Montu Saini – Executive Chef to the President of India hosts the World’s Most Exclusive Culinary Event Dec062016

Montu Saini – Executive Chef to the President of India hosts the World’s Most Exclusive Culinary Event...

One of the greatest benefits of an interconnected world is the opportunity for undervalued cuisines to be appreciated by a global audience. This has certainly been the case for Indian cuisine, whose diversity and nuance have traditionally been overlooked or oversimplified in other nations. That’s why every chance talented Indian chefs have to present their considerable culture and artistry is so valuable. In October 2016, the journey of Indian cuisine’s international exposure hit yet another crucial milestone. One of India’s most promising chefs, Montu Saini, organized the general assembly of one of the world’s most elite gatherings of culinary experts: Le Club des Chefs des Chefs (CCC). The CCC is a gastronomic society comprised of Chefs of over twenty five of the world’s heads of state. Saini, who is Chef to the President of India, made history as the first Indian Chef to organize the annual gathering of the CCC. At only 34, Saini is also the youngest-ever member of the exclusive group. The CCC’s mission is to support the role that cuisine plays a in diplomatic affairs. With the many differences in culture, values, politics, and perspectives that tend to divide nations around the world, food is a powerful and necessary unitor. A general assembly is held each year so that the Chefs of heads of state can exchange ideas and techniques. It’s also an opportunity for the visiting chefs to become familiar with the cuisine of the host country, so that they too can celebrate and share that nation’s culture. From October 22nd-28th of this year, the general assembly was held in delhi & were received by The President of India at Rashtrapati Bhawan on 24th Oct 2016. Hi-Tea was also hosted by the Prime Minister of India Sh. Narendra Modi on...

Chef Eric MacCarthy on Life in Goa, Filming Chopped, and his Rise to Culinary Stardom Sep142015

Chef Eric MacCarthy on Life in Goa, Filming Chopped, and his Rise to Culinary Stardom...

Chef Eric McCarthy is undoubtedly one of Manhattan’s finest Chefs, and he happens to have grown up in Goa. He is now the executive Chef of the acclaimed Tulsi restaurant in New York, and has earned 2 stars from the New York Times. He is an expert in many cuisines from around the world, and has brought his global influences and top-notch culinary technique to Tulsi, where he creates unforgettable high-end Indian dining experiences every day. 1-How did your upbringing in Goa influence your career? Growing up in Goa during my childhood was always about festivals and events, lavish food, sweets, desserts, drinks. Which were always prepared by my mother, Aunt and neighbors. This fascinating way of life definitely influenced my first step towards my career. 2-What are a few of your primary goals as Executive Chef at Tulsi? Try to change the misconception of Indian food that it can’t be as superior as to French Cuisine. 3-How did the famous Phaal dish come about? The ideas of doing a most spicy dish was inspired from the streets of London (Brick Lane)? The question was how do we do it? And it should be flavorful, yummy and a killer and you crave for more at the same time. So I decided to use some of the hottest chilies and used a secret recipes or procedure as you may call it!! to make the sauce. I infused it with various meat, fish, shrimp and Vegetable dishes. 4-What inspires you the most as a Chef? When I see results to my hard work and honesty, I get more inspired to do more and better for my Fans. 5-What was the greatest challenge when you were on Chopped? Making a traditional Goan Dessert in 30 minutes. Which...

Chef Himanshu Saini Talks Street Food, Dubai and Molecular Gastronomy May272015

Chef Himanshu Saini Talks Street Food, Dubai and Molecular Gastronomy...

