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Chef Sanjeev Kapoor Discusses Importance of Clean Cooking

In Food
February 06, 2019

Influential leaders and heads of organizations from across India came together in Mumbai to discuss the importance of clean cooking solutions and to recognize some of the most innovative cooking technologies on the market today.

Hosted by the Clean Cooking Alliance (the “Alliance”), the event at the Taj Lands End Hotel kicked off with a conversation between Dymphna van der Lans, Alliance CEO; Sanjeev Kapoor, Chef Extraordinaire and member of the Alliance Chef Corps; Narayana Murthy, Founder of Infosys; and Prasoon Joshi, CEO and CCO of McCann Worldgroup India. The speakers shared some of their personal motivations for working with the Alliance to promote the use of cleaner, more modern stoves and fuels.

“Since cooking has given me so much, what I can give back is not just quality food, but also my expertise and reach,” said Chef Kapoor. “I used to think that cooking was just about food, something that could bring joy. But the trouble with it – the fact that it can kill – was an eye-opener. I didn’t want to sleep quietly with the fact that something that brings me so much joy can also kill.”

In India, over 789 million people – nearly 60 percent of the population – depend on polluting, open fires or inefficient stoves to cook their food. Nearly half a million deaths each year are linked to exposure to toxic smoke from cooking and heating.

“Research shows that using traditional stoves reduces the birth weight of a child,” noted Murthy. “If we want our children to be strong, to be healthy, to get a good education, we need to take good care of mothers. And one dimension of that is making sure they have a modern contraption for cooking.”

“I’m very passionate about energy services and how they make people’s lives better,” said Van der Lans. “My vision is about the effective use of power. No one’s life should be limited by how they cook.It’s really important to think about the next phase of technology and innovation, and I see that opportunity here in India.”

“Where we can contribute is by telling stories,” said Joshi, whose company is working with the Alliance and other partners to implement a new behavior change campaign in Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat. “If we can inspire by telling stories of people whose lives have been transformed by clean cooking, then not only policymakers and financial institutions but people themselves will realize what a big difference clean cooking can make.”

Joshi also unveiled the new Hindi slogan for the campaign, for which the approximate English translation is, “As the smoke is disappearing, progress is appearing.” This aims to motivate people across India through the clean cooking campaign, which is a joint effort by the Alliance, Shell, Tata Trusts, McCann WorldGroup, Sambodhi, Nexleaf Analytics, DharmaLife, and SEWA.

The discussion was followed by a cooking demonstration by Chef Kapoor, who prepared a variety of dishes using several of the clean cooking technologies exhibited. The demonstration included products by Greenway Appliances, Envirofit, Wonder Chef, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd., and the Indian Institute of TechnologyBombay, representing technologies powered by solar energy, electric induction, liquified petroleum gas, charcoal, and wood.