Top honchos turn chefs for underprivileged Lucknow children

Lucknow, Aug 13 (IANS) Come August 14, on the eve of the Independence Day, the high and mighty of the land of Avadh are coming together to make a difference.

More than 50 eminent personalities from different walks of life — bureaucrats, writers, film-makers, chefs, officials, police men, journalists, academics, industrialists and politicians — would be donning the chef’s apron and putting their culinary skills to some good use.

Under the aegis of the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Uttar Pradesh Child Rights Commission and the Pankaj Badouri Culinary Academy, the event is being organised in the state capital to cook for some 500 impoverished orphans and homeless children.

People behind the noble cause informed IANS that the event would be the first of its kind in this part of India and was aimed at bringing the haves at par with have-nots and ring in some goodness.

“The whole idea is to be seen standing by the side of the needy children and I am sure other than being fun, the whole do is going to bring the privileged in close contact with the children who are not so lucky,” said Gaurav Prakash, who planned the event.

Master Chef’s first winner and a celebrity cook, Pankaj Bhadouria, said “the community kitchen is an effort to bring together the residents of the city to cook for the underprivileged children and start a new and lovely, enriching partnership”.

And so a long list of food items to be prepared by the influential is being readied for the event that would take place at PB Culinary Academy on Sunday.

The food packs for the 500-odd children would comprise, other than fruits, a range of freshly cooked biscuits, mouth-watering cup cakes, a nutritious drink and a bevy of vegetarian rolls.

All this would be cooked on the spot by the likes of Principal Secretary (Tourism) Navneet Sehgal, his artist wife Vandana Sehgal, film-maker Muzaffar Ali, District Magistrate of Lucknow Raj Shekhar, senior IPS officials Navneit Sekera and IG of Lucknow A. Satish Ganesh, and politicians Aradhna Mishra and Juhi Singh.

Also chipping in would be industrialist Kiron Chopra, fashion designer Asma Hussain, Sachi Singh, Chief Minister’s Secretary Partha Sarthy Sen Sharma, educationists Carlyl Mac Farland, Arshita Das, Jagdish Gandhi and eminent folk singer Padma Sri Malini Awasthi, Vice-Chancellor of the King George’s Medical University Ravikant and Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences Director Rakesh Kapoor.

Prakash said the cooked food would be wheeled to the orphanages and other shelter homes. The food served would be hygienic and meeting all quality standards.

Chairperson of the Uttar Pradesh Child Rights Commission Juhi Singh told IANS that the motive behind the initiative was also to reflect the concern and care of the state government towards these hapless people and educate the society to do their bit for the underprivileged. “This is our own small way of giving back to the society, in whatever small measure,” she said.

Gaurav Prakash informed that “almost all those invited have happily accepted the invite” and preparations were underway to make the event momentous, something which goes beyond just photo-ops.

Most participants however pointed out that they are not the best of cooks but happy to participate.

“In our lives we have cooked something or the other at some point but this is going to be different and I am very exited to be part of it,” said Mala Mehra, a socialite.

(Mohit Dubey can be contacted at



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