The South Indian Chefs Association organized a tour of Chefs to Europe and I have tried to bring out the essence of this extraordinary tour in this series of daily diary writing. Of course we did not get time to write during the tour but with modern hand phones, cameras and our own memory I am penning this and tried to put together the experience for benefit of those interested to know about the tour of this kind has been conducted for the first time in India.
I would love to start from day 0 and 1 though a lot of work was done behind the scenes by Chef Jugesh Arora the Chief Architect of the tour, Chef Sheetharam Prasad and Parthiban. The hard work that was done behind the scenes prior to the actual tour is being highlighted in the next article.
Day 0: Sept 10
The bags are packed to detail and Amuda (my wife) ,who accompanied me on this tour were all exited to go. We had one additional reason to get more excited than others as we would have a chance to meet our daughter in Germany either on course of the tour or surely after the end of the tour as planned earlier. I was wondering just to pack our bags and align our documents it was so much of work and my thoughts naturally were about the organizers and their loads of work!!
Bags are packed and ready to go,
As we exited the taxi and went on to check in our baggage at Bangalore Airport , a bit of wrangle there as we had to pay some amount for excess baggage! We were carrying pickles, papads , honey et all apart from the wonderful coats designed and executed by Cuisiners Clothing , Chennai. Soon I bump in to Chef Selvakumar from Mysore and had great time catching up and reminiscing good old times as Chef Selva started his career with me in early 90s. Soon other team members from Bangalore joined up, the youth Brigade of Chef Rana Dominic Gomes and Chef Gopal Jha. Chef Anver Zaki had left for Mumbai by earlier flight. One of the airline employees appear on the scene with an envelope and Chef Gopal appeared relieved to receive the same. It was Chef Zaki’s power bank that he had packed in the check in baggage and was removed by the airline and was nice of them to have passed it on to us, imagine a long tour without the power bank.
Bangalore Chefs at Bangalore Airport
Selfie @ Mumbai Airport
Day 1 / September,11
Scene then shifts to Mumbai Airport where we joined the team of chefs from Chennai and after all formalities we were off to Frankfurt. We were warmly received by Mr.Jagdish Prasad of Blanco ( the hosting company in Germany, Blanco manufactures some top of the line fine Kitchen equipment) and after a small bus ride we were at this quaint medieval town err village of Bretten. This place has preserved the old heritage buildings and it was a sight to behold for us. Off went the cameras and chefs were busy clicking away pictures. Oops! then I realized my folly of leaving back my hand phone with the charger in bus. This was a bit of dampener and spent some time in making others a bit anxious and a few frantic calls were made to alert the bus driver about the same. I was assured that something will be done. We were at this small but beautiful hotel Krone.Welcome Tea ceremony German style was on offer that included some well thought out mini brunch with some freshly baked breads , smoked salmon, fruits et all.
Frankfurt to Bretten 158 Kms Courtesy Google maps
Tea At Bretten
A bit of wash and change and then went for a small guided tour of Bretten by venerable Mr. Schmitt who was in a medieval dress and he then went on to explain the heritage and culture of the place. The square behind Hotel Krone was a beautiful venue and walk through the town was the one that set the mood for our tour. The weather was quite chill especially for part of the group that is accustomed to weather of Chennai.
Mr.Schmitt – our guide in Bretten
After couple of hours of the tour it was time for dinner. By this time the coach had come to transport us to the dinner venue and along came back my much missed hand phone!! What a relief to get that back, you seem to be nonexistent without the phone in your hand and that’s modern day life. For dinner we were at the Lowenthor. A Lovely place and we were transported back in times with the dinner experience. With some aged fine beers that came out of sparkling wine bottles was really a treat. To know that the place has a tradition dating back to 1701 AD was a story by itself. It was time to curl up and catch some sleep!
@Loewenthor , Bretten since 1701 !
A tour and more so such a professional tour requires immense amount of planning and execution. Series of mails that we received from Parthibhan is a testimony to this activity. Travel Plans, accommodations, tying up with sponsors, getting visa, arranging professional uniforms etc was a momentous task and team headed by Chef Jugesh Arora did this to perfection if I may say so!
The first taste of tour came at The GRT Grand hotel hosted by Chef Sheetharam Prasad where in all chefs had assembled to complete the pre visa formalities of assembling the documents and measurement for our chef coats. This meeting also gave an opportunity for the chefs to get to know each other a little better. Visa center in Egmore, Chennai I am sure would not have seen so many Chefs under their roof on a particular day. With the amiable guidance by the VFS global associates all went well and smooth.
Pre Tour at GRT Grand !
For me it was a bit of a different experience though because I planned for an extended stay to meet my Daughter hence separate return tickets, change in Visa application and similar activities were to be incorporated. All through this Parthiban was epitome of patience and coordinated with zeal and enthusiasm.
The Chefs Team that was on the tour (Courtesy FB profile).