Chennai

Home Talent Unlimited

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I’m rejoicing! It’s a joy to discover Chennai’s amazing home-bakers and catering talent. To fly down from Mumbai for our”Whats hot Tasting session” and to get a taste of the delicious and  healthy variety too that is cooked up at home. Today,  I feature two of the talented participants. More follow in the fortnights to come.

Warm brown Baking Studio

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WARM BROWN‘s SURESH AND VYANJANA NAMBIAR with CHEF DHARMEN MAKWANA AND SHVETHA JAISHANKER

Please take a look at the accompanying photograph. I shot it in the midst of our “whats hot tasting session”. You can see the array of home made goodies which   Suresh and Vyanjana Nambiar  from Warm Brown Baking Studio  bake up. Not only are some of these healthy and tasty but have many a nutrient benefit too. They use flaxseed, millets, amaranth and more.  Some are low calorie and others gluten free too. They are gifted home bakers who  take orders  for  organic and regular cookies, brownies, cakes, breads and also pesto, hummus, pickles  etc. Their USP is no margarine or preservatives in both the organic and non-organic products . Vegan, organic, glutenfree can all be sourced from them.

Before I tell you more about their creations, let me introduce my official tasters. Shvetha Jaishanker, former Miss India International not only painstakingly tasted through each and every item of each and every home baker (as did Chef Makwana) but also shared her opinion. Not only is she a discerning foodie but her book Eat well, look great will be a treasure trove of foodie-secrets to looking as fabulous as her. And ofcourse, the official taster-in-chief, was the brilliant and creative executive chef Dharmen Makwana. He  heads up the stunningly beautiful Leela Palace by the sea. Having honed his skills  nationally and internationally, Chef Makwana  now masterminds the  Leela Palace’s  authentic Chinese and Indian restaurants and a versatile all day dining restaurant too. So together we tasted our way though  “Warm Brown’s” organic 100% Whole wheat bread, gluten free Millet cookies, Vegan cookies, Organic, gluten free cakes and muffins, Organic savouries, Organic breakfast cereals, amaranth Ladoos, Millet Ladoos, Flaxseed sesame dates Ladoos, Fruit and nut energy bars.

We all loved the texture and flavor of the amaranth cookies the most. Delicious flaxseed onion crackers,   Millet ladoos, and flaxseed sesame date ladoos too. We all  agreed that those looking for Gluten free items have found their mecca here. As though all this wasn’t enough they also make the most delightful Hummus and Pesto to add zing to your snacks and meals and home made drinks like Jaljeera  and Ginger Nectar. Cheers to that.

Warm Brown Baking Studio, 30/18, 2nd Main Road, CIT Colony, Mylapore.  Ph. Tel 98840-60652

Milagro

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SRIHARI SHETYE of MILAGRO’S HERBS

If you are looking for Italian herbs to spike your dishes with zing, but are particular about them being organic and grown with utmost care, then look no further. Sreehari Shete & Ishwarya Thirumalai  from Milagro grown these herbs in their farm in Ooty. They do so  with utmost care. They do not use any chemical pesticides or fertilizers and ensure that their herbs are completely organic. These herbs are then airdried.  Ask for their Oregano, Rosemary & Thyme  herbs. Here’s the best part, you can get them Bottled, Fresh and also Potted. Rosemary Crackers, Rosemary Scrub, Herb Regalo, a festive offering too.

Visit them on  www.themilagro.org or facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/themilagro/?fref=ts&ref=br_tf or pick up the herbs from them at  J block, No. 47, 7th street, Annanagar East.

YOU ARE INVITED

Discovering. Tasting. Writing. Especially about home bakers and caterers has been my passion for the past two decades. I ve done this in Pune and Delhi and continue to do it in Mumbai and Chennai. This column was a result of one such #whatshottastingsession.  Are you a home baker? Provide foodie services out of home?  want to be part of our next #whatshottastingsession? And be featured here? The please mail  mail rashmiudaysingh2017@gmail.com,Anjalisharma966@gmail.com, instagram, tweet @rashmiudaysingh. Call 9884065010 Watingly yours.

You are Invited

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I write this column from Chennai, where I am conducting an exciting #whatshottastingsession too. Are you a home baker? Provide foodie services out of home?  want to be part of our next #whatshottastingsession? mail rashmiudaysingh2017@gmail.com, instagram, tweet @rashmiudaysingh.  Dr Rajul Matkar, from Dubai (a gynaecologist who for a passion, bakes, develops healthy recipes, caters malwani food too) came specially. As did Sameer Malkani, dynamic chief of the Food Bloggers Association of India who has been conducting many a #homechefmatters session.  All are welcome.

