Smart Food Endowment Fund

The Smart Food Endowment Fund ensures the long term commitment to the Smart Food initiative, with only the earnings on the investment being available for spending.

The Fund was established through the kind approval of the ICRISAT Governing Board, committing the initial USD 2 million. Sehgal Foundation has also joined with ICRISAT, contributing USD 6 million.

The Fund largely supports special priority initiatives as well as the base marketing material for Smart Food.

You are welcomed to be part of the change through investment in the Fund. A one off contribution provides a long term investment. We welcome you to join. If you are excited about one particular part of the Smart Food activities or countries, the investment can be allocated to this. Your contributions will also be identified and recognition given

Sehgal Foundation and Smart Food align to intensify efforts

Sehgal Foundation is aligning some big initiatives with the Smart Food Endowment Fund to help create a bigger movement. This will bring more attention to Smart Foods like millet, sorghum and grain legumes.

Sehgal Foundation started 20 years ago, and its current mantra “Together we empower rural India,” will further be enforced with this new partnership. Dr Surinder (Suri) M Sehgal, Founder with his wife Edda and Chair of the Sehgal Foundation Board of Trustees, highlighted that “Through collaborations we can do more and bring more attention to the needs of smallholder farmers and make agriculture more profitable and desirable to grow foods that are more nutritious and more suitable to the drier tougher regions.” Read more

Young chefs heat up India’s first Smart Food reality show

Fourteen finalist young chefs from across India will fire up the burners to be crowned the country’s star Smart Food student chef. Paired as seven teams they will take on the challenge of pleasing the palate of celebrity judges and Smart Food experts at the Grand Finale of the Smart Food Culinary Challenge on 19 January 2019 in Bengaluru.

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Who will be the Smart Food student chef of India?

The Grand Finale will be held live during the ‘Organics & Millets 2019 – International Trade Fair’, at the Palace Grounds, Saturday, 19 January 2019.

Click here for the exciting teaser with culinary ambassadors fighting it out to make the final cut.

The competition kicked off with 28 teams from 16 culinary institutes across India conducted at
MS Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences on 5 December. Young chefs impressed the judges with three-course hearty meals with delicately spiced dishes — grilled veggies/meats, bright salads, freshly baked breads and soups. See about the play offs here.

The Smart Food Culinary Challenge will be the first-ever culinary ‘reality show for a cause’ in India. Boosting millets among the culinary community, the drama-documentary captures the journey of these student chefs in their attempts to bring innovative millet cuisines to the table.

Described by judges as crisp, light and fresh, the inspiring dishes by these chefs are all set to bring Smart Food into the circular of chefs and back to the tables across the country.

Skills of students of top culinary schools including the Institute of Hotel Management, Indian Institute of Hotel Management and Culinary Academy of India and the host institute MS Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences were put to test in both traditional to continental cuisine.

From foxtail millet-banana flower biryani to pearl millet ghevar, the dishes were judged by an eminent panel comprising Chef Ramaswamy Selvaraju, Vivanta by Taj, Chef Vinod K Batti – IKEA Food, Dr Anitha Seetha, Nutrition Scientist, ICRISAT, and Ms Suchitra Muralidharan, celebrity Chef from Kannada cooking show Oggarane Dabbi (Spice Box). Celebrity Chef Ranveer Brar will also join the judging panel in January.

The panel selected the top seven dishes based on the appropriate use of millets, accompaniments, taste, portion size, the degree of complexity and overall garnishing and presentation style.

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and M S Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences have devised this Challenge and partnered with the Government of Karnataka to bring this to the masses.

The ‘Organics & Millets 2019 – International Trade Fair’ is being organized by the Dept. of Agriculture, Govt. of Karnataka, in collaboration with Karnataka State Agricultural Produce Processing and Export Corporation Limited (KAPPEC) as the Nodal agency, International Competence Centre of Organic Agriculture (ICCOA) as the Knowledge Partner, and MCA as the Event Partner.

Smart Food is founded by ICRISAT and coordinated in India for millets, in collaboration with Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) – Indian Institute of Millets Research.

