Whats Hot Tasting Session

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I’m excited and thrilled about our Whats Hot tasting session, which took place yesterday. Many a home baker and caterer attended,. at the Hotel Leela Palace. Its fabulous to be able discover talent like this and then to write about it in this column, instagram and tweet it and share it with all.  Should you wish to be included in the next Whats Hot Tasting session, please instagram/tweet @rashmiudaysingh, email rashmiudaysingh2016@gmail.com

I’m Feeling Hot, Hot …

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Chef Victor Alvarez in the organic garden of Tambo Del Inka.
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Chef Wilfred Das and Ana C Vidal on superfood, Quinoa

Three  very delicious reasons are pumping up my adrenalin: the hot, fiery chillies of Peru, the healthy quinoa here, and now that I’m back in Chennai… our very own “Whats Hot Tasting session”  yesterday.

DELICIOUS AND NUTRITIOUS

I’ve always loved the nutty flavour and texture of Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah). Most people call it a grain, but it’s actually a seed — grown more than 7000 years ago in the Andes Mountains. And  it is in Peru that I get to know it in all it’s glory. Did you know that  it’s the same family as beetroots and spinach?  Enlightening me on this is the well informed chef Wilfred Santana Dass and the everhelpful Ana C Vidal.

Chef Wilfred Das, a Malaysian by birth has not only worked for Sultan of Brunei, Sheikh of Dubai, cooked for Kings and queens and Michael Jackson, but now as   executive chef of Lima’s stylish and sprawling Westin is fully conversant with Peruvian cuisine. Here, I  trip out on his 777″SuperFoodsRx, an amazing menu created together with doctors and nutritionists; antioxidant rich and naturally low in calories.I love the fact that quinoa has the highest protein content (amongst all grains and seeds) it is also rich in fiber and vitamins, minerals and iron. Here’s the best part, it is easy to digest and is gluten free.

Chef Das shares his tips on cooking quinoa. It’s like cooking rice, Don’t throw away the water, after soaking it, reduce the water in the cooking pot. He also recommends soaking it overnight  (1 cup quinoa in 3 cups water).

CHILLI MAGIC

It is on the way to the Machu Picchu, in the Sacred valley that I am thrilled to learn all about Peruvian gastronomy and the amazing chillies that sparkle it.  All this in the sprawling organic garden of the  beautiful “hunting lodge”-style  Tambo Del Inka, set in extensive grounds beside the Urubamba River, amid the

Inca terraces, valleys and rivers and Inca ruins. I visit  the ancient salt mines  at Maras (world famous Maras salt) but most of all it’s chef Victor Alvarez’s cooking and the sharing of his extensive knowledge of Peruvian cuisine that dazzles. The brilliant young chef makes the time to explain the basic of Peruvian bio diversity.   The intense fragrance and tastes of herbs, from huacatay ( its a cross between cilantro and rosemary) or Munya  to the widely used tree tomato and avocado. Fascinating colors and flavours of chillies. The  Aji Amarillo (pronounced Ahi Amariyyo) the most commonly used deep orange colored has a  searing, clear pungency. The Aji Panca is used almost daily for making aji sauces, to flavor most fish dishes, and is popular as a powder to sprinkle over pizza (like oregano). Its the Aji Limo which is the hottest and is used in the making of ceviches. There are a huge number of chillies like the fat round plump Aji Rocoto to the slim, slender Aji Limo. They shine and gleam and sparkle our food with their flavour and heat.

Energy Cuisine

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DR BENEDETTO REISCH AT LANSERHOF.

I’m as passionate about exploring new flavours (the latest being ants eggs, worm salt and grasshoppers in my month long trip in Peru and Mexico for Latin Americas 50 best awards as jury) as I am about finding out about the principles of energising, healthful cuisine. I got to the final word on it and it is born out of hard core research. This comes from my visit ( a fortnight ago) to Austria. It’s from Europe’s leading Lanserhof medical institution, which has been at the forefront of cutting edge research and is based on the Classical Mayr Medicine,genetic diagnostics, energy and information medicine and quantum physics with the age-old wisdom of healers.

Here’s the important point,  …The focus is on the digestive system and food. Not only is the energy cuisine nutritious and delicious, but the dynamic and caring Dr Benedetto Reisch, medical director also shares the basic principles.What we eat, how we eat and what time we eat is a very crucial part of the basic concept.

Due to space constraint, I am unable to share all the principles, should you need them, please email rashmiudaysingh2016@gmail.com

Review: MRP -My Regular Place

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A joyous whoop for youthful fun! This brand new, gaming bar and bistro takes fun seriously…from the games, to the decor and even the food is given a playful Asian spin.

Read my detailed review on http://www.whatshot.in/critic-review/mrp-my-regular-place-r-9489

The President’s First Love

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Michelin magic: Eric Frechon.

Past forty days, I’ve been on a foodie pilgrimage: Lima to Mexico city for Latin America’s 50 best restaurant awards (as regional jury chairperson) to Los Angeles and now am concluding it (fittingly enough) in Paris. Here too, I’m dazzled by many a brand new arrival, like Alain Ducasse’s Ore in Palace Versailles, Yannick Alleno’s “extraction” technique. However, my homage to Michelin starred Eric Frechon continues unchanged. I’ve yet to eat food  as impressive in its precision — and as gloriously wanton in its luxuriousness. I am an admirer of the intriguing ingredients Eric Frechon packs into one composition and coaxes into harmony, be it in his recently awarded starred Langham in London, 114 Faurbourg and three starred Epicure in Paris. It is  here in this exquisite Parisian palace le Bristol that I’ve seen President Sarkozy dine (in fact he still comes here regularly for macaroni, artichoke, foie gras) Chef Eric Frechon has heads of state, royalty and glamour squad eating out of his hands and all of Paris is abuzz with his new book, the last word on French gastronomy.

