“Kuch kuch hota hai” tinkles the piano. Am I hearing right? Im here in this magnificent shimmering, world famous 113 year old, London’s legendary Ritz. Glamour and luxury waltz in the original Louis XVI style, frescoed, carpeted halls. Here the legendary afternoon tea session (booked up months ahead) is in progress as our very own Ian Gomez from Mumbai is on the piano. Hes a legend in his own right (he has played with Frank Sinatra too). The sweet and savoury multi-course elaborate Afternoon tea in the high-ceilinged Palm court has been introduced here ever since the hotel opened. And it has made history and raised the bar since then. Michelin starred maestro John Williams helms the dining, ensuring every single cake, pastry, scone, sandwich is made to perfection for the Afternoon tea. Just like it has been since the hotel opened in 1907. The knowledgable tea master Giando Scann not only picks the finest loose leaf teas but also makes his own bespoke blends.
I m as dazzled by the meticulously selected finest of 20 varieties of tea, today the national drink of Britain as Im by the Tea master’s recounting of the impact of tea on social, economical and political levels. He points out that in the Victorian era even the “tea gown” a loose informal one (as opposed to the tight corseted gowns) was invented to facilitate their tea making abilities to pour and serve. Sipping tea takes on a whole different meaning after this.
THE ENGLISH CREAM (CRÈME ANGLAIS)
No better source to get the recipe of THE English dessert sauce then from UK s iconic Michelin starred The Ritz’s chef. Chef John Williams. The brilliant and meticulous chef shares the recipe of this versatile sauce with us: Pour it over cakes or fruits. Enjoy it also be had as a dessert on its own in my favorite Ile Flotante (Floating island dessert)
Makes 300 ml sauce
125ml (4fl oz) milk, 125ml (4fl oz) double cream, 25g (loz) caster sugar, 50ml (2fl oz) egg yolks.
Heat the milk and cream in a saucepan and bring just to the boil. Meanwhile, whisk the sugar and egg yolks in a heatproof bowl. Pour half the hot milk mixture over the egg mixture, whisking constantly with a balloon whisk. Return it to the pan and cook over a low heat, whisking continuously, until the temperature reaches 82°C (180°F). Remove the pan from the heat and sit it in a bowl of iced water. Stir for 2 minutes, to reduce the temperature and prevent the eggs from scrambling. Once slightly chilled, pass through a fine-mesh sieve. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate until required, up to 3 days.
THE ULTIMATE JEWEL OF A DISH
This is it. The ultimate jewel of a dish! That it is being presented now for Easter it is also THE ultimate Easter egg and is making history. In keeping with the globally renowned jeweller Fabergé’s history for surprise and ingenuity, John Williams has created this luxurious Eggs Fabergé dish which closely mirrors the multi-coloured Fabergé Treillage egg pendant. He created this amazingly intricate edible work of art using the very highest level of technical expertise. He used the inside of an egg shell as a mould. A soft boiled quail’s egg is encased in a velvety lobster mousseline, decorated with a circular pattern of vegetable gems (including aubergine, courgette and heritage carrot) and represent the colours many a precious gemstone.
The edible Eggs Fabergé is served on a bed of the finest caviar and silken sauce of langoustine. And this exquisite editble jewel is part of the three-course Fabergé menu in the Michelin-starred Ritz Restaurant during Easter Week.
Interestingly, the Mosaic Egg was one of the most technically sophisticated and extraordinary of all the Fabergé Imperial Easter Eggs, and took over a year to craft. It all began in 1914. The Imperial Mosaic Easter Egg was commissioned (to the jeweller) by Tsar Nicholas II and presented to his wife, Empress Alexandra Fedorovna for Easter. It was studded with precious gemstones and intricately and ornately crafted in gold with many a detail.
This Faberge egg was confiscated during the Russian Revolution and ended up being purchased by King George V as a gift for Queen Mary’s birthday The Mosaic Egg remains a part of the British Royal Collection. And now chef Williams of The Ritz has made history by adding it to the edible jewel collection!
