One of India’s best-known culinary historians and Principal advisor to India-Africa Today (IAT), Dr. Ashish Chopra has been bestowed with Rex Karmaveer Puraskaar Jyoti award. The award has been conferred by iCONGO and the United Nations, and was presented during the last week of November in a glittering ceremony in Delhi-NCR.
Dr. Chopra has been tirelessly documenting and preserving India’s rich and diverse food traditions, for several decades now. An authority on tribal cuisine, during the last one decade, he has traversed more than 4 lakh km, experimenting and documenting cuisines, culture, and traditions of more than 250 tribes pan-India. He is of the firm belief that food, music and culture transcend all boundaries of caste, conflict, creed and religion.
He believes that to respect food, tradition and culture is the best way to respect and understand humanity. His relentless spirit for food and travel has now led to a unique initiative to safeguard, promote, and teach our ancient culinary practices. For this purpose he has recently established India’s first School of Ancient Culinary Arts (SACA) in Dehradun. In his endeavor to preserve and share the traditional knowledge of culinary arts, he has been organising dedicated culinary tours, heritage food walks and curated food festivals specializing in lost and heritage cuisines. He is also the Culinary Advisor for popular channels like Travel XP and Food XP.
While his passion for culinary traditions is legendary, he also has a keen interest in regional cinema, folk music, tribal art, indigenous knowledge and filmmaking. From 2013 onwards he has been the Principal Advisor of renowned Woodpecker International Film Festival which strives to promote issue-based cinema globally.
The Karmaveer Puraskaar Jyoti award were constituted in 2013 as a tribute to Jyoti Singh Pandey, the hero of the Nirbhaya incident.
According to Jeroninio Almeida, founder of the awards, “The Rex CONCLive was launched in 2006 and has been driving change with simple ideas for action ever since. A number of these ideas which were popularized at the Rex CONCLives have become huge movements today. Over the past few years, we have created a powerful momentum to address issues of pressing importance for the society at large. Ideas discussed at the REX forum over the years, have led to action for educational reforms, climate change, humane capitalism, dignity for people living with HIV etc.”
Over the past 15 years, International Confederation of NGOs (iCONGO) has created and founded The Joy of Giving, Right every Wrong, Swachh Bharat Mission, Karmaveer Awards, One Billion Rising andREX – Not just TALKS and Ideas for ACTION knowledge -sharing and wisdom-transfer CONCLiVE.