Indian Chef Karan Mittal Conferred Irish Honour -- Rising Star of the Year
By Deepak Arora
NEW DELHI, Nov 9: Popularity of Indian cuisine is gaining prominence worldwide. However, its the magical touch of a chef that makes a big difference. Our very own Delhi lad, Karan Mittal, is creating waves in Dublin with his magical michelin touch. Karan Mittal is now Head Chef at the award-winning Ananda Restaurant in Dundrum, Dublin. Ananda is Ireland’s number one fine dining Indian restaurant.
Karan's popularity can be gauged from the fact that he was recently honoured as the Rising Star of the Year 2018-19 by Ireland's prestigious Food & Wine Awards. He has also won bagged Best Young Chef Award from Irish Curry Awards.
"I feel humbled by receiving these awards. It is recognition of my food policies," said Karan.
Remember, Karan is just 25. He grew up in India's capital city, Delhi, where all the family pressure on children is to study economics or become a chartered accountant. And Karan was no different. As he was good in studies, he took economics. But his heart was not there. It was not an easy journey, he says.
"My inner belief and passion was to be a chef. I received tremendous support from my family -- mom, Anjana, and dad, Rajeev. And then there was no looking back," said Karan.
He quit a degree in economics and took up a training program, STEP, at the Oberoi Hotel Group in 2010.
The S.T.E.P. – Systematic Training and Education Program – is a three-year program and the only one of its kind in India, which offers hands-on training and 50 candidates are picked from 5,000 annually, making it highly competitive and sought-after among young Indian chefs.
Soon after finishing the program in June 2014, he joined Indian Accent flagship restaurant in Delhi. This is the only restaurant in India on the San Pellegrino 100 Best Restaurant List. He worked there for one and half years under chef Manish Mehrotra. Karan learned modern Californian cuisine with Japanese influences from head chef Daniel Patterson and was exposed to different exotic ingredients and learnt new techniques of cooking.
In December 2015, Karan was selected as the opening chef for the Indian Accent Restaurant New York. He was only 23 when he moved to New York and his focus was on training staff and creating menus. "As I was the youngest (all other chefs were senior to him), it was a big challenge to implement the changes."
In March 2017, he was selected for six months as a chef consultant for the opening of Aroqa in New York, where he created an innovative Indian tapas menu and set up a new kitchen. He was sent to Delhi for three weeks to learn few traditional Indian home cooking styles and ulta prantha (Indian bread) etc.
"As I was passionate about cooking, I worked 16 to 17 hours for the success of these restaurants," he added.
Dublin restaurateur Asheesh Dewan head-hunted Karan and he joined the team in Ananda in July 2017. Since arriving to Dublin, Karan worked for few months under Executive Chef Sandeep and, thereafter, promoted as Head Chef.
Since joining Ananda team just a year ago, Karan has already gained critics’ and customers’ favour with his ingredient-driven menu and the introduction of a bold contemporary tasting menu that marries his knowledge of Indian cuisine with his love of Irish ingredients.
At the young age of 25, Karan is truly a rising star of the Irish culinary scene. The seasonal tasting menu in Ananda is the only one of its kind in the country and is visually stunning and masterfully cooked.
Karan aspires to balance vibrancy with subtlety, taste with texture and consistency with contrasts with Ananda’s Seasonal Tasting Menu, which changes every few weeks.
“I am seeking to sharpen my skills as a chef in a global platform; to excel in my passion for cooking and touch the hearts of diners through my dishes.”
Ananda was awarded ‘Best Restaurant in Leinster 2018’ by Good Eating Guide and Karan’s tasting menu was featured in “The 7 Top Tasting Menus in Dublin” by Image Magazine.
China handpicks 31 high school students to develop AI weapons systems
HONG KONG, Nov 9: The Chinese government has for the first time recruited 31 high school students to take part in an experimental Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven programme to develop intelligent weapons systems at the elite Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT).
The 31 students, including four girls, will be the first batch to take the four-year course of “experimental programme for intelligent weapons systems”.
The recruits will begin training as the world’s youngest AI scientists at BIT, which is among China’s leading weapons research institutes, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post (SCMP) said in a report.
More than 5,000 had applied for the 31 seats. The programme was launched at the headquarters of Norinco, one of China’s biggest defence contractors on October 28.
The news about the new batch was published on the website of BIT but subsequently deleted. An online snapshot of the BIT article provided details about the programme and what it aims to achieve.