Chef Himanshu Saini has accomplished extraordinary feats since he began his career. On the road to becoming Head Chef at the ultra-modern Tresind restaurant in Dubai, Himanshu earned multiple accolades for his fresh outlook towards Indian cuisine and the dining experience as a whole. Not only has he integrated the fascinating field of molecular gastronomy with Indian cuisine, but he is constantly transforming perceptions of what a restaurant can offer. In our interview, Himanshu takes us back to his upbringing and shines a light on the greatest inspirations in his career. 1. Growing up, how did you decide to become a Chef? Growing up I spent [more] time in kitchen than in classroom. My passion for eating has forced me into cooking, especially maggi noodles.   “I am deeply influenced by the concept of street food and that does reflect in my cooking.”   2. How did you first learn about molecular gastronomy? Like everyone else, my first source of inspiration for molecular gastronomy was El builli. I remember saving months pocket money to purchase the book, which out of curiosity I read it whole in one night. Later as I gained more experience I understand the application of all those alien ingredients, which I now use at will. 3. What is your approach to innovating the traditional Indian dining experience? I work out my dishes on the basis of a) mixology of ingredients b) by evoking nostalgia in dining experience c) through molecular gastronomy if required 4. How does the food culture in Dubai differ from the food culture in your hometown of Delhi? With almost 55% of Indians living in Dubai there are similarities in food culture be it Delhi or Mumbai. But with the presence of global diners their cultural influences...

Kunal Lamba: A foodie’s adventure through desi America Mar192015

Kunal Lamba: A foodie’s adventure through desi America...

Kunal Lamba was born to work in food and hospitality, and his booming career is living proof of his natural ability to create memorable culinary moments. As the General Manager of Devi, the first Indian restaurant to ever earn a Michelin Star, Lamba has been responsible for facilitating exceptional dining room experiences every day. On the inaugural season of the StarPlus Channel’s Kawan Kitchen Mate, he now brings his expertise and friendly charisma to the homes of Indian families across America as he helps them make the most of what they already have in their kitchen. What originally inspired you to get involved in the food business? Food and hospitality was kind of in my DNA as I come from a family of restaurant professionals. My father was in this business and I grew up with it. I graduated as a bachelor in hotel management from welcomgroup school in India and started working in hotels and restaurants from day 1 in my career. It was just a natural course of life.   “I feel all Indian families in the US are naturally inquisitive to know how their peers are doing and living here. This program gets them to experience other Indians’ lives, their families, their food, their stories of triumphs and challenges. “   Since you first moved to New York, what changes have you seen in the Indian restaurant landscape? I moved to NYC from London in 2008 and by that time Devi had created a revolution with Indian food already by getting a Michelin star and creating cuisine beyond chicken tikka masala and dal makhani. I remember these two dishes (how much ever I love them) were not put on the menu at Devi. In the last 6 years I have seen...

Chef Manjit Gill: Culinary Artist, Explorer and Trailblazer Mar102015

Chef Manjit Gill: Culinary Artist, Explorer and Trailblazer...

Chef Manjit Gill is known as much for his passionate vision as for his vast culinary accomplishments. Gill is Executive Chef of the ITC hotel chain, overseeing the culinary operations of over 100 restaurants throughout the country. He was one of the first chefs to popularize cooking shows in India. As a lifelong student of regional Indian cuisines and an advocate for their preservation, Gill been greatly influential on the Indian food landscape. After spending so much time in the culinary arts, traveling the world and experiencing all types of foods, which is your favourite and why? How about your family member’s favourites? After a long, enriching journey, all food cooked with sufficient culinary knowledge, meditative concentration, with good food thoughts and passion is always a favorite. Local and traditional food from all over the world are always well appreciated by me. My family loves me to cook for them but my wife being Indonesian is also a great cook and a big favourite at home. You literally worked your way up to where you are today – what advice do you have for other young, aspiring chefs? Be absolutely sure that being a chef is what your calling is!! Once convinced, indulge with love, hard work and dedication. Chart your goals and pursue them with unwavering passion. “Cook, eat and think”… and then you will be able to prepare food which is for the body, mind and soul. It takes at least seven years of devotion to become a good chef. More like ten plus to become a great one. You must have a baseline knowledge of techniques and work for extremely demanding and exacting Chefs. Learning the details and trivia of a busy kitchen is not a kind process. It takes correction...

Varli Kids Food Festival Kick Off Mar022015

Varli Kids Food Festival Kick Off...

Varli Kids Food Festival 2015 Kick Off Event at Tamba New York on Monday 2nd of March...

Restaurateur Shiva Natarajan sells game-changing restaurant empire to acclaimed chef Hemant Mathur Feb262015

Restaurateur Shiva Natarajan sells game-changing restaurant empire to acclaimed chef Hemant Mathur...

