After a whirlwind US tour through Boston, four cities in the Bay Area and Los Angeles, MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor returned to India accomplishing a feat like no other. Traveling through seven cities in 10 days for Akshaya Patra, Chef spoke, auctioned signed dinner plates, gala tables and memorabilia and raised a whopping $2.1 million dollars for a cause dear to his heart – Akshaya Patra.
With his wit, charm and complete dedication to a cause dear to his heart, the newest awardee of the Padmashri regaled audiences everywhere with poignant stories from his career while bringing into focus the painful facts of hunger in India.
Master Chef Kapoor spoke about his own childhood, with dramatic style narrated the three very different lives that his father led as he moved from Pakistan to India after the partition. The story emphasized the point that given a chance everyone could succeed. Everyone deserved a chance; that no child should be denied an education because of hunger.”
In the Bay Area, with notable executives and dignitaries from the Silicon Valley present, Chef appealed to the audience to give to Akshaya Patra, an NGO that serves 1.6 million midday meals to children in 13,200 government schools in 12 States in India. Akshaya Patra has scaled from serving 1,500 meals in 2002 to becoming the biggest midday meal program in the world, operating 29 centralized, ISO certified kitchens and transporting the food to schools up to a distance of 40 kms.
In a conversation with Chef at the Sanatan Dharma temple in Los Angeles with over 300 guests present, comedian and Emcee Rajiv Satyal asked “why Akshaya Patra?”. Chef replied his journey was about good food and Akshaya Patra was all about food. Just like his own journey where cooking food for his family and friends and also presenting it to millions of viewers on television show for over 20 years, the joy of giving is much more than the joy of receiving.
A fact that he emphasized at the exclusive invitee only dinner at the Spice Affair restaurant in Beverly Hills. With just under 100 donors present, Chef spoke about the circle of giving and receiving, everything he gave has come back to him many times over – something we often miss in our busy lives. His message to the audience was to give, because we could and to go even further, give for selfish reasons, because it felt good. Chef Sanjeev Kapoor raised over $925,000 within a half hour, auctioning off tables for Akshaya Patra’s Diwali benefit gala on October 28th in Los Angeles. Vandana Tilak, a director of the Board for Akshaya Patra USA thanked the Chef and his wife Alyona for taking the time out in their busy schedules to support the march against hunger and going above and beyond to ensure every opportunity was explored and dedicated to serving a mid day meal to children in India.
About The Akshaya Patra Foundation: The Akshaya Patra Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation headquartered in Bengaluru, India. The organisation strives to fight issues like hunger and malnutrition in India. By implementing the Mid-Day Meal Scheme in the Government schools and Government aided schools, The Akshaya Patra Foundation aims not only to fight hunger but also to bring children to school. Since 2000, the organisation has worked towards reaching more children with wholesome food on every single school day. Akshaya Patra Foundation is continuously leveraging technology to cater to millions of children. Its state-of-the-art kitchens have become a subject of study and they attract curious visitors from around the world.
In partnership with the Government of India and various State Governments and inestimable support from many philanthropic donors and well-wishers; Akshaya Patra has grown from humble beginnings serving just 1,500 school children across 5 schools. Today, The Akshaya Patra Foundation is the world’s largest (not-for-profit) run Mid-Day Meal Programme serving wholesome food to over 1.5 million children from 11,360 schools across 10 states in India.