Mother of Fests
As my fiftieth post of this series, I thought I would write about the fest that still continues to be a top draw in Kolkata from its rocking beginning in 1986 and now into its 34th uninterrupted year and onwards.
The idea was mooted by our senior batch but late into their final year and it fell upon us the first all-India batch to make it happen. Many meetings amongst us caused a rift and putting up a non controversial candidate from our faction will pip the opponent to the finish post. And that’s how I got nominated for the post of the President and won with the help of support of the student community and conducted the inaugural food festival at the Institute of Hotel Management, Catering Technonolgy and Applied Nutrition on the 22nd of February, 1986 and was named Epicurius Festivus (Gourmet Nite). The zeal to make it happen can be gleaned from the fact the opposing candidate was also included in the committee to ensure success.
The challenges were varied as we had to generate the funds, the college would provide the infrastructure and hence we went on a city tour to get sponsorship. We did get enough to set the ball rolling and also to get a live band on our first outing was the icing on the cake thanks to Ravi Pandey and Omkar.
The kitchen team came up with an ambitious menu which had a special Bengali counter as well as the classics like pate de foie gras, suckling pig with apple in the mouth, roasted leg of lamb. The entire buffet was over 110 feet long and the set up was in a covered tent and had a curtain covering the length of the buffet. At the ribbon cutting, one tug of the curtain dropped the entire length revealing the sumptuous buffet behind . The kitchen team lead by Arindam Chakraborty, Kuljit Singh and Jaideep did a fabulous job for over a week in the preparation of the delicacies
The tickets were very moderately priced as well. At Rs 100 for a couple was a steal but our marketing got affected due to another event happening in the city and in the end we landed up selling single entries for Rs 60 and half the students from the neighbouring Marine Engineering College landed up for the musical evening and food extravaganza. The wooden dance floor with garden lights all over our ground lent to a lovely atmosphere. We even had a big advertisement put up near the National Library which was designed by another friend, Bhuvan Kulshreshta.
We came out with a souvenir for the day with all the advertisements and write-ups which was handled by friends Partho Nandy and Amit Ghosh. The restaurant service team headed by Gopal Bhattacharya, Harbinder and Sanjeev Deva, outdid themselves in their designated duties and at the end of the incredible evening all of us were deadbeat but euphoric. One unfinished business of collecting the sponsorship money from various advertisers was handed over to the next president Ravi Krishnan and Anirudhya (Finance team) for follow up.
The security detail was lead by the biggest guys in the college and headed by a black belt in Kung fu, Bhasin, Shedha while the front office was headed by Aparna while the decoration was the handiwork of the housekeeping department and Harkirat Singh. Thank you buddies
My role in the entire event was more of communication and cover page design and was behind the scenes which was evident from the fact that not a single picture was captured but the memories are permanent and non-erasable. The support from the faculty was total in all the departments.
Thank you IHM — Kolkata my Alma Mater for the training ground that enabled me and my batch-mates to make their living from this profession imbibing its motto — Service before Self.
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