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Instituted in memory of the author, journalist, long-time editor of The Times of India, and member of the Order of Légion d’Honneur, this perpetual award honors professionals who have made inestimable contributions to a deeper and wider appreciaton of the culinary arts within the country and around the world.

The Dileep Padgaonkar Citation for Cultural Understanding of India’s Cuisine will be a perpetual award. The one-of-its-kind trophy has been fashioned by a hereditary artisan in the tradition of Indian craftsmanship which has since the earliest times gained global recognition for excelling in bespoke creations of art, craft, and imagination. “Hum pyala, hum nivala” – the trophy has been inspired by this Mughal metaphor for generosity, convivial living and togethering. Designed in the shape of a pyala (cup) with a detachable lid, the trophy is chiselled from white makrana marble and is embellished with fine inlay work in sparkling silver and blue mother of pearl. Inlay is in maheen kaarigari – a rare style. The cup features floral patterns. A second perpetual award has been envisaged for 2019 – a Citation for a Visionary Emerging Chef from India.


The Cuisine India Society was envisioned in 2012 by Dileep Padgaonkar, author, journalist, long-time editor of The Times of India, a member of the Order of Légion d’Honneur and founding editor of Biblio (A Review of Books). A connoisseur of cuisine, he had an intuitive appreciation of the culinary traditions of India, as well as the world. He was as comfortable holding forth on the merits of bucheron as he was elaborating on the munificence of India’s dals. The Society which was eminently populated, had the grand ambition of heightening awareness of the wealth, versatility and sophistication of the timeless manifestations of Indian cuisine both in India and around the world.


With the passage of time and in the absence of Dileep Padgaonkar, the Society was on a virtual hiatus. The original members have since revived the initiative as a foundation with a renewed group of trustees. The Cuisine India Foundation aims to be a tech-based sharing platform, a two-way conduit between India and the world – bringing the best of the world to India and the best of India to the world. The guiding principle behind the Foundation’s operations is: active and seamless knowledge exchange. To encourage conversations, guide thinktanks, catalogue and develop recipes, and conduct culinary research at the grassroots and scholarly levels.

The Foundation is currently promoting the Hidden Tastes of Himalayan Culture, encouraging international foragers, identifying herbs, reconstructing hidden recipes. Under the auspices of the Government of Himachal Pradesh, the foundation has set up a kitchen lab at Summer Hill, Shimla where both hobby and professional chefs, botanists, researchers, cataloguers and archivists are encouraged to collaborate on the Himalayan table and carefully archive recipes from the length and breadth of the Himalayan sphere; we hope to add a fifth taste signature to the four regions of India. In the past, explorations have been made into the cuisine of Delhi and Sufi cuisine of South Asia, and efforts were successfully made towards the collation of recipes from various IHM and crafts colleges across India as a first step towards building a well-categorized database of authentic cuisines, their histories, and recipes.

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