There are few individuals who have affected New York’s Indian dining scene more positively or significantly than Shiva Natarajan. The Calcutta-born entrepreneur is responsible for several of the city’s most successful Indian restaurants, including Chola, Thelewala and Dhaba. Natajaran’s success has been driven not by a fixation with culinary trends, but rather by an understanding of what people truly want to experience when they pay for a meal. As a child, Natajaran experienced the joys and intricacies of cooking through his grandmother’s busy kitchen. After working in the financial sector, he had thorough knowledge of what it would take to sustain a successful business venture. He eventually fused his love of stellar cuisine with exceptional business acumen to create a thriving dining empire in the notoriously volatile restaurant industry. New York is by no means an easy market, but Natajaran has stayed in the game by focusing on consistently creating the best possible experience for his diners. Throughout his eighteen years as a restaurateur, his work has been praised by the critics and enjoyed by countless customers with a discerning taste for quality Indian food. Natarajan has always found inspiration in the recipes of his family and cultural traditions around India, adding a palpable level of heart and authenticity to all of his fine dining experiences. Chola, one of his most popular ventures, was named “one of New York’s best Indian restaurants” by New York Magazine and received great praise from New York Times critic Ruth Reichl. The reach of his restaurant empire has been far and wide, earning recognition on CBS, NBC, and across multiple print and digital publications. After almost two incredible decades in charge of a thriving restaurant empire, Natajaran has handed over the reigns to Michelin starred-chef Hemant Mathur. There...

Rocky Mohan: Preserving and Reinventing Traditional Cuisine Feb232015

Rocky Mohan: Preserving and Reinventing Traditional Cuisine...

Old Monk Rum founder Rocky Mohan may be best known for his popular liquor brand, but he has made an equally important impact on Indian cuisine. A connoisseur of fine food and cooking, Mohan has written four unique cookbooks. Each book demonstrates a deep knowledge of Indian cuisine and a passion for both tradition and innovation in the world of food. Read on for the story behind Mohan’s books, the origin of the ‘Old Monk’ name, and a delicious new take on a classic recipe. How would you describe the perfect meal? Is there really ever ‘the perfect meal’? I doubt it. There have been a number of memorable meals that I have had the opportunity of tasting. However, for me personally the meals that have challenged my taste buds and have surprised me through the combinations of ingredients are the meals that I remember most. Where did Old Monk Rum get its unique name? The name ‘Old Monk’ is derived from the knowledge that the monks were traditionally the purveyors and makers of fine wines, liquor, beers & cheese in their monasteries. Hence the label and name reflect that heritage. What is it like around your home during the holidays? Lots of cooking and revisiting traditional favorites? Can you share one with us? My home is a food person’s den. It’s fun to have both my sons cook with me on occasion and also to experiment with new combinations, taking traditional ingredients to a new level. There are numerous recipes which are traditional though with a twist. I’ll share one of the dishes with you. Here, the rather humble Masoor Dal is cooked in a manner where it looks whole and intact while soft and tender, using ingredients like curry patta. “The biggest...

Aarti Sequeira: Officially on the Food Map Dec282014

Aarti Sequeira: Officially on the Food Map...

Aarti Sequeira is the host of Aarti Paarti (www.youtube.com/aartipaarti), an internet cooking show that lets viewers into her modest Los Angeles kitchen while she whips up budget-friendly and easy recipes that combine her Indian heritage with her California lifestyle. She recently launched her first cookbook, “Aarti Paarti: An American Kitchen with an Indian Soul” to make her approachable recipes even more accessible to the masses and to her already-loyal fans. When did you realize you wanted to have a career in the food industry? How did you get your start? In a way, I suppose I always knew it. I was talking to a friend and said, “Well, when you were a child, you played cooking show, right?” She looked at me blankly. “No hon. That was just you!” Food has always been my passion and when I realized I was happiest in the kitchen, I knew I had to turn this into a full-time career. What inspired you to write a cookbook? With all the cookbooks out there, how would you differentiate what you’re trying to do? I wanted to write a book that shed a fresh light on Indian cooking — something that moved away from the traditional imagery and unknown ingredients. Indian food is still the new kid on the block in America, and the best way to introduce something “foreign” is to pair it with something comforting and familiar. Hence, my style of cooking: an American kitchen with an Indian soul. I try to capture the essence of cooking with an Indian palate and infuse that into American favorites like roast chicken, shrimp ‘n’ grits, bread pudding, etc. How does the success of your series compare to what you thought it would be like when you first started it? I...

