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,...