening as rapidly as other countries did. We believe that ‘slow and steady wins the race’.
How would you deal with the addiction of noodles, maggie and momoz? Don’t you think Indian food consist lots of oil and spices?
Obviously they are addictive and it is a huge challenge in itself but I think most of the people eat them in peer pressure. If everyone is having it doesn’t mean that you should also have it. We will run a campaign about the rich Indian cuisine to tackle this challenge as we are thinking of inviting Michelin Star Chefs to express Indian food. FSSAI thinks that food can also be a big source of tourism which in turn could promote the cuisine. People now days really want to eat healthy and Indian cuisine has that calibre. It is a myth that Indian food is unhealthy, it totally depends upon the consumer as they say, “consumed in moderation is consumed correctly”.