Singing Abhijit SAHA’s Praises...

By Rupali Dean For those who don’t know Chef & Restaurateur Abhijit Saha, he’s one of India’s most forward-thinking culinary masters and restaurant pioneers. He was rated ‘Best Chef of India’ at the 2013 Indian Restaurant Congress & Awards and has long been blazing the modernist trail in Bangalore with two restaurants, Caperberry and Fava. Caperberry was Abhijit’s first venture as a chef-entrepreneur in 2009. Based on an avant garde style of cooking, the menu at Caperberry is inspired primarily by modern Spanish and Italian cuisines. Abhijit’s other Bangalore-based restaurant, Fava, is a completely different concept with only a 100 seats and boasting favourites from Mediterranean cuisine in a smart casual environment. Both establishments are staples of the Bangalore dining scene and trail-blazing in their execution. “I think it’s all about having the right opportunity at the right place at the right time.” Abhijit’s most recent venture, the much talked about SAHA Signature Indian Restaurant and Terrace Bar, opened in June 2014 and was a joint project with local partners Buyan Pte Ltd. By catering to the discerning and sophisticated diners of Singapore, Abhijit earned one of the highest accolades in his first year from the Singapore Restaurant Association, who selected his establishment as the “Best New Restaurant of Singapore, 2014”. The modernist approach to regional Indian cuisine employs the latest culinary techniques and focuses on exceptional aesthetic presentation. The menu also has a section dedicated to some of the classic dishes of traditional Indian cuisine but with a modern twist. The alfresco Terrace Bar area allows guests to enjoy unique eclectic cocktails infused with Indian flavors, alongside a variety of Indian-style tapas. Abhit shares the following thoughts regarding SAHA’s success: “Singapore is one of the most exciting food and beverage markets in Asia,...

FoodFood Channel Launch Event Dec152014

FoodFood Channel Launch Event...

MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor launched FOODFOOD channel in India several years ago. This 24X7 lifestyle channel that serves as a destination for those passionate about the flavors, art and lifestyle of Indian cuisine, now available for U.S. audiences via the DISH network (channel 713). Following is photo gallery of launch event – Complete press release here. Album 1 Album 2 Album 3 Album 4 Gallery by Amish Thakkar [nggallery id=20] [nggallery id=21] [nggallery id=22] [nggallery id=23] Photo Gallery by Amish Thakkar (FineArt Productions) [nggallery...

Sanjeev Kapoor’s FoodFood Channel Expands to DISH Dec152014

Sanjeev Kapoor’s FoodFood Channel Expands to DISH...

Sanjeev Kapoor is already one of the most celebrated and recognized names in the Indian culinary industry. A successful TV show host, author of bestselling cookbooks, restaurant consultant, architect of a unique range of food products and winner of numerous awards, Kapoor also launched the wildly popular FOODFOOD channel in India several years ago. This 24X7 lifestyle channel that serves as a destination for those passionate about the flavors, art and lifestyle of Indian cuisine, will now be coming to U.S. audiences via the DISH network (channel 713). With the growing demand for viewers who want to immerse themselves in the Indian food culture, popular programs like Sanjeev Kapoor’s Kitchen, Turban Tadka, Mummy Ka Magic and Health Mange More will now be available for even more people to enjoy. How did you get the idea to start the FoodFood channel? What made you think a channel like this would be successful? When I first thought of the idea in India, I didn’t think there would be a market for a channel dedicated solely to food. But then during the course of my international travels, I saw that many other markets had food-focused channels that were popular and successful. I really believed there should be something similar in India given the importance of food in the Indian culture and when I launched FoodFood 4 years ago, it took off and did extremely well. The channel has basically grown every year since then and is currently one of the most watched lifestyle channels in India. What do you think viewers value most about FoodFood? I think people like that there’s something for everyone on the channel. Although everything is about food, the diversity of programming ranges from learning to travel to Bollywood to reality shows to...

