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1) Tell us about yourself, stating your family, education and rewards you have received in your culinary career.

CHEF TEEKARAM SINGH: A very good afternoon to all the viewers and readers of REFT Today. To begin with, I have been in this field since 2008 and completed my schooling from Uttrakhand, then did my graduation in hotel management from Chamba, Tehri.

I got an opportunity to work at The Clarks, Varanasi, followed by Radisson Blu, Pune. Then received an offer to work as a unit sous chef at Le meridian, Dubai. I worked there for 8 years. Later came back to India in 2018. I am married and have a joint family where my mother, brother and twin sons live.

2) What are organic whole grains? Also tell about your contribution to make them a normal thing in Indian kitchens?

CHEF TEEKARAM SINGH: A whole grain is a grain of any cereal and pseudocereal that contains the endosperm, germ and bran, in contrast to refined grains, which retain only the endosperm. Some of them that are readily available such as Rajgira or Amaranth, Kuttu or Buckwheat, Sabudana or Pearl Sago, Lapsi or Broken Wheat or Dhalia, Barley or Sattu or Jau, Ragi or Millet, Bajra, Jowar or Sorghum and so much more.

As part of a generally healthy diet, consumption of whole grains is associated with a lower risk of several diseases. Whole grains are considered less harmful to our body and much mess inflammatory than compared to other refined grains. They are much easily processed too. A lot of whole grains grown in India Reconsidered gluten-free and hence they are not harmful to our bodies.

Last year, when covid just hit our country, I had come back to India and while in quarantine, I started thinking over several ways to make locally grown organic whole grains easily accessible to people and also how can we make them interesting to consume in our day to day lives.

3) You have started an organic food store in your town, what was the main reason to start with that?

CHEF TEEKARAM SINGH: Since the very beginning, I have been an organic and local food lover. Living in UAE for 8 years gave me a sense of appreciation for the local foods available here, back home. One day while searching the supermarket, I found brown rice and horse gram, which I used to consume back in India. These are considered as easily digestible food. It was being consumed by people with sugar problems and even by pregnant and breastfeeding women. For example, just like the name suggests, kidney beans are beneficial for kidney-related issues.

With covid 19 hitting us last year, many people have found a purpose in this pandemic and made the best use of it. There is also a thought, that people wish to consume but do not want to put the efforts into growing it. This is why I believe in promoting farmers who are growing such nutritious grains. We have started a chain where we buy directly from such farmers and provide it to people all over the country. In this way farmers will feel motivated in growing these grains in abundance. We make sure that they get a fair price for whatever they produce. We must keep them as a priority and make sure that they receive the main benefit of their efforts. This will not only motivate the existing farmers but also influence more people to take up this job.

4) What all dishes could be prepared with millet or ragi as a modern cuisine?

CHEF TEEKARAM SINGH: For the one who wish to try and put in efforts, there are endless possibilities. When we talk about giving a modern twist to existing grains, then I used ragi to make ladoo, barfi, samosas, papdi chat, pizza bases and cakes out of it, which turned out surprisingly well.

I believe anyone who eats a dish, first judges it with its appearance. Hence, it plays a crucial role in selling of a product. I have also tried giving the tea a better flavor and also make it a better experience. I tried making it from rhododendron flowers, angelica glauca roots, and many other locally found herbs. Compared to the not-so-pleasing taste of green tea, this is a better alternative.

I would like to give one piece of advice to everyone, that we can change our destiny only if we plan to do so. Changing our lives is in our hands and it requires a lot of effort. We should make full use of this time and also of all the resources our land provides us with. And with the hospitality industry which is nearly collapsing because of this pandemic, we must come together and help each other to get through this tough time safely. I would like to extend my support to people who are holding up together and working hard.

Chef Teekaram Singh.
Sous Chef,
Netherlands, Western Europe.


INPUTS FROM: Khatibah Rehmat and Muskan Abrol.

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