Whats Hot Tasting Session

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Talent Unlimited: L to R – Varun Ahuja and Anuj Bagri, Bharti and Bhavna Kumar, Mani Vinaik, Mugdha Agnihortri, Geetha Shridhar, Amna Shehzad Furniturewala, Mrudula Putchahas, AN Malhotra (centre) Radhika Ichhpuniani, Baijul Rathod.

Please excuse me if I’m getting carried away. I can’t contain my excitement at discovering Mumbai’s talented home chefs.  And this #Whatshottastingsession is organised specifically for our very own “Times Food guide 2017” which is being readied for  going to press.  On a rained out evening, we meet (fittingly enough) at the city’s landmark, iconic sixty year old Gaylord and the ever gracious AN Malhotra  plays host to Mumbai’s most talented taste-magicians. I’m grateful to the ever helpful team at Gaylord and also to the home chefs who’ve come all the way from Thane, Ghatkopar, Mulund, Mira Road…Im so happy. Cant stop smiling.

Breakfast & Bites | Worli | 9821086711

Looking for healthful and yummy fare? Call Mother-daughter team of Bharti and Bhavna Kumar. Crunchy and nutty bowl of muesli, Honey Nut Granola and Savory Oat Crisps (Matri), yummy trail mixes and Oatmeal Cookies, too.

Amshefs Gourmet | Bandra(W) | 9820769788

Party time? How about  a variety of sinful dessert dips like Cookie dough dip, Nutella Caramel Cheesecake dip and more ? .yum Golden Addictive hotseller (roasted almond n caramel popcorn clusters with a hint of salted caramel)? Amna Shehzad Furniturewala makes all this and more.

Through The Food Door | Thane | 9987090418

Mani Vinaik’s ‘Chocolaticious’ Brownies, boozy bakes and coloured ganache have a fan following. Try her decadent Cream Cheese Pound Cake. This  expert at catering for kiddie parties; is also known for themed cupcakes and Lasagne.

Rainbow Rasoi | Powai | 9892098240

Radhika Ichhpuniani (A highly qualified CA  turned chef)  takes catering orders from her FSSAI certified home kitchen and dishes up delicious vegetarian Italian, Mexican and Indian fare. Mini Pizza Uthapams and Mexican rice are a must-try!

IndiKitchen | Mahalakshmi | 7045313491

This food delivery service  by youngsters from the corporate world ( Alok Shah, Chirag Arya, Varun Ahuja and Anuj Bagri) serves it all…  Breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner. Try the Biryani, Chicken Kalimiti and the range of Wow Paws.

Cup-a-Luscious | Mulund(W) | 9833042828

Eggless delights: Chocolate Strawberry Dessert Jars, Pushpops, and customized cupcakes with fondant. Blueberry cupcake takes the cake! Baijul Rathod 26-year-old freelance architect take a bow.

The Humble Pie | Ghaktopar(W) | 9880069696

A network engineer turned pastry chef, MrudulaPutchahas adiploma in patisserie from Lavonne Academy of Pastry Arts. Pies, Tarts, Cookies, Brownies, Cakes and Cupcakes, she does them all. My favourite: Sticky Toffee Pudding in a dessert jar.

Indian Food Express | Sion (E) | 9969134995

Found. Home made and fabulous  my favorite Mulgapudi Gunpowder, Sambar Powder, Rassam Powder and the softest idlis. A teacher, marathon runner and social entrepreneur,Geetha Shridhar  has been featured in many cookery shows for her famed BisiBele Bhath.

The Hungry Momma | Mira Road | 9820502049

CallMugdhaAgnihortri for catering orders for Kiddie Parties and house gatherings. Dhansak, Indian Street Food, ChingriMalai Curry, DaalPakwan, dips, and fish pickle. Brownies, muffins, cupcakes to mousse and  Jar Desserts.

Talent Unlimited

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I am rejoicing! I am celebrating! Chennai’s talented home chefs have this effect on me. Each time I visit Chennai and organise our #Whatshottasting session, I get blown away by the range of talent, by the sheer choice there is. Today, I write about two ends of the spectrum…from the deliciously healthy to the deliciously sweet.

HEALTHILY YOURS

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Yes! Healthy can be tasty. Nutritious can be delicious. Handmade, natural, healthy, safe and tasty…that’s what Fouziya Kutty  (a self-taught home chef) and husband Abdul Taher (an advertising professional) create and innovate. Pickles to jams…not only are they handmade, but also free from any kind of preservatives. They are also  made from only the freshest and the best organic fruits and vegetables. To be sure only organic brown sugar and organic salt is used. And ofcourse, as they point our “ the secret to our jams & sauces being yummier, is the actual “content” of the main fruit”. For example, their strawberry Jam has an actual fresh fruit content of not less than “65” % and in their tomato sauce fresh tomato content is almost “80%”.

