On the occasion of 25th Anniversary of Diplomatic relations between India and Turkmenistan, first ever two days Indian Food Festival was held at Yyldyz Hotel Ashgabat in Turkmenistan. The festival was hosted by Indian embassy in Turkmenistan from May 22-23, 2017. The Indian food festival was officially inaugurated by Ambassador of India to Turkmenistan Dr. T.V. Nagendra Prasad and the first Deputy Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan Vepa Hajiyev graced the occasion. The festival was well received with applause from the food lovers from various diplomatic circle of the world.
Machindra Kasture, National Award winner Executive Chef of Ashok Hotel New Delhi was especially flown to Turkmenistan to make it a grand success. On first day of food festival Chef Kasture exhibited a wide range of Indian dishes such as Tandoori Salmon, Bhoona Ghost, Murgh Makhani Andaaz, Palak Paneer, Gulnaar Biryani. The Indian dessert included Honey Gulab Jamun and Gajar ka Halwa. On second day he demonstrated Indians snacks like Dabeli, Sabudana Vada, Chicken Tikka, Pathar Kebab, Patrani Macchi and Shrikhand.
Dr. T.V. Nagendra Prasad, Ambassador of India to Turkmenistan speaking to MUMBAI MESSENGER over the phone from Turkmenistan said “The response for Indian food festival was very enthusiastic and the guests highly appreciated the Indian food preparations ranging from starters (Kebabs) to Gulab jamun to Masala Chai. The next day, the ‘Food demo’ was held in the same hotel and there was huge response during which preparation of some popular Indian dishes were demonstrated by the chefs to the huge gathering. Over 120 people attended the Food Festival and this being the first ever such an event; people already have started enquiring about the next such an event”.
Dr. Prasad added “It is a privilege and honour to witness and part of the celebrations of Silver Jubilee of establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Turkmenistan in Ashgabat. India and Turkmenistan share historical relations and ‘Turkmen Gate’ in Delhi is a symbol of our age old relations. The excavations near Mary city established linkages between our civilizations. It is a great satisfaction that in the last 25 years, the relations have grown and are poised to grow further in the coming years for the mutual benefit of the peoples of Turkmenistan, with its rich natural gas resources, can be a partner for providing energy security to the growing economy of India.
It is worth mentioning here that relation between both countries started growing soon after independence of Turkmenistan. The then Prime Minister (PM) P V Narasimha Rao laid foundation of friendship which is continued till date. The visit of PM Narendra Modi in July, 2015 was a turning point in relations. Several agreements signed for expanding and deepening the bilateral relations.
During the visit, PM Modi inaugurated region’s first Yoga and Traditional Medicine Centre in Ashgabat and Mahatma Gandhi’s bust in a prominent location in Ashgabat. During the visit of Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari in December, 2015, the ground breaking ceremony for Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) Gas Pipeline Project was held. There have been several senior level exchanges between two countries.
Harpal Singh Sokhi, Grand Master Celebrity Chef, Turban Tadka fame says “I know chef Kasture for numerous years as we have worked together in Centaur hotel Juhu Beach in Mumbai. Chef Kasture is one of the finest chefs who know his job very well. The passion for food is universal but it is important that how it is prepared and presented, chef Kasture is known for creating miraculous dishes which are well appreciated all over. And I am sure his delicacies must have liked by one and all at Turkmenistan”.
About Chef Machindra Kasture
Machindra Kasture is winner of National Award. He served as Executive Chef to the President of India at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi and currently working as Executive Chef at Ashok Hotel in New Delhi.
He is lone Indian Chef who is a member of Le Club des Chefs des Chefs. It has over twenty members across the four corners of the globe. Each country is represented by the personal chef of the head of state or, if the head of state does not have a personal chef in that country, by the executive chef of the venue hosting official State receptions. Chef ‘s outstanding culinary career includes 8 years as the meal catering for formal U.S. president Barack Obama, formal UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon and Queen Elizabeth II.
Author: Sitaram Mewati
Award winning journalist