High on tea: Michelin starred chef Chef John Williams flanked by Alfie Perez, Giovanni Galianni
Ian Gomez (pianist originally from Mumbai) flanked by Tea master Giando Scann and chef John Williams,
I ve got it. Happy to share it. From the best of the best, Its the recipe of the classic and perfect luscious Baba au rhum (please see photo). Ive been tasting it again and again and fortunate to dine at Alain Ducasses’ haute cuisine restaurants in Paris, Provence, Tokyo, NYC (before it closed down) and Monte Carlo (where I shot my TV show). Celebrated for his innovation, attention to detail and dedication to both quality and technique, Ducasse reigns internationally supreme with the largest number of Michelin stars in the world. Along with vivacious author, philanthropist, investor Kamini Banga we celebrate excellence at the three starred shimmering temple to French gastronomy in London’s Iconic Dorchester. The dashing and brilliant Executive Chef Jean-Philippe Blondet ‘s French contemporary haute-cuisine dazzles. And the sweet finale of the Baba au Rhum seduces!
Please mail firstname.lastname@example.org you want the recipe.
Is it your dream to be full of energy? To be fulfil your days work with vigour and enthusiasm? To work hard? Play hard? And be powered with energy? Ive been researching this through my travels, Health TV shows, meeting experts, doctors and chefs.
Today I share with you nuggets of useful and usable information that ll get you kickstarted with vigor.
FROM GERMANY, DUBAI, CHENNAI …
Im amid the magnificent mountains by the shimmering Lake Tegernsee. Here, the most amazing scientific research is taking place. The recipes are being evolved by 70 chefs and as many doctors. This at the leading Lanserhof medical institution, which has been at the forefront of cutting edge research and most interestingly is based on a symbiosis of traditional naturopathy and state-of-the-art medicine treating both mind and body.
I learn all the principles from the doctors, from the medical director Dr Elke Reisch. It is based on the Classical Mayr Medicine, genetic diagnostics, energy and information medicine and quantum physics with the age-old wisdom of healers.
Its all about high energy. Happily, good health and
pleasures of the palate are not mutually exclusive.
Energy Cuisine reflects the state-of-the-art research findings of nutritional science, yet still places great emphasis on regional, organic and fresh produce cooked in gentle, product protecting ways.
Other than having long sessions with the doctors I also attend chef Karsten Wolf’s cooking classes. The ever helpful Torstein Kiener translates the German explanations of the chefs.
Here, they not only demonstrate recipes but also explain why a good breakfast in the morning is essential. Why should you give your body high value protein, vitamins and minerals from fresh fruit and vegetables in the morning ?
How come breakfast is the only meal at which heightened carbohydrate consumption does not cause you to put on weight?
The reasons are simple.Our enzymes (protein molecules that control metabolism) are very active Cortisone, adrenaline and thyroid hormones all attain their highest levels during these hours. So what you eat during this period is assimilated easily and really well.
Here is an easy to make breakfast recipe from Chef Karsten
100g oat flakes
100 ml soy or oat milk (alternative: water)
125g yoghurt (sheep’s milk, cow’s milk)
Alternatively soy or coconut yoghurt
Soak the oat flakes in milk or water for 15-20
minutes (or overnight)
Grate the fruits and add to the soaked oat flakes
Stir in the yoghurt of your choice
Add nuts or raisins if you like
DUBAI …HEALING ENERGY
There is calm and tranquillity. He heals with gentle compassion. Hailing from Lebanon, Fady Habibi s fame has spread far and wide. I was recommended to meet him by Jhanvi Panjabi the famous jeweller in Hong Kong.
Other than a healing session, its his healer’s views on diet and nutrition that interest me “I believe in balance” he reiterates. “Food of course will effect your life of course effect your healing your health your mind, your thinking so its part of the package” You cannot keep praying or being positive and then eat all the rubbish food in between, he points out.
Fruits are what Fady recommends. They emit the highest vibration ever he points out. Vibrations differ, between what grows underground (carrots potatoes et al) and on the top (grass to or trees). Fruits grow on top on the tree or top of a bush and soak up the highest form of sun and air energy. Also eating them raw, without cooking further preserves their nutrients.
While considering a fruit diet it is important not to mix it with another type of food as fruits produces different type of digestive enzymes that can break food in 2-3 hours while fat, protein and carbs depend on another digestive enzymes
Eat fruit, advises healer Fady, it is highest the food and energy on this planet.