Authentic Italian cuisine now comes to Navimumbai Dec082014

Authentic Italian cuisine now comes to Navimumbai...

Indian celebrity chef Manoj Rai brings Italian kitchen to the satellite town. Navi mumbai : The city of Navi mumbai will now boast of its first celebrity Chef kitchen. Celebrity Chef Manoj Rai has launched his Italian concept kitchen “Macchiato – Pizzeria, Bar & Grill” in the city. The restaurant will be first of its kind serving exclusive and authentic Italian cuisine to food lovers in the city. Right from Wood fired Pizza to the best of Italian wine; Macchiato will provide all of it under one roof. “While working on Macchiato, we were very clear in our thoughts. We wanted to be the best, and for that we had to serve the best. To achieve that perfection we worked on authenticity. Right from our interiors, which are designed by an award winning Italian designer to our ingredients which are sourced directly from Italy.” Says Chef Manoj Rai, Managing Partner & CEO Macchiato, Venezia food and beverages pvt ltd. Chef Ripu Daman Handa – Master chef session-3 winner is also associated with Macchiato as associate director. The promoters Venezia Food & Beverages Pvt Ltd an Indian subsidiary of GC&P, Italy have plans to open Macchiato in 10 other locations in next 18 months. Apart from the restaurant the European SME facilitator has some serious investment plans in real estate and renewable energy sector in the country. “India is looking upwards and we believe that cities like Navi Mumbai will fuel the growth, and that is why we chose Navi Mumbai as the location for our first project. Sectors like F&B, real estate and Energy are looking really interesting for us. We are looking at facilitating investments close to 5000 Crores in next five years in various upcoming sectors in the country. As far as...

Kausik Roy’s Refreshing Approach...

Like many great culinary forces, chef/restaurateur Kausik Roy fell in love with food at an early age. When he was a small boy, his mother was recovering from a broken leg and unable to stand for long periods of time. She recruited him to help her in the kitchen and it was under her watchful eye that his fist hands-on culinary training began. In Kausik’s own words, “My “ah-ha” moment was at the age of 9 when I refused to eat the okra dish that was put in front of me at the family table. I just knew that the soggy and slimy vegetable had more to offer and a flash of inspiration hit me. I urged my family to deep-fry the okra and add a generous sprinkling of hari mirch (green chili). Everyone instantly loved it and “Karrarri Bhindi” became a mainstay on our family table, and eventually, on my restaurant menus.” “I am happiest cooking locally grown vegetables.” In early 2000, Kausik opened his first restaurant “Brick Lane Curry House” with Sati Sharma. While he teamed up with several partners after that for various ventures, he believes that “his best competition is himself”. Rather than worrying about the success of other restaurateurs, Kausik focuses on creating exceptional restaurants and setting his own standard. Tawa in CT is already a huge success with loyal customers that love the regional specialties and traditional Indian stand-bys like chicken tikka masala. Kausik’s emphasis is on changing the way Americans think about Indian cuisine – he doesn’t live or operate by preconceived notions and instead chooses to focus on entertaining customers and ensuring they leave his establishment happy. His next venture will be the Masala Library, an Indian restaurant in the competitive NYC market. Kausik gets an...

A New Twist on Cooking Shows: Kawan Kitchen Mate Nov202014

A New Twist on Cooking Shows: Kawan Kitchen Mate...