Take your pick from Lime Date Pickle Chutney /Tomato Sauce / Schezwan  Sauce /  Birds Eye Chili Sauce . For Rs 150 each. For those with a sweet tooth, Strawberry Jam / Orange Marmalade/ Apple Fig jam /Mango jam  and even the unusual (5) Banana Jam

Sheik abdul  taher – 9841063408

Fouziya’s Cooking products are handmade and marketed by Fouziya’s Cooking
# 5, Raja Garden, Kottivakkam, Chennai -41

Email:fouziyascooking@gmail.com

SWEET ARTIST

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A winner right through…International tennis champion, turned Public Relations expert turned  ace patisseur. Cindana Manickavel’s ‘Sugar Monkey’ has a huge following for it’s cakes, cupcakes, cookies and dessert jars. Why the name “SugarMonkey? “When I first started baking, my mother always said the kitchen looked like it had been ransacked by a monkey!” explains Cindana. But that’s where the monkey analogy ends, because Cindana specialises in sophisticated and elegant patisserie. For those looking for healthy options, Cindana also makes eggless and vegan cakes. Ofcourse, the super-indulgent whisky and rum  and chocolate options are all there. But most of all,  it’s the dessert jars which are magnetising attention. Not only are they unique and handy and easy to carry but deliciously creamy too. They make for Sweet finales too!

www.facebook.com/mysugarmonkeys

Ph. 98848-57156.    sugarmonkeysare@gmail.com

AN OPEN INVITATION

Would you like to featured in this column? What you are holding in your hands is an open invitation to do so. Be  a part of our “Whats Hot Tasting session”. Mail details of your work,  your signature dishes, a bit about your background and contact details. Contact me on instagram, twitter @rashmiudaysingh mail rashmiudaysingh2016@gmail.com,anjalisharma966@gmail.com

Waitingly yours.

Srilanka Surprises

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Maestro Dharshan Munidasa at his Ministry of Crab.

What you see in the photograph is the two kilo “crabzilla” at maestro chef   Dharshan Munidasa’s  world renowned “Ministry of crab” Its on the prestigious “Asias 50 best restaurants” list as is his Japanese “Nihon Bashi”.  He has  single handedly putting Srilanka, the beautiful, tiny island on the world gourmet map.

His modern Srilankan “Kaema Sutra” delights. And it’s his commitment to the  finest, freshest ingredients and  “No freezer restaurants” that is admirable.

Review: Farzi Cafe

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We’re rejoicing! Is Fun getting Farzi-fied? Or Farzi getting fun-fied? Is Indian food getting a global makeover or is it the other way round? Whichever way you look at it Farzi, Zorawar Kalra’s high-energy Modern Indian bistro is magnetising a huge number of fans…Gurgaon, Dubai, Bangalore, New Delhi and Mumbai.

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

 

My shamiana love affair

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MY HANDSOME NEW LOVE…SHAMIANA

I fell in love with Shamiana,  the colorful rockstar, and I vividly remember that evening. It was my very first day in  romantic rainy, beautiful Bombay, 14th July 1974. And on that day itself, Shamiana was the very first restaurant I dined in.  Having majored in Literature honors in Delhi university, I had come to Bombay to study journalism and train under Patanjali Sethi in The Times of India. I ate at Shamiana regularly. I returned to Delhi. Only to come back in 1980 ( as Income tax commissioner) and once again thanks to my mother in law Mohini Bhullar, editorial director of the only city magazine, sipped and supped here regularly.. Celebrated many a sentimental occasion here. From 2000 onwards, moaned and criticized  it’s decor and food and relocating to the pool side location. But now, Shamiana  is back to where my love affair started….and  I am rejoicing!

Review: Shamiana

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Whoa! It’s the reincarnation of nostalgia. Its no mere revamp of menu, decor and relocation of The Taj Mahal Palace hotel’s 24 hour dining restaurant. Shamiana, India’s first ever coffee shop opened it’s doors in 1973 and was fiercely beloved and constantly mobbed.

Read my detailed Review on http://www.whatshot.in/critic-review/shamiana-r-6182

Healing Holidays

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A masterpiece in healing

Serendipity at its magical best.  When I was in this world-famous medical spa, Lanserhof on an amazing diet of Gluten-free, sugarfree wholesome food that I saw Renu Chainani’s instagram  post of Sequel and made a long distance date request to her to take me here (and thus the review of Sequel.) The powerful benefits of eating right were immediately felt ofcourse. But I  also learnt plenty more from Doctor Benedetto Reisch the dynamic  medical director and Chef Karsten Wolf. All this in Lanserhof, based on a symbiosis of traditional naturopathy and state-of-the-art medicine treating both mind and body. It truly was a  Healing holiday in every sense of the term.  And it  was all thanks to “Healing holidays”, UK’s leading independent Spa specialist, with their unrivalled experience of world-wide spas that I got to experience this life changing healing holiday.

