When we all were unanimously cursing 2019 for being a bad year, little did we know that the year that would follow, i.e. 2020, is going to be even more surreal? From March coronavirus started impacting our lives, and, it stands at nearly 19.6 lakh positive cases and 5.9 lakh active cases as we write.
While COVID-19 has impacted all the industries, more or less, its ramification on the travel industry has been quite huge. Everything – right from tourism to restaurants – is bearing the brunt, and, although it looks like India has yet not near the peak, it is seen that people now indeed have started going out and living their lives once again, this time in the ‘New Normal’.
As now the light at the end of the tunnel can be seen, we touched base with the Executive Chef of ITC Maurya, Rajdeep Kapoor to know, as we are in unlock 3.0, should people feel encouraged to go out and dine in? And, here’s what he had to say.
“Guests’ eating habits and preferences will change a lot. Earlier travelling was all about experiencing food, luxury, cultures, etc. Sustainability, health, hygiene, safety parameters will become the new luxury. Hotels and restaurants that will follow Standard operating procedures and safe distancing norms will be trusted by the guests. A ten-year strong “Responsible Luxury” ethos underscores ITC Hotels culinary brands and initiatives to present innovative cuisine experiences while adhering to high standards of food safety and hygiene.”
The chef also spoke about the 3 preventive measures that a restaurant should take to ensure the safety of the customers amid the pandemic, and the following are the same.
1. Following safe distancing norms while presenting a unique and responsible dining experience to the guests
2. Following ITC’s ethos of Responsible Luxury, use of sustainable food products that are caringly sourced and mindfully prepared while adhering to our WeAssure programme, high standards of food safety and hygiene
3. Use of technology and innovation to ensure contact light dining (including digital ordering and e-payment solutions)
He also included that at ITC Maurya they have adopted stringent measures and protocols, including mandatory temperature checks for all chefs and food and beverage associates.
Speaking about maintaining distance in the kitchen, Kapoor stated, “Reinforcing its globally acknowledged Responsible Luxury ethos that seeks to create a better and secure world, ITC Hotels has launched the path-breaking ‘WeAssure’ initiative. In a first for the hospitality industry, the discerning guests of ITC Hotels will be reassured by accreditation by National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers (NABH) - the leading standards organisation for sanitation, hygiene, safety and infection control practices. ITC Hotels is also partnering with DNV GL Business Assurance, one of the world’s leading certification bodies, to ensure stringent clinical levels of hygiene and safety. These assurance certifications will stand testimony to the rigorous hygiene protocol being put in place to ensure the safety of guests and associates at ITC Hotels, across India.”
The executive chef further spoke about what would be new on the menu of ITC Maurya that would be keeping people hooked on it. “ITC Hotels takes pride in curating menus for unique food experiences with local offerings from the region for diners across all major cities in India. Our endeavour will be to curate mindfully prepared dishes keeping in mind the wellbeing of our guests.
With changing customer preferences, ITC Hotels has a designed takeaway menu – Flavours and Gourmet Couch for customers.”, said Rajdeep.
He further stated, “At ITC Maurya we have implemented stringent measures and protocols, including mandatory temperature checks for all chefs and food and beverage associates. A special take-out counter has also been enhanced with hand sanitisers and thermometers to corroborate the health parameters of local food delivery partners. All these safety practices under “WeAssure” programme have been put in place to ensure a memorable dining experience for the guests at the comfort of their home.”
After too many serious questions, we asked on a lighter note as to which state’s food, the chef himself cannot resist, and what is their speciality?
“Being born into a Punjabi Family, I love Punjabi food. The local cuisine of Punjab is heavily influenced by the agriculture and farming lifestyle prevalent from the times of the ancient Civilization. Locally grown staple foods form the major part of the local cuisine. Punjabi cuisine is known for its rich, buttery flavours along with the extensive vegetarian and meat dishes.”
Well, while coronavirus has changed completely the way we used to live, we undeniably have started living and learning to enjoy the new normal. If coronavirus is pulling your spirits down, remember, what all is in store for you, including the lip-smacking menu of our favourite restaurants, that would be opening soon.
Meanwhile, stay tuned to Adotrip – Always Vocal for the Local.