Quoting a statement from the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the BIT website article said the new batch was an effort to implement the idea of “establishing science and technology as the core combat capability,” and “…cultivating urgently needed talents and providing important support for building a first-class national defence science and technology industrial system”.
Chen Pengwan, dean of the College of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, introduced it saying “…the institute decided to establish the experimental class for intelligent weapons system for the development of weapons and defence and national defence equipment, preparing for modern warfare”.
“We must be independent and do things that others have not done. But at the same time, we should do more,” Cui Liyuan, a student representative, was quoted as saying in the BIT statement.
“Each student will be mentored by two senior weapons scientists, one from an academic background and the other from the defence industry,” said the programme’s brochure, quoted by SCMP.
China is second only to the US in the fast-developing AI industry.
“By the end of 2017, China had 18,232 AI technology research talents, accounting for 8.9% of the world’s total and was second only to the United States, which accounted for 13.9%,” official news agency Xinhua said in a report in September.
“The market value of China’s AI industry reached 23.7 billion yuan (about $3.5 billion) in 2017, with the growth rate expected to reach 75% in 2018,” the report added.
China clearly is investing a chunk of that money and technology to develop smart and unmanned weapons.
Diwali a special opportunity to reflect on India-US friendship: Trump
WASHINGTON, Nov 7: Greeting people on the occasion of Diwali, US president Donald Trump said the festival of lights is a special opportunity to reflect on the bond of friendship between India and the United States.
Trump said first lady Melania joins him in sending their best wishes for a very happy and memorable Diwali. He also recognised the “extraordinary” contributions of Indian-Americans in the development of the United States.
“Diwali is a special opportunity to reflect on the bond of friendship between the United States and India,” Trump said in a special Diwali message issued on Wednesday.
“We recognise the extraordinary contributions of Indian-Americans to the strength and success of our nation. Their achievements in business and industry, public service, education, scientific research, and other fields continue to represent the very best of our American virtues and the spirit of the Diwali season,” he said.
Asserting that Diwali is a joyous and spiritual time marked by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists, Trump said lighting of lamps on the occasion symbolises the true meaning of Diwali, which is triumph of light over darkness and good over evil.
Republican National Committee (RNC) chairperson Ronna McDaniel also greeted people celebrating Diwali.
“We wish you and your family and friends a meaningful celebration of the victory of light over darkness. We at the RNC will continue to honour the traditions of diverse communities that enrich and strengthen our country,” she said.
Diwali celebrates triumph of light over darkness: Mike Pompeo
WASHINGTON, Nov 6: Greeting people across the world observing Diwali, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday said that it is a festival that celebrates the triumph of light over darkness.
He also said that it is also a time of reflection and prayer when observers perform seva, or selfless service, without any expectation of reward or payment.
In a Diwali message wishing people a joyous and prosperous holiday, Pompeo said, “Also known as the ‘Festival of Lights’, this special occasion celebrates the triumph of light over darkness.” The US Secretary of State said that nearly a billion celebrants from around the world will light the diya, or lamp, “as a reminder that good ultimately overcomes evil, understanding over ignorance, and kindness over animosity”.
“As those celebrating decorate their homes with vibrant lights, I would also like to recognize the achievements of our friends in the United States observing Diwali who make important contributions to our country on a daily basis,” Pompeo said.
Senator John Cornyn, who is co-chair of the Senate India Caucus, said that Diwali marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year, and millions across the globe – including hundreds of thousands of Indian-Americans in Texas – celebrate the Festival of Lights.
“These lights are physical, including lanterns, candles, and fireworks, but for those who light the flames, they hold a deeper meaning. Diwali celebrates awareness of one’s inner light and light’s triumph over darkness. It celebrates goodness over evil and hope over despair,” he said.
Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu elected to the US House of Representatives, in a video message said that Diwali is such a special time of year where people all over the world are coming together to light their lamps in honour the return of Lord Ramachandra to His kingdom after many years in exile, and celebrate the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance.
“Unfortunately, in our world today, we find ourselves surrounded by darkness and divisiveness, based on race, gender, politics, or religion. We see political leaders and influencers, people in the media, unfortunately fomenting bigotry and hatred, for their own personal or political gain,” she rued.
Rather than engaging in constructive dialogue, treating each other with respect, disagreeing without being disagreeable, too much of the public discourse is dominated by hatred, tribalism, and character assassination which unfortunately has also led to threats or acts of violence, Gabbard said.