For more information, please contact:

Mohammed Fareeduddin at +91 9849678962 or M (dot) Fareed (at) cgiar (dot) org
Parkavi Kumar at +91 8790144001 or k (dot) parkavi (at) cgiar (dot) org

(Left to right) Chef Ramasamy Selvaraju, Executive Chef, Vivanta by Taj; Mr Sreenivas Murthy, Principal Secretary, Government of Karnataka; Dr Jagadeesha, Commissioner, Department of Agriculture, Government of Karnataka and Prof Govind Kadambi Pro- Vice Chancellor, MS Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences. Photo: MS Ramaiah University

(Left to right) Chef Ramasamy Selvaraju, Executive Chef, Vivanta by Taj; Mr Sreenivas Murthy, Principal Secretary, Government of Karnataka; Dr Jagadeesha, Commissioner, Department of Agriculture, Government of Karnataka and Prof Govind Kadambi Pro- Vice Chancellor, MS Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences. Photo: MS Ramaiah University

First Smart Food Culinary Symposium prepares ground for change in millets industry

The first of a series of India-wide Smart Food Culinary Symposia was organized for chefs from major fine dining chains and food service representatives in Bengaluru. Experts from government, training, nutrition and agriculture were on hand to ponder over challenges and opportunities. Millets were the center of discussions, and approaches to help develop the industry were discussed with Dr Jagadeesha, Commissioner, Department of Agriculture, Government of Karnataka.

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The symposium was jointly conducted by MS Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences, Government of Karnataka and the International Crops Research Institute of the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).

It was convened by chefs and representatives from leading fine dining establishments (The Embassy Group, Vivanta by Taj, Oberoi hotels, IKEA), health food companies and craft brewers (Growfit, Lipi Restaurant, The Biere Club, Jus Amazin Food & Beverage Pvt Ltd, Toit Brewpub) and Bruhat Bangalore Hotels Association.

The meeting was chaired by Dr Jagadeesha. Prof Govind Kadambi, Pro-Vice Chancellor, MS Ramaiah University and Chef Ramasamy Selvaraju, Vivanta by Taj, Bengaluru, discussed the opportunities and bottlenecks in introducing millet food options in fine dining kitchens.

Chef Vikas Seth, Culinary Director at The Embassy Group, shared his success story on introducing finger millet (ragi) tacos and the concept of using local ingredients to make global cuisines. He also noted the importance of popularizing regional cuisines with millets and making such foods a part of the hospitality and tourism industry.

Sharing findings from the nutrition study – ‘Providing millet meals as part of Mid-day meal scheme’, which was done in association with The Akshaya Patra Foundation, Dr Anitha Seetha, Nutrition Scientist, ICRISAT, brought to focus the importance of designing simple menus which can be cooked in centralized kitchens.

Apart from the lack of awareness of nutritional benefits, a key concern raised by the restaurateurs is the cost of millet grains in comparison to rice and wheat. In reply, Dr Jagadeesha outlined efforts by the Government of Karnataka to bring down the cost of millets. The first is setting up the Karnataka State Agricultural Produce Processing and Export Corporation Ltd (KAPPEC) and organizing the Organics & Millets 2019 – International Trade Fair to facilitate direct procurement from farmers. The second is a plan to set up more small-scale millet processing units to reduce the processing cost.

Chef Sridhar Krishnan from Nutrition and Nutraceutical Research Centre, MS Ramaiah University, spoke about the need for research in defining appropriate varieties and quantity of millets to bring out the nutritional benefits while balancing the taste of the dish.

During the concluding remarks, Dr Jagadeesha thanked MS Ramaiah University and ICRISAT for the support towards Karnataka Millet Mission and invited the participants to attend the Organics & Millets International Fair from 18 – 20 January 2019 at the Bengaluru Palace.

The symposium was held at MS Ramaiah University on 7 December.

Chefs cook millet-based foods for industrial canteens at the event in Bengaluru. Photo: MS Ramaiah University

Chefs cook millet-based foods for industrial canteens at the event in Bengaluru. Photo: MS Ramaiah University

Placing Smart Food in industrial canteen menus

Opportunities and challenges to bring millets into industrial canteens were brought to the table at an event held in Bengaluru to create awareness of millets among industrial caterers and to highlight the government’s role to assist. Noted chefs showcased the use of millets in recipes during discussions.