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.

My Paradise Peru

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Dining at the most Romantic South American resort, with Thomas Moons and Tula Casteneda.

I write from foodie Paradise.  And what a magnificent gigantic one.  From the frozen peaks of the Andes to the roaring Pacific ocean, the deepest jungles of the Amazon, sand dunes, ancient Inca civilizations, Machu Picchu and the bustling gastronomic capital of Lima. Each region produces a staggering wealth of produce, vegetables, fruit, herbs, grains…you name it. And this great geographic and cultural diversity has brought ingredients ranging from highland tubers to tropical jungle fruits to a complex cuisine of Spanish, indigenous, African and Asian influence. For sure this vast country translates to paradise for us foodies. Ceviche with slivers of fiery chili and corn, slow-simmered stews, velvety Amazonian chocolate. I explore the bounty of food markets, sample grilled anticuchos (beef skewers) on the street corners  and (thanks to my co-chairperson of the Worlds 50 Best Restaurant Academy,   Diego Salazar) dine at the finest restaurants of Lima. But most excitingly, I check out Peru for Vegetarians (ably guided by Maria Jose, Sabrina Chaves, Elda Cantu) It’s a deliciously gourmet Vegetarian paradise too.

FROM LIMA TO THE SACRED VALLEY

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Lunching in the Sacred Valley with Chef Cesare Landau and Cesare Chiara

Please take a look at the accompanying photograph shot in the  globally awarded “Most Romantic resort of South America”. Im feasting not just on the superb Peruvian food but also on the stunning views. Dining on this luxurious rooftop with the glorious coastline of the Pacific ocean below,  is one of the many  memorable experiences that Belmond Miraflores Park serves up.  Helming it is the dynamic Thomas Moons with global experience and training as a chef too.  Lima born Tula Castaneda delights with her knowledge of  Peruvian cuisine. I lunch with them at their renowned  Tragaluz restaurant, chef Jean Paul Barbier’s quinoa tabouleh with  beetroot, mushrooms, watercress, makes a masterpiece out of potatoes with the Peruvian Yellow chilli,porcon mushrooms with truffle sauce and more. August Baert’s Tragaluz delights. Not only is the finest Peruvian chocolate used here, but their superb spa gives me a Chocolate massage too. This is definitely my idea of having my chocolate and eating it too.

In the Sacred valley ( an hour’s flight away from the bustling city of Lima) nature preens in all her magnificence. And it is here in the Belmond Rio Segredo,  that I lunch by the shimmering River Urubamba with the brilliant chef Cesar Landau. In the mellow sunshine of the Sacred valley, Chef Cesar’s creative cuisine with Peruvian ingredients delights, be it the tomato tree with water melon gazpacho, vegetarian ceviche with asparagus, mushroom and seaweed from the lake or the quinoa risotto.

I also get a superb Pisco tasting session from the knowledgable Cesar Chiara.

This award winning national drink is the purest brandy, and from the 8 grapes, two types of Piscos (aromatic and non aromatic)are made. I learn all about that famous  lemon, sugar and white of egg based cocktail Pisco sour. All this in the beautiful glassed in bar and restaurant overlooking the stunning gardens of the Rio Segredo. Close by the salt mines of Maras produce the delicious Maras salt from the ancient  times of the Incas. I can taste this vibrant salt in all my food and when it is used as a scrub in the Willka spa, it revitalizes me and Im ready to feast on Rio Segredo’s banquet again.

QUINOA RISOTTO

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Veggie Peru on a plate: Quinoa and avocado in the sacred valley’s Rio Segredo.

Here’s Chef Cesar Landau’s recipe . A delicious creamy way to  cook  the healthy, protein rich, gluten free quinoa. You can add or omit the vegetables.

Ingredients:

70 gr quinoa/40 gr mushrooms/20 gr zucchini

50 gr cream of milk/30 ml broth of vegetables/ 30 gr parmesan cheese/

2 gr chopped garlic/3 spears of asparagus/ 1  cherry tomato/

20 ml olive oil/5 ml truffle oil/Salt

Black pepper

Method

Boil water with rosemary in a pan. When the water is boiling add the quinoa. Cook for 20 minutes. Rinse the quinoa and let cool

In a frying pan, add olive oil, garlic and let cook till garlic turns golden. Then add the mushrooms, the zucchini and sauté. Then add the quinoa and the cream and let it reduce.