At any rate adding fruits is a must. They will fuel your body with energy and a higher vibration too.
CHENNAI…HIGH ON HUMMUS
Its surprising but it’s true! My favourite, creamy, delicious Middle-Eastern chickpea dip, hummus is an incredible source of energy goodness.
Firstly, its an excellent source of plant-based protein, a100g serving of chickpeas contains 20.47 grams of protein. Also it has all the essential amino acids needed to be converted and used for energy. Loaded with iron, folate, phosphorus and B vitamins. Hummus also contains lemon juice, full of vitamin C as well as antioxidants. Another ingredient, tahini, (made of sesame seeds) is loaded with copper, zinc, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorous. Garlic, is rich in antioxidants and it also has a ton of trace minerals along with a good number of vitamins too.
And then to my delight, in Chennai, at our “Whatshot tasting sessions” held at the ITC Grand Chola I taste not only the most delicious hummus, but also different flavors and it is home made. Home made by
Anolii Mavani from Halls Road, Kilpauk, who does this full time. She takes orders . Sells by the jar. Anolii even makes tahini at home.
We choose You can choose options of pesto, olive, jalapeno, sundried tomatoes, mixed herbs, spicy, classic and spinach and feta. Helping me do the tasting, the globetrotting gourmet Sanjukhtaa Roy and I both loved the refreshing pesto and the punch of the the jalapeno. As Sanjukthaa pointed out “ its light flavorful and can be combined with many dishes”
And to accompany the hummus, Anolii also makes zatar pita bread and wholewheat crackers. The crackers come in paprika, parmesan, rosemary and multigrain flavours. Anolii supplies a box of three flavours of hummus Ph. 09 7910- 88 988.
And spearheading this amazing global Rosewood group and powering it with it’s unique magnetism is our very own dapper dynamic Radha Arora. Jai ho!
Hot and Sour Soup
10g Bean Curd – cut into Julienne
5g Wood Ear Mushroom – cut into Julienne
20g Dried Mushroom – Soaked with Water and cut into Julienne
10g Bamboo Shoot – cut into Julienne
50g Lobster Meat(optional)
10g Fishcake (optional)
Paste Chili Bean 2 – 3g Vinegar 8g (Season to Taste)
Dark Soy Sauce 2g
Chili Bean Paste 2g
Corn Starch 5g
Salt Season to Taste
Chicken Powder 3g
Sesame Oil 1g
Blanch all the condiments ingredients, keep aside.
Boil up all the ingredients of the soup base, add all the condiment ingredients and adjust the thickness with Corn Starch.
Finally add the Egg into the soup..
Discovery. Again and again, that’s the word that kickstarts my adrenalin. Be it while researching the Worlds first vegetarian guide to Paris or Indias first city restaurant guide. And todays’ restaurant gives me that same tingly, happy feeling. It sits quietly in Byculla. Elbowed into the printers compound, in one of the warehouses. It faces a Parsi chawl (yes there is such a thing) and yes! we did get lost trying to find it (because of some road closures) and ended up in Ghoddopeo village. We had a super time with great fun foodies. Yes! we will return. And make it a point to do so on Saturday… for the live-jazz night.
Having negotiated your way into the winding Byculla lanes, Walk into a low ceilinged reception area. And then wham! the warehouse’s highceiling, with amphitheatre-like steps comes as a surprise. There is a glassed in open kitchen, grey-toned industrial chic, Nikita DSilva ensures that the focus is on the food and the only pop of colour are the bright green plates.
Our server in a black uniform (like the rest of the servers) brings us the comprehensive short menu of what he calls “upscale comfort food” and when we ask for a a huge number of small and large plates of baos, burgers et al advises to slow down. A riveting parade of dishes begins …complimentry sticky rice balls with tangy sauces, prawn wafers with a dense bacon sauce.
Tart, sweet, salty, fruity bursts pop in many of the dishes. We love the refreshing juicy watermelon tucked into the Belgian pork belly bao with goat cheese enlivened with ginger coriander dressing.
Sweet persimmon chutney sparkles the charred broccoli served with airy burrata foam
Orange segments top the cast iron cauliflower, under a layer of mashed potatoes with Vadouvan butter, Citrus pesto in the seabass, guava in the pork belly… unexpected marriages. