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Oriya cuisine spices up syllabus

Bhubaneswar, Feb. 22: The growing demand for Oriya cuisine in top-notch hotels have made hotel management institutes to focus on training their students in this traditional food craft.

The syllabus in most hotel management institutes covers Indian, Chinese and continental dishes. However, under the Indian cuisine category, not many dishes from the state have been included.

“Seeing the great demand for Oriya food in the hotel industry, we have now started to train them in state-specific food production,” said Satya Prakash Mishra, principal, Biju Patnaik College of Hotel Management and Tourism.

Mishra said during a study tour to Punjab two years ago, he had noticed a large number of people outside an Oriya restaurant in Amritsar.

“Although many of us here prefer north Indian or south Indian dishes, authentic Oriya food is gaining popularity in several five-star hotels in other states. This entails a huge requirement for chefs who are skilled in this traditional food craft. If we train our students accordingly, it will enhance their employability,” Mishra added.

In the capital too, there are several restaurants such as Dalma, Dalema, Orissa hotel, Kanika (Hotel Mayfair Lagoon) and Phulbani (Hotel Kalinga Ashok) which serve Oriya food exclusively. Oriya food festivals are also organised from time to time in all major hotels.

“There was always a great rush during Oriya food festivals. Therefore, we came up with an exclusive restaurant where people can relish the typical flavours of the state. We started with the Oriya thali and have now included a buffet service. It has become a huge hit,” said Rajkumar Sharma, general manager, Hotel Kalinga Ashok.

“Tourists, especially foreigners staying at our hotel prefer Oriya food since it is subtly spiced, unlike other hot dishes that are part of the Indian cuisine.

“Customers are going for both vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian items, mostly seafood such as crabs, prawn and shrimp,” said Bipratip Baratia, deputy general manager of food and beverages, Mayfair Lagoon.

Some of the popular dishes are pakhala, kanika, dalma, santula, mahura, besara, saaga bhaja, manja rai, ambula rai, khajuri khatta, dahi baigana, kakharu danka, ghaanta, machha chudchuda, machha chhencheda, kheeri and other mustard and coconut-based items.

“Efforts are on to train students in preparing tribal cuisine also,” said Arya Kumar Panigrahi, principal, Institute of Hotel Management Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition at VSS Nagar.

“There are several appetizing dishes, which are similar to northeast Indian and southeast Asian food. “We are training our students to recreate the vanishing regional flavours,” said Panigrahi.

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