Introducing the next generation in cooking shows – Kawan Kitchen Mate, developed by leading advertising and production firm TOUCHDOWN MEDIA INC, is based on the premise that every South Asian family who has settled in the U.S. has a unique story. Focusing on food as the bonding agent that keeps families together, helps people survive struggles, and serves as the cornerstone of celebrations, the show allows viewers to get to know 13 South Asian households. By sending an experienced FOODIE to each household, Kawan Kitchen Mate will introduce South Asian food and families to U.S. audiences through attempting to solve the commonly shared dilemma of what to make for dinner. The idea is brilliant in its simplicity and universally appealing because of its applicability to daily cooking challenges. While it’s common for most cooks to exchange recipes and cooking tips, most still find it challenging to come up with daily meals that excite and satisfy their families. That’s why Kawan Kitchen Mate will send a FOODIE, also known as an everyday food enthusiast and knowledgeable cook, to help each household prepare unique and easy dishes that are meant to please the whole family. The FOODIE will be the anchor and someone who is able to add innovation to simple dishes without needing the expertise of a professional chef. The beauty of the show’s concept is that families will learn how basic ingredients on their grocery list and in their fridge can be used to make new tasty dishes every week. It’s part reality TV, part educational cooking show, and part entertainment as viewers meet families from across the U.S. and learn how to apply the FOODIE’s solutions to their own lives. Participating households and viewers will get more than just the benefit of simple,...

Surfy Rahman & K.N. Vinod – Turning Heads in Washington D.C....

Teamwork and vision are buzzwords echoed throughout our nation’s capital. Perhaps no place exemplifies this better than famed restaurant, Indique, the brainchild of Surfy Rahman and K.N. Vinod. This talented duo has been turning heads in Washington D.C., as individuals across party lines can agree on at least one thing: Indique is the standard by which Indian cuisine should be measured. “Hearing an ‘I’ll be back soon’ announcement from a satisfied and happy guest is music to our ears.” Surfy Rahman and K.N. Vinod have been bringing smiles to customer’s faces for over two decades and there is no end in sight. In the early 1990’s, Indian cuisine was at the infancy stage of making its big splash in the restaurant scene. Surfy and K.N. saw a gap in the market and plunged head first following a “if you build it, they will come” mentality – people didn’t just come, but were knocking down the door to get in. Even from their first endeavor, Bombay Bistro, their restaurants became a destination spot for the who’s who in the U.S. and abroad. Patrons included former Secretary of State, Madeline Albright, top members of congress, and ambassadors from the far reaches of the globe. They were even asked to host events like “Club des Chefs des Chefs,” a gathering of international chefs catering to Presidents, Kings and Queens, etc. Their fame and success is grounded in a strong partnership and truly mutual admiration. Both have an entrepreneur’s mentality and work-ethic, but it’s in their differences where they are perfect compliments. Chef Vinod embodies all of the classic traits of an artist – creativity, energy, diligence, and a true perfectionist. Mr. Rahman provides the balance with his outgoing and passionate persona, and a front of the house...

An Elevated Experience at Awadh...

After opening Bhatti Indian Grill and Moti Mahal Delux in NYC, Gaurav Anand cemented his dream of being among the leading Indian restaurateurs with the upscale Awadh. While the Upper West Side is known for many great eating establishments, no one in the area does Indian quite like Gaurav’s flagship restaurant. From the moment you step into the beautiful ultra-modern dining room, you’re reminded of the extravagance and richness of the princely state in India that Awadh is named after. The ambience is calming, nourishing, and pampering, with regal-looking light fixtures and Indian-influenced artwork, mahogany tables, a sleek and inviting bar, and bold copper fixtures. Amber tones cast a warm glow over diners as professional uniformed servers make it clear that Awadh is several cuts above the typical Indian dining experience. Here, you get the feeling that they care about your first impression just as much as they do about filling your stomach. One glance around the busy restaurant reveals that this is far from a hidden gem, as local patrons and destination-driven foodies are planted at every table, ordering with abandon as every dish here is deliciously and creatively done. Menu highlights: The menu and cooking technique at Awadh focuses on bold flavors that balance spice, intensity, and texture. Attention to detail and the use of interesting, lesser known spice combinations are what makes this cuisine distinctly different and Gaurav’s dedication to learning this art is obvious in the end product. A crispy okra starter (karari bhindi) was easy to be blown away by…with paper thin strips of okra covered in a delicate batter and accompanied by an exquisite red beet sauce. Samosas, while a staple at many Indian restaurants, had the perfect ratio of outer shell to filling here and were paired...

Vikram Vij: A Canadian Inspiration...

