Raju is Inspired by Akshaya Patra & Dreams of becoming a Chef
‘There is something different in the meals that are served these days’, thought Raju to himself. All the meals were tastier, had the right balance of flavours – nor was it too bland nor was it too hot; it was a perfect blend of all the masalas. 14-year-old Raju’s taste buds were very active and sensitive.
He was very curious to know what was different. He asked his friends if they felt any difference in the mid-day meals, but he knew they weren’t able to identify anything. As days passed, his inquisitiveness grew. He gathered the courage to go and ask his teacher about the change.
His taste buds were well-developed because of his flair for cooking. He would make every little effort to remake a dish into something new. He would think to himself, “What can I add today to make my dish interesting?” He would take a bite of the dish and start improvising on it with pepper, jeera, flour, etc. Even at his school - Silvassa Municipal School, he knew there was something different when compared to what was being served earlier.
He ran to his teacher who stood instructing students to wash their hands thoroughly and to stand in a straight line to wait for their turn to receive their share of mid-day meals. She told him that the food tastes different because the organisation that was serving the school meals had changed. He wanted to know more and his teacher sat down to explain about The Akshaya Patra Foundation. He was moved by the thought that he and his friends are eating meals that are prepared by professionally-trained cooks. The idea that high-quality ingredients were used to cook, keeping in mind children’s nutritional requirement, intrigued him.
He could not wait anymore, he then researched online about the NGO that served them school meals. He was fascinated with the whole process and the scale at which it functioned. What captivated him the most was that there were different recipes for one single dish and masalas were blended to suit the local flavours!
To become perfect in this profession, he feels the need to do specialisation. He watches MasterChef seasons – National and International and is inspired to re-create dishes on his own. After his school hours, he somehow takes time to watch food channels. His favourite dishes served by Akshaya Patra at school, are Lapsi and mixed vegetable sabzi. He believes that food brings people together and he wants to get down in the same profession.