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Industrial caterers serving corporates expressed the need for food that is popular, widely accepted and inexpensive. The cost of millets vis-à-vis rice and wheat, and the limited awareness, were seen as the biggest challenges to millet introduction in corporate food culture.

While acknowledging the need for variety and taste, Ms Deepti Tripathi, Program Manager, The Akshaya Patra Foundation, shared how the pilot study by ICRISAT successfully introduced millets for children. The millet menu designed was widely accepted and satisfied the nutritional demands for improving the health of the children.

The success story of Growfit, a Bengaluru-based health food company that has introduced exclusive millet meals in their menu, was also showcased during the discussion. CEO of Growfit, Ms Jyotsna Pattabiraman, stressed the importance of research and conducting trials to develop recipes that can be widely accepted.

Dr Meghana Pasi from Aarogya World, a global health non-profit organization, added that millets are nutritious carbohydrates and should be used as substitutes for other grains, but should not replace vegetables. Ms Hema Arvind, Chief Dietician, Ramaiah Memorial Hospital, briefed about millet varieties and their nutritional value.

A demonstration session by Chefs Shyam Prasad, Shashi Sharma, Sridhar Krishnan and Manishkumar Khorwal of MS Ramaiah University showcased the use of millets in traditional breakfast, snack and dessert recipes. The session also showed participants how rice and wheat can be substituted with millets.

Mr K Ramappa, Additional Director of Agriculture, Organic Farming, Government of Karnataka and Prof Govind Kadambi, Pro-Vice Chancellor, MS Ramaiah University, addressed representatives from catering staff of the Indian Air Force, Bharat Electronics Limited and Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). Bengaluru’s industrial caterers including Masterchef Catering Services, Rajpurohit caterers, Zenith Food Solutions, Hunger box and Compass India were also present.  Health food companies, representatives from the Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Karnataka (AWAKE) and food technology students were among the participants.

The discussions also recognized the need for awareness programs among consumers for successful introduction of millet food. Mr Maheshwar Rao, Principal Secretary, Agriculture, GoK, expressed interest to collaborate with industrial caterers and organize awareness programs on millets.

The event, ‘Introducing Smart Food into industrial canteen menus’ was organized by MS Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), with support from the Government of Karnataka on 15 December. It was the third in a series of events which included a Smart Food Symposium for Fine Dining Kitchens and Smart Food Culinary Challenge for young Chefs.

The event was organized in the run-up to the ‘Organics & Millets 2019 – International Trade Fair’, 18-20 January 2019 at the Bengaluru Palace.

(Left to right) Ms Jyotsna Pattabiraman, CEO Growfit; Mr Maheshwar Rao, Principal Secretary, Agriculture, Government of Karnataka; Dr Meghana Pasi, Arogya World and Ms Deepti Tripathi, The Akshaya Patra Foundation at the event. Photo: MS Ramaiah University

(Left to right) Ms Jyotsna Pattabiraman, CEO Growfit; Mr Maheshwar
Rao, Principal Secretary, Agriculture, Government of Karnataka; Dr Meghana Pasi, Arogya World and Ms Deepti Tripathi, The Akshaya Patra Foundation at the event. Photo: MS Ramaiah University

Left to right: Chef Anto Cocagne Source: www.lechefanto.com, Chef Mick Élysée Source: www.facebook.com/pg/chefmickelysee/ photos and Chef Aissatou M’Baye Source: www.instagram.com/aistou_cuisine/.

Left to right: Chef Anto Cocagne Source: www.lechefanto.com, Chef Mick Élysée Source: www.facebook.com/pg/chefmickelysee/ photos and Chef Aissatou M’Baye Source: www.instagram.com/aistou_cuisine/.

Collaborating with celebrity chefs in London, Paris and West Africa

Smart Food cooks up momentum with culinary skills from across London to Paris, West Africa and India

Three celebrity chefs from Gabon, Congo and Senegal are finding new takers for millets and sorghum in Europe, with innovative recipes featuring a touch of ‘home’. The chefs tied up with the Smart Food campaign to show these cereals can effortlessly be turned into tasty food.