At the end check the salt and the parmesan cheese.Before serving, drizzle with  truffle oil.Grill the asparagus and served on  top.

My delicious discoveries

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Whoa ! What talent! What creativity and what a variety! Each time I conduct our “whats hot tasting session”  for home chefs, caterers and bakers in Chennai I get delighted …and impressed. We conduct this just before the iconic grand  dame, The Connemara went under revamp to emerge more beautiful than ever. Today, I serve up three yummy options…from eggless desserts and cakes to ready to cook chapattis and a culinary recreation school too.

SPRINKLES

Looking for  eggless (strictly) cakes and desserts? Cake pop bouquets, dessert cups, cupcakes, brownies and more? 100%veg mousse cups and dessert cups

The forever helpful Afzal Khan not only organises everything but also helps me with the tastings. He points out that their themed cake pops and cupcakes are delicious and sure-fire kiddie favourites.

Call the talented  Ayushi & Akshita Agarwal of  Sprinkles. Both are student entrepreneurs, use only the finest ingredients and take great pains to take ensure that their patisserie delights their clients. They take a minimum Order: for mini cupcakes and cake pops minimum order is 10 pieces while for brownies its 6 pcs

Aminjikarai, near Ampa Skywalk

Phone: 9840277690

Email: sprinklescakepops@yahoo.in

FOODOLOGY

How about celebrating and learning and eating…all at the same time? Unique and interesting food classes?  Mom/Dad& Me, Couples Date Night, Kids Parties, Mom & me, Dad& me etc. Go check out this creative recreational culinary studio.

A great way to have kiddie parties and spend quality time with your kids. Entertaining and Educational Cooking Experience for Toddlers to Teens.

A delicious way to celebrate! Couples that cook together, stay together! Create a meal that will be memorable and romantic!

Take a look the fun group photograph of the founder Shree Periakaruppan as well as a few of her culinary team. From Bee Bee Martinet’s Malaysian fare to, Tasneem Ayub’s Moghlai to Neelima Sriram’s vegan and vegetarian offerings.

Damayanthi Paul, teaches Sri Lankan cuisine. Kamalika Krishmy. Winner of Superfchef is sought after for desserts, baking and Indian Food!Sumi Shroff specialises in punjabi, fusion and kids menuPreethi  Venkatramani ,Baker Shyamala Sivaraman  and ChefNaren specialises in  Arabic  and international cuisine.  The founder Shree Periakaruppan a dynamic IT professional having lived for over a decade in Washington (and honed her cooking skills) set up Foodology two years ago. Since then, she has had Chennai eating out of her hands.

3A, Second Main Road, Kasturibai Nagar, Adyar. Landline: +91 24454885 and 900 305 4885. foodologychennai@gmail.com

DESI FOOD

Here’s an amazing success story built around ready to eat chapattis.  S. Srinivasan  left his successful corporate career and his wife Uma also quit her job  to take care of the production where two other women help her knead, roll out and seal chapattis. She continues to be a foodblogger.   Giving me his expert palatte opinion, is The Conemmara’s brilliant executive chef Jaffer Ali. We conducted this Whatshottasting session The couple began by supplying 350 ready-to-eat chappatis a day. Today, on an average, the unit at Madipakkam rolls out 3,000 every day.

Ofcourse, they did not stop there.  Snacks, healthy options and more. Chapatis, Pooris, Methi Chapatis and Ragi Chapatis, made with hygienic manufacturing and packing process ensures that the  freshness of the Chapati is retained.  High quality whole wheat flour, oil, salt and mineral water are used. Organic food including samosa, ragi rolls and short eats and podis. Bulk orders, snacks for Events are all part of their repertoire.

Plot No 3032, 1st Floor, 6th Main Road, Ramnagar South, Madipakkam, Chennai 600091

Phone: 9500021540 / 9962530871 / 044-22580049

Email:desifoods.chennai@gmail.com

AN OPEN INVITATION

Are you a home chef? Conduct any foodie services out of home? Would you like to be part of our next “Whatshottasting session’? Please mail your details of work and contact to  rashmiudaysingh2016@gmail.com,  instagram, twitter @rashmiudaysingh Please put “Chennai whatshottasting in the subject line.