Review: Sequel Bistro & Juice Bar

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Would you like to ‘Recharge’? Get an ‘Unbeatable Glow’? If you’ve answered ‘yes’ and are a believer in healthy, gluten-free, sugar-free high-quality organic food (cold pressed juices et al) then head to Mumbai’s first ever bistro solely dedicated to this.

Read my detailed review on http://www.whatshot.in/critic-review/sequel-bistro-and-juice-bar-r-9374

Cook the mountain

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MOUNTAIN MAGIC AT ROSA ALPINA: CHEF NORBERT NIEDERKOFLER WITH HUGO AND URSULA PIZZININI

Delicious surprises! The most amazing Michelin starred cuisine restaurant in a tiny, picturesque Italian village with a population of 750! That it is located in the worlds most dramatic and dazzling Dolomite mountains in Italy which are bathed in brilliant summer sunshine and sparkled with wild flowers magnifies the deliciousness. I shot this fun photograph in the unique chalet-within-the-hotel Rosa Alpina terrace garden where the brilliant Two Michelin starred and highly awarded Chef Norbert Niederkofler full of fun and genius kneels down to Hugo and Ursula Pizzinini who redefine the art of hospitality. In their family owned over seven decade old Rosa Alpina they make all guests feel like family.  Here comfort, luxury and high-tech meld together  in every exquisite detail. From the super-stylish  Zeno chalet within the hotel, the bio hamam, yoga studio to movie theatre and ofcourse St Hubertus, the two Michelin-starred restaurant.

It is here that their two Michelin starred restaurant (the only one in the region) St Hubertus has been magnetizing global gourmets.

MICHELIN MOUNTAIN MAGIC

There is magic in Chef Norberts hands. “The best things are the simple things but at the same time also the hardest things to do” he says as he drives me to meet the producers from whom he directly sources milk, cheese, yoghurt, vegetables and more. “Cook the mountain” is his philosophy and local sourcing is the foundation. Having honed his skills and style under maestros around the world, it was 1993 that Chef Norbert set up St Hubertus in Hotel Rosa Alpina where he continues to dedicate  his cuisine to the local mountain range, using ingredients produced in the Dolomites.

News spread of this ‘Cook the Mountain’ philosophy, as it came to be known, and in 2000 the restaurant won its first Michelin star. ‘We use twenty-five different kinds of carrots throughout the year and an almost endless variety of herbs including amaranth leaves, sorrel, wild onion and celeriac,’ he explains. ‘The most natural ingredients are the most important.’ He tells me this as we drive to meet these producers, I am fascinated and charmed and can fully comprehend the huge number of accolades Chef Norbert and his restaurant have been showered with.

Indeed, his philosophy of “cook the mountain” shines through in his  “simple, clear and clean” cooking, where he skillfully combines only a maximum of 3 or 4 Flavours. His brilliant beetroot gnocchi plump with the surprising horseradish cream, barley risotto with black garlic are some of the vegetarian dishes   that dazzle. I have many of his recipes and happy to share them with you. Please instagram, tweet@rashmiudaysingh  email rashmiudaysingh2016@gmail.com

CARE’s – THE ETHICAL CHEF DAYS

Making a global mark is Chef Norberts forte… Other than writing bestselling books, being the only Italian chef invited to the World Gourmet summit, organising the Chef’s Cup in San Cassiano,  cooking for Lufthansa Sky Gourmet (LSG)

It is now  CARE, Ethical chefs which in it’s very first edition (in January this year) already has already magnetised the worlds greatest chefs. CARE, set up by Chef Norbert with Paolo Ferretti and Michelin starred chef Giancarolo Morelli,  brought together , 5 continents, 20 nations, 30 chefs for 4 unforgettable days.

The goal of the “CARE’s – The ethical Chef Days“ project is to bring together chefs and people from around the world who all share a common vision: a new, innovative, sustainable and ethical approach to food.

It is a new way to teach adults and children, to raise awareness and encourage respect for nature, to promote environmentally friendly attitudes, and to show how to experience our environment without misusing it. From round table discussions on  the future of food and nutrition and discussions on sustainability, ethics and development, to cooking masterclasses, and lunches in Cook the Mountain style, guided food tastings, wine tastings, wine and infusion tastings and more. The gourmet Gala dinner marks the highlight where the brilliant chefs prepare a gourmet dinner using ingredients that are usually considered “waste”, turning them into culinary delicacies.

Proof that (almost) all parts of raw ingredients can be used and that haute cuisine is not made only with expensive and exotic ingredients, but it can and must be sustainable and educational. The next edition of CARE is scheduled to be in January 2017 in the very same charming San Cassiano village with it’s population of 750 inhabitants which will magnetise the world here with Chef Norbert’s “cook the mountain” philosophy. Whoa! Mountain magic at it’s best!