Some of the highest awards an Indian civilian can receive are the Padma awards – the Padma Shri, the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Vibhushan. The Padma awards are given to individuals who have done exceptionally well in a range of fields such as medicine, social work, literature and education. In a move that has delighted chefs across the country, the Indian Cultural Minister, Mahesh Sharma recommended that chefs should be considered for the awards too.
Sharma (rightly) stated that if an individual can be awarded for excelling in fields such as literature, visual arts or music, then chefs should also be awarded for their cooking skills, which can also be seen as an art.
“The Ministry of Culture recently received a proposal to include the art of cooking in the list of Padma awards. Cooking is an art. If there can be Padma awards in other fields of art like music, tabla, why not cooking? We studied the proposal and sent a recommendation to the MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs),” said Sharma in a statement.
Till date, Tarla Dalal is the only culinary figure who has received a Padma Shri in the ‘Others’ category in 2007.
At a book launch in Delhi, Sharma met celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor and got to wondering why Padma awards were not conferred on chefs. Subsequently, Kapoor along with a host of other chefs and culinary personalities submitted a proposal to Sharma, who forwarded it to the Ministry of Home Affairs.
While a response is still awaited, you can be sure that the idea has resonated with both top chefs and lay people. In our opinion, it’s another example that highlights the burgeoning food scene in India.