An Open Invitation

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Sure dining at restaurants is exciting but tracking professional  home chefs has been my overriding passion for the past three decades.And I continue to do this in Mumbai and Chennai. Are you a professional home chef ? Do you conduct any foodie services out of home? Then what you are holding in your hands is an open invitation to be part of our next  #whatshottastingsession and of the Times Food guide. All you need to do is send us details about your work and  contact details instagram, twitter @rashmiudaysingh rashmiudaysingh2017@gmail.com

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.

A dream come true

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PIONEERING HEALTH GURUS…DOMINIQUE AND HENRI CHENOT and their amazing gourmet vegan fare.

It’s the ultimate dream: to love food, enjoy it, and still remain fit and healthy and forever young. For most of us, that’s what it remains: a dream.

It’s doubly difficult for me, because as a food critic who has eaten her way through 37 books and countless columns, it don’t “eat to live”  “I live to eat” ( Literally too).

So its been a lifetime search for me to find the balance and the answer. Im on a continuous search… having written weekly health columns for 15 years and  scripted, directed, produced and anchored a weekly TV show on health blessed me with the opportunity to  spend time with brilliant experts in the medical field. From Deepak Chopra in LA to our Ayurvedacharyas at home.  I questioned them relentlessly, chewed on every single answer they gave and digested it. I continue to  zig zag the world in my quest…here’s the latest on the greatest…

EUREKA

It is here, in this  luxurious, historic Palace Merano, in the picturesque  Italian spa town of Merano that I get my answers. Here luxury combines with high-tech and scientific principles behind  this ultra-royal pampering deliver great health and energy.    It’s the dynamic and charming couple  and global pioneering health gurus Dominique and Henri Chenot ‘s Chenot Method  that hits the sweet spot. Having majored in Anthropology, Philosophy Chinese Medicine, as well as Bio-Energetic Psychology and Naturopathy (natural remedies to cure illnesses) Henri Chenot created the first of a series of phytocosmetics and phytotherapy laboratories.

In 1999 Henri Chenot created Biontology, a new concept for studying the evolution of psycho-physical ageing.It reconciles contradictions, takes within it’s sweep the union of Chinese and Western medicine and aims at achieving  balance between body, mind and soul.  This slows the ageing process, to eliminate toxins and tiredness at all levels: physical, sensory, emotional, mental and physiological. Food and digestion are at the heart of this.

FOOD BE THY MEDICINE

Unbelievable flavor and color, presentation and taste…hard to believe that it is calorie restricted, nutritious and vegan fare. Behind it is the brilliant and knowledgable Dominique Chenot.

Nutrition is at the heart of the experience with a mostly vegan diet being adhered to and with strict calorie control, between 800-1000kcals a day.  The chefs weave magic and instead of feeling deprived you feel pampered and coddled.

DOMINIQUE CHENOT’S TIPS

Eating and drinking for health

  • Fruit : ofcourse we all know about the importance of fruit and its  detoxifying effect. Its naturally rich in potassium and minerals. But did you know that fruit is best eaten before meals? digestion is much faster if the fruit is eaten on it’s own? If you eat it after a meal it will tend to stagnate in the stomach.
  • We all know sugary drinks are not good, but did you know that fruit juices are not either? It is beneficial to  the whole fruit. When eating cereals it is best to accompany them with water and lemon.
  • Be careful not to eat too many raw vegetables, because they tend to cause swelling. Go for vegetable soups, which moisturize the body and furnish a good supply of vitamins.
  • Breakfast is not optional. If you’re going to use your car you fill up with first to avoid being stranded…eat lighter at dinner.
  • Hold the salt! Try using herbs or spices, fresh if possible. Drink plenty of water!

DETOX BIRYANI TO YOGA MASSAGE

Its here, that for  the first time ever that I have the most flavorful detox biryani and the most relaxing, stretching yoga-massage. Over the decades, the super-luxurious Palace Merano has been magnetizing global royalty  to sportsmen, the super-stylish fashionistas to the those in need of healing…it also has a huge share of the well-known Indians. I personally know three of the leading industrialist families (who prefer not to be quoted) who come back twice a year.  Its an amazing experience …energy meridians are checked and energized, daily mud baths, jet-hose showers, celllular resonance therapy,  massages using the Chenot method and along with all this there’s a hi-tech laboratory for instant diagnostic results. And the most amazing gourmet vegan food, served in super-plush surrounding. A stay here helps you jettison kilos of weight and heavy psychological stress too. Helps you rejuvenate, celebrate…