Review: Boston Butt Smokery and Charcuterie

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Mumbai’s brand new “Boston Butt”. serves up Southern American fare and drinks inspired by the Pre-Prohibition era. It also   aims to revolutionize the smokery and charcuterie.

Read my detailed review on http://www.whatshot.in/critic-review/boston-butt-r-9468

New, Newer, Newest.

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Ooh la la! She continues to surprise and seduce. I refer to the worlds most beautiful city, the global gastronomique capital Paris. I’ve been in love with Paris, past three decades and each time I come away more dazzled than ever.  Paris continues to serve up delicious surprises…here’s a snapshot of the latest to the greatest.

MOVABLE FEAST

“Movable feast” is what The famous author, Ernest Hemingway called Paris, And The Bustronome, the luxury bus-restaurant redefines it, literally. I not only enjoyed the mutli-course gourmet wine-paired unch while gliding past the most beautiful monuments, but was blown away by the hitech “audiopen” (when you point it to the map it has a  informative multilingual commentary on the monuments and landmarks). I raise a toast to the Eiffel tower as to this innovative Bustronome.

PALACE PLEASURES

In the already world famous, magnificent Place Versailles,  the UNESCO World Heritage classified, finest achievement of 18th century French art, two delicious surprises have been added on. The king of cuisine, the superstar chef Alain Ducasse opened his new restaurant Ore in the Place premises itself, opening onto the cour Royale.

A French inspired menu with classics, from light and quick snacks, desserts and gourmet pastries here.Plenty for vegetarians too. From the amazing vegetable tart to the light as a cloud soufflé. Chef Stéphane Duchiron dazzles. I not only walked through  this shimmering iconic landmark, but also went to the brand new “Costumes et Chateaux” where Clementine has the most amazing period glowns and coats, jewellery, wigs and shoes and dressed me up in them for an amazing photoshoot. A fun and fabulous memory.

BRAND NEW CAMPUS

Ooh la la, the iconic, 120 year old custodian of the French culinary tradiiton, Le Cordon Bleu Paris moved into it’s beuatiful and high tech sprawling campus (with a rooftop garden et al). It was awesome to attend the high-powered inaugural, last week  with more than 20 embassy heads attending it. Playing gracious hosts, the owners André Cointreau, Charles Cointreau along with  maestro Chef Eric Briffard and Catherine Bascet invited guests to embark on a taste journey (and wow what an amazing feast it was).

DINNER AND CABARET

Immortalised by poets, authors and artists, Paris’ oldest and most flamboyant cabaret Moulin Rouge gets a brilliant new chef David Lequellec. Along with the dynamic Olivier Villalon, we feast on the two hour wine-paired gourmet dinner before the cabaret begins.

A TASTE OF HISTORY 

Whoa! I’m not only getting a taste of the exquisite “De-light” cuisine but doing so in the historic room where film was born and the Lumiere brothers made their first presentation.Im in the brilliantly located and legendary Hotel Scribe Paris. It embodies the new Parisian hotel chic.”De-Light means maximum pleasure and minimum calories” explains the slim and lovely Beatrice Schopflin who helms this exquisite Paris landmark. It’s a joy to feast on gourmet cuisine, nutritionally-balanced and low-calorie according to the well-researched Quiberon principles. Chef Sebastien Crison ‘s cold beetroot soupEscabeche fish fillet, Patisseur Thimothée Gensse desserts are flamboyant works of art and flavor with a minimum of calories.

NOTE: Le Cordon Bleu and Hotel Scribe have shared their amazing recipes. Should you need them please mail me on rashmiudaysingh2016@gmail.com, instagram, twitter @rashmiudaysingh and I’l be happy to share them with you.

A De-lightful taste of history

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BEATRICE SCHOPFLIN, AND CHEF SEBASTIEN CRISON & LUMIERE BROTHERS PHOTOGRAPH IN THE BACKGROUND)

Inventive, flavorful, exciting. Whoa! I’m not only getting a taste of the exquisite “De-light” cuisine but doing so in the historic room where film was born. What you see in the photograph are the Lumiere brothers, who In 1895, having invented the first film projector, unveiled it to the public right here, where we are dining. 
”De-Light means maximum pleasure and minimum calories” explains the slim and lovely Beatrice Schopflin who helms this exquisite Paris landmark dedicated to Eugène Scribe,  the popular and prolific author of more than 400 plays. It’s a joy to feast on gourmet cuisine, nutritionally-balanced and low-calorie according to the well-researched Quiberon principles. Chef Sebastien Crison ‘s cold beetroot soup Escabeche fish fillet, Patisseur Thimothée Gensse desserts are flamboyant works of art and flavor with a minimum of calories.

P.S. Im feasting on Paris… from dining in Yannick Alleno’s three Michelin starred restaurant Ledoyan where modern French cuisine is being born, to unique dining and sightseeing in “Bustronome”. From the launch  dinner of Le Cordon Bleu’s new campus to the Indian buffet atop the Eiffel tower to launch Ranveer Singh’s new Bollywood film’s trailer…  but that’s another story!

Review: La Folie Lab

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Its one of those meaningful coincidences: I write from the global capital of patisserie, Paris (here every pastry has a pedigree). And I write about one of India’s greatest patissieurs, Sanjana Patel. The only difference is that Sanjana’s latest Bandra café, La Folie Lab is not just about desserts, she has added on a savory menu too.

Read my detailed review on http://www.whatshot.in/mumbai

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SANJAY MENON (with a beard) RAMAN MACKER, RIDHI WALIA AND PARVEEN CHANDER AT LA FOLIE LAB.