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Chef Anto Cocagne from Gabon based in Paris

Originally from Gabon, Chef Anto Cocagne has become a star of gastronomy and television in France. The Paris-based chef proposes a minimalist African cuisine with a ‘French touch’. Influenced since her childhood by both her grandmother who was very passionate about her kitchen, and her mother, a professional nutritionist, Chef Anto is very enthusiastic about the Smart Food campaign.

“My mother used to be involved in similar projects. I can easily understand the importance of the Smart Food campaign, and am very happy to contribute to it.”

In 2018, Chef Anto created and produced four recipes as part of the Smart Food campaign. These recipes were promoted at the festival We eat Africa’ (the African cuisines festival), where Chef Anto is the President of the organizing committee, and in the magazine Afro cooking’, where she is a consultant. As part of the Smart Food campaign, Chef Anto promoted the recipes during a highly popular radio program of Radio France International.

The recipes are inspired by African, European and Indian cuisines. They include sorghum crackers, sorghum flour cupcake, African Buddha bowl, creamy millet and speculoos cake.

Chef Mick Élysée from Congo based in London

Chef Mick Élysée is a London-based chef specializing in Congolese-French and African food. His love for the culinary arts started when he was very young in his home country of Congo. Now, he is a reference in the field of gastronomy in UK. In 2018, Mick joined the Smart Food campaign and contributed two millet and sorghum-based recipes that he is now promoting through various channels.

“The first time I heard about millet and sorghum was when a representative of ICRISAT contacted my team to ask if I could be the face of their new campaign, Smart Food. I had no idea about the huge benefits of millets and sorghum until then,” Chef Élysée says.

“I am an artist and a chef. Diversity is what makes my art interesting. I can now develop many recipes with these cereals. Having healthy and affordable alternatives such as millets and sorghum in one’s diet means less routine and better food habits for people. It is such a good alternative and the options are endless. Millet is as easy as quinoa or rice to cook, but can also be used as flour for pancakes and cakes, or as cereals just like oats or chia seeds,” he explains.

“Millets and sorghum are full of vitamins, minerals (phosphorus, zinc, iron, etc.) and affordable, but most importantly, very tasty! In October 2018, I was invited to FPJ Live event at UK, where I was happy to introduce sorghum and millet to professionals in the industry by cooking live a mackerel ceviche with millet salad. I knew that my mission was a success when I received lots of positive feedback at the end of the event,” Chef Mick Élysée concludes.

Senegalese Chef Aissatou M’Baye in France

In 2017, France-based Senegalese Chef, Aissatou M’Baye, launched five Smart Food recipes after becoming an ambassador for the campaign. Chef M’Baye set out on social media to demonstrate new ways of cooking millets and sorghum for a West African audience but her recipes found many takers in Europe as well.

“Millets and sorghum are rich in micronutrients and yet, have been neglected from our diets for a long time. So, it was necessary to think of new recipes to transform these Smart Foods into a savory menu. We managed to create some cool recipes, and at the same time communicate the benefits of Smart Food,” says Chef M’Baye.

Chef M’Baye publishes her recipes on the blog Aistou Cuisine. Her recipes were a big hit when the first Smart Food social media campaign launched in October 2017. Even after the campaign ended last December, her recipes continue to gain traction online.

Together, the campaign was able to reach 473,222 people. A survey conducted in December 2017, showed that the videos of the five recipes promoted online clocked 85,657 minutes (1,428 hours) of viewing time.

For more:

Blog post https://aistoucuisine.com/produit-locaux/mil-sorgho-legumineuses-a-grains-smartfood-icrisat/12/10/2017/

In the news: http://agricnation.com.ng/2018/05/21/senegalese-chef-champions-the-benefits-of-smart-food-through-social-media/

Smart Food recipes:
Peanut Smoothie (in French) (over 47,000 views) – https://www.facebook.com/aistoucuisine/videos/1508851159208179/?t=16
Sorghum Souffle (in French) (over 70,000 views) – https://www.facebook.com/aistoucuisine/videos/1499540286805933/?t=0

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Two Non-Profits Bring Smart Food Meals to Schools

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