P.S. I have specially got the detox biryani recipe and also Dominique Chenot’s favorite Agar-agar recipe. (you can also download plenty from Amazon) Should you need the recipes, please instagram, twitter @rashmiudaysingh emailrashmiudaysingh2016@gmail.com

South Indians Sparkle

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Stop press. Our very own Keralaites are making international headlines. They are being applauded and awarded. Celebrated and feted. I must confess that though I’m a North Indian, I’ve always had a big fat soft corner for South Indians and South India. It was during my tenure in the Indian Revenue Service (I resigned as commissioner of tax after working for 15 years) that I got to know South Indians closely. And since then have been a fan. So it is with great delight and pride that I write about the  three superstars…

2 MICHELIN STARS IN SAN FRANCISCO

He’s the only Indian chef in the world to receive two Michelin stars. Soft spoken, brilliant Keralite Chef Srijith Gopinathan grew up being influenced by his grandmothers cooking and the exotic spices in his Kerala home’s  backyard. From the perfumed kitchen of his family to culinary school and then working with  Raymond Blanc, the genius of cuisine in London gave Srijith a huge headstart.  For six years in a row, Chef Srijith earned a\Michelin star and it was just recently that he got the highly coveted two stars.

I had his most mindblowingoriginal Californian-Indian masterpieces in San Francisco’smost prominent century old, award-winning landmark hotel restaurant located in Campton Place, the throbbing heart of this beautiful city. Helmed by the dynamic and charming AshrafiMatcheswala who never ceases to amaze me with her prowess in hospitality but also as an award winning marathoner. It was with the two of them that I not only tripped out on an amazing dinner but also learnt more about the  Dungness crabs, famous over here. Infact Chef Srijith has shared his fabulous recipes of “Crab and peaches” but space constraint prevents me from including it here. Should you need it please mail, tweet or instagam @rashmiudaysingh

COOKING UP HISTORY IN NEW YORK

Making waves in New york city and getting rave reviews for his brand new Perineis  executive chef AshferBiju. This brilliant and friendly Keralite chef heads up NYC’s  85 year old iconic landmark which keeps reinventing itself.  Escoffier, the King of French chefs (and codifier of French cuisine,) did all the initial menus  at this magnificent  stately Pierre. Today,  AshferBiju is making history again. To bring back the era of celebration of food and dinind, he researched menus and recipes from 1930s 40s and 50s (when Pierre had opened its doors to public.  He found dishes / recipes that are classic which fell into three categories – New York Classic, French Classic & Pierre Classic – with several overlaps. While some classics are retained with its original recipe,  other dishes are made relevant using local produce from Upstate New York and Long Island.Interestingly there is a spice thread which runs through the menu and pays tribute to “The Pierre Grill” one of the first (or the first) fine dining Indian restaurant that existed at the hotel in 1950s. I not only taste history here but have many an amazing meal withJoint-degree holder from  the finest in America and France, the great wit and dynamo Francois Olivier Luigi. He helms this exquisite icon  andnot only ensures that it  retains it’s historic grandeur (handpainted murals et al) but also rocks ahead youthfully. Chef AshferBiju and Michael Mignano  share many a superb recipe with us, should you need it please mail, instagram or tweet @rashmiudaysingh

GOURMAND WORLD COOKBOOK AWARD WINNER

“Best Indian cookbook in the world” is her most recent award given by the numero uno Edourard Cointreau of the highly prestigious and coveted Gourmand World cookbook awards. These awards are the worlds most respected and sought after, global culinary awards. Nimi Sunil Kumar, Our very own Conoor resident, was given this honor in China recently.  She is a  highly accomplished author/culinary teacher/freelance writer / food photographer and a part time food blogger/ dietitian.  It is for her third cookbook “4 o’clock temptations of kerala” that she won the title “Best Indian cookbook in the world ” (209 countries competed for it)

She has written three books on authentic Kerala cooking. “Lip smacking dishes of Kerala”.The book bagged the third place for the “Best Local Cuisine Book in the world” in Beijing in 2014. She started “Nimi’s Lip Smacking Classes” in Jan 2012 for foreigners and for these is listed on international websites and books and has received many a certificate of excellence.

Congratulations to all three. You do not just South India but also India proud! Jai ho.

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GLOBAL AWARD WINNERS: Chef Srijith Gopinathan and Ashrafi Matcheswala ( Sanfrancisco, by the sea ). 2) chef Ashfer Biju and Francois Olivier Luigi ( NYC) 3) Edouard Cointreau awarding Nimi Sunil Kumar in Beijing.