Vikram Vij grew up in India, but it didn’t take long for his travel instincts to kick in. Studying hotel management in Austria, working in Vienna, and ultimately moving to Vancouver, Vikram eventually made a name for himself in Canada. In 1994, Vikram opened his first restaurant, Vij’s, in Vancouver and was soon joined in the business by his wife, Meera. Today, he is a chef and owner of the restaurants Vij’s and Rangoli in Vancouver, and is an investor in the Canadian reality show “Dragon’s Den”. “I want customers to feel just as taken care of as if they were in their best friend’s home.” Ever since he was a child, Vikram wanted to be a Bollywood stage actor. But his father was not supportive of the idea, so he channeled his energies towards becoming a chef. He was drawn to the restaurant industry because he felt like it was the closest thing to being on stage all the time – it required performing at all levels and avoiding bringing personal issues to the working environment. He found his love for performing and entertaining could extend to restaurants and it allowed him to thrive in an industry that he never would have considered. When Vikram arrived in Vancouver, he found it to be a young and vibrant multicultural city. He loved the fact that so many Indians lived there and although he had come to the city by himself, he never felt alone. The fact that people thought of Indian food as a delicious and a complex cuisine led him to believe that an Indian restaurant was not only much-needed in Vancover, but essential to his success. His passion and love for food, entertaining, and making people happy catapulted his restaurants to the...

Kokum: The New Kid on the Block...

In NYC’s Curry Hill, there’s no shortage of Indian restaurants to choose from. But when Shiva Natarajan introduced his newest venture, Kokum, he brought something new to the scene. A tribute to Natarajan’s native South Indian roots, Kokum takes diners through a journey of the best in Indian cuisine. The interior is modern, sleek, and inviting with warm amber tones and lively Indian music playing in the background. Leather banquettes line one side of the restaurant with wall-sized captivating murals depicting Indian heritage and culture. During peak hours, the dining room is full of both Indian and non-Indian diners equally excited by the tantalizing options in front of them. In a comfortable setting that could easily pass for a dinner date, outing with friends, or business meeting, the service is prompt, helpful, and attune to customers’ needs, making this a great option for those already familiar with Indian cuisine, as well as those new to the concept. The extensive menu features everything from typical dishes like chicken tikka masala to more adventurous regional specialties. There is a heavy emphasis on Southern specialties, including close to 25 varieties of dosas uttapam, and idlis served with three different delicious chutneys (coconut, tomato, and mint) and a perfectly spiced sambal for dipping. Beyond the typical masala dosa (stuffed with potatoes and onions), there are also options like egg chili dosa, lamb pepper dosa, and tomato peas uttapam. Another ode to the South Indian influence is the great selection of seafood-centric dishes, a rarity in most NYC Indian restaurants. From roasted fish and shrimp to interesting seafood curries, Kokum gets the spices just right and lets the natural delicate flavor of the meat shine through. Menu highlights: The Fish Polichathu, a delicate white fish roasted with a savory...

Sati Sharma: The Building Bricks of a Restaurateur...

Sati Sharma is the owner of Paratha Junction and Brick Lane Curry House, with several restaurant locations in NYC and NJ. Like many successful restaurateurs, Sati employed the approach of taking traditional dishes and wrapping them in an interesting city-worthy concept. English-influenced Brick Lane represents old world tradition, reminding patrons of an English curry house that serves honest and authentic Indian food and a variety of mild and spicy curries . His other venture, Paratha Junction, is more Indian comfort food, but done in a way that reminds customers of home-cooked goodness. Sati’s signature style is clearly evident in his establishments and creates an atmosphere that customers are repeatedly drawn to. ” We try out new specials pretty much every week at my restaurants.” Sati always had a strong love for food. As a young child, he took numerous road trips throughout India with his family and was exposed to a great variety of dishes and tastes. It was his extensive travel that was so influential in opening his mind and curiosity to the world of cooking. In keeping with influences from various regions, one of the most notable dishes at Sati’s Brick Lane restaurants is the “phaal”, a super spicy curry that’s very popular in England. Sati remarks that “we’ve taken this dish is taken to a completely different level” with unique chillis that have so much heat the chefs have to wear a protective mask when cooking it. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s a curry that really opens the senses to what spices can taste like. While he loves tradition, Sati also believes in coming up with new recipes often: “We try out new specials pretty much every week at my restaurants. You have to keep experimenting and...