Virender S. Datta,Founder, International Institute of Culinary Arts

Virender S. Datta

Founder, International Institute of Culinary Arts

Virender S. Datta, Founder
Starting as a graduate of Hotel Catering Institute of India and Oberoi School of Hotel Administration, Virender S. Datta held diverse and challenging job positions including Executive chef, General Manager of Hotels, Founder President of Fortune Park Hotels, the wholly owned subsidiary of ITC Hotels Limited and other corporate assignments. The Founder of IICA, Datta also is the proprietor of DHMSS Group, a professional and highly experienced hotel management and consulting company.

With the mass acceptance of continental and oriental cuisines and the entry of international food chains and specialized restaurants in the recent times, the hospitality sector is facing a paucity of trained chefs in the country. This is when a versatile Chef, Virender S. Datta who has over 50 years of experience in Hotel & Hospitality Industry, took the plunge to initiate a coveted institution which will be dedicated to rendering quality culinary education to the aspirant chefs. "Being a professional chef is not a plain sailing task. It demands one to be active, passionate and hardworking at the same time. Due to the shortage, industry giants had started recruiting people who are not amply trained; the existence of International Institute of Culinary Arts (IICA) is to tackle such situation," shares Datta.

Based in New Delhi and established in 2015, IICA in a very short span of time has been able to grab the attention of students from different parts of the country through offering internationally recognized qualifications and unmatched industry exposure. "Getting the
heart-filling responses from the stakeholders of culinary education and in an attempt to reach optimum students, we have inaugurated the second campus of IICA in Gurgaon," pinpoints Datta. The institute offers three courses to the students' viz. Advanced Diploma in Culinary Arts, Diploma in Bakery & Patisserie along with a unique Hobby chef course which is for learners irrespective of age group, who want to acquire culinary skills as a hobby.

"Along with the qualified faculty members of the institute, IICA also invites professionals from the industry to assist the students in getting insights on the on-going trends in the hospitality industry"

Datta elaborates, "Apart from hobby chef course, for getting admission in the other two courses, students are asked to go through two written and one PI round, which help us evaluating their general awareness, verbal and written skills". Often referred as a premier 'Chef Development Institute', IICA boast of direct partnerships with University College Birmingham, Edexcel UK and City and Guilds, U.K. and also holds the pride of being India's first World Association of Chefs' Societies(WACS) approved culinary institute and an accredited institute of the Indian Culinary Forum since 2005. Additionally, the institute has been appointed as Corporate Chef and Food consultants by the Whirlpool.

Owing to the institutes' continuous maintenance of academic excellence over the years, IICA has bagged distinctions such as Recognition of Quality Culinary Education by World Association of Chefs Societies and awarded "The Best Institute for Culinary Arts in India" by TIME research and India News.

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Taking into consideration the importance of practical experience to become a chef, the institute has designed the curriculum as per the industry requirements emphasizing on a good blend of theoretical and practical activities. "We have entered into an agreement with nationally renowned and leading hospitality establishments in Delhi for providing our students with
regular hands-on training," claims Datta. Along with the qualified faculty members of the institute, IICA also invites professionals from the industry to assist the students in getting insights on the on-going trends in the hospitality industry. Moreover, given the robust relationship with the industry, it becomes easy for the students of IICA to complete their four months compulsory industry training.

"Even our faculty members are encouraged to take up short-term industry assignments frequently. Our faculty members have to teach for only four-hours a day and rest of the time they are expected to devote to research works. This way they will never run out of knowledge, neither in terms of theory nor in practical," opines Datta. For assuring that all the students are enriched with enough soft skills, the institute has collaborated with a local English Speaking School, where the students are sent for classes if found having communication issues. The kind of exposure students are bestowed at IICA is exceptional, as they are always closely involved with the industry and get the chance to showcase their talents from time to time.

The campus is another USP of IICA, which encompasses avant-garde food production units, dedicated learning resource center, well-equipped training kitchen, library and so on. "Students are taught going beyond the four walls of the classroom. The faculty members use latest IT facilities and training videos to transfer the education. In fact, being the chief mentor, I interact personally with my students and share real-world experiences and learning," states Datta. The institute also motivates the students who are entrepreneurial spirit by providing them free consultancy services and conducting short-term programmes. Easing the journey of students from a budding chef to a trained chef and showing them the path of limitless work opportunities upon completion of courses, IICA has emerged as an institute of excellence.
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