Muhammad Aatif Ismaeel

MULTAN, Sep 5 (APP):Unemployed Umar was very much excited after availing job as chef in city’s reputedhotel. He was the lone bread winner for his family, living in backward area (Muzaffarabad) of the city. Eight months ago, he got admission in a culinary school and learnt chef skills with complete devotion and dedication. When he completed his six months extensive course, he was contacted by different food chains, hotels, companies and factories against handsome package forhis cooking skills. 
Umar told APP that he was satisfied after learning the chef skills. He stated that he and other members of his family were happy as they were meeting their household expenditures easily. It was all because of the culinary skills, he maintained.
     
Within short span of time, Umar empowered himself with different skills in culinary arts. In Pakistani cuisines, he got expertise in Chicken Korma, Chicken Beef Karahi, Baryani (Haiderabadi-Karachi), Nargissi Koftay, and many other dishes.

Infield of Fast Foods, he was expert in Club Sandwich, Zinger Burger, Chicken Nuggets, Shawarma, Pizza, Broast Piece etc. The 22 year old energetic and dedicated youngster also took keen interest in preparation of Chinese Dishes . He was expert in Fried Rice, Chinese Manchurian, Vegetable Rice. Some other food items including Chowmein, Continental Pasta, Alfredo Pasta, Russian salad, French salad, Coleslaw Salad, Fruit Trifle, Dodh Dulhari, Cakes and some other bakery items were also at his fingertips. Due to skills in the above mentioned cuisines,Umar was the favourite choice and demand for many food outlets in the city.

However, he joined a reputed hotel with handsome salary package including medical facility. This was information was given to APP  by Muhammad Faheem, a teacher at local culinary schoolHe further informed that he had provided training to hundreds of unemployed youngsters, both males and females for last 14 years. Faheem revealed that culinary arts or chef skills promised bright future for youth. The youth should take interest as the skills would enable them to eke out earning for their families.

Similarly,the skilled youth could also initiate their own business. Many of his students opened Fast Food shops in different areas of south Punjab and they were earning handsome amounts.

Faheem said that the skilled chef was very much different from the chef, who never joined any institute and learnt art as co-worker at any hotel. In the institutes, the students-chef were taught theory, properly apprised of kitchen management, foodsafety, special care for hygenes, how to adjust temperature of kitchen, food preservation, handling of so many orders simultaneously, injury or burn management, pests control, improve serving and food presentation to customers.

About scope of learned chef, Faheem further said that the country was witnessing change as massive level focus was laid on tourism. Tourism would surely attract millions of tourists in near future. Similarly, China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would also create opportunities for the skilled chef. Business community from across the world would visit Pakistan via CPEC initiative.

Therefore, the demand of skilled chef would likely to rise further in future. The skilled chef could find jobs at international food chains also, he added. Faheem recalled that he knew many students who settled abroad permanently after achieving culinary skills.They were earning huge amounts by working in five star hotels.
     
When questioned about profit margin in business of fast-foods, he maintained that a zinger burger was prepared with cost Rs 60  only and it was sold against Rs 200 to 350. He termed it highly profitable business. 
     
Qamar Zaman, a manager of another local institute for hotel management, said that skilled chef could earn Rs 30,000 (average chef) to Rs 500,000 (executive chef) per month, depending on their learning capabilities and leadership skills. He further informed that trained chefs were also choice of local, national and multinational companies. 
     
Qamar also revealed that skilled women chefs were also supplying delicious food items to different offices on daily commercial basis,  and earning reasonable amounts.                         
     
Chairman Institute of Food Science and Nutrition, Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU) Professor Dr Saeed Akhtar talking to APP stated that skilled chefs were need of hour. He stated that they took care of hygiene and present tasty food items inattractive way. In all ages, the people always wished for tasty and delicious food items. Now a days, customers are more sensitive and they are not ready to compromise on food safety.

Customers have aesthetic sense and they are inclined to attractive presentation and are also ready to pay more money. 
     
As the modern chefs are taught theory and latest cooking trends, their role is of crucial importance in hotel industry. He stated that unemployed youth should learn culinary arts because it offered comely returns during job or personal business.

Dr.Saeed Akhtar also remarked that chef were highly paid at international level; After CPEC become  fully functional, there would be huge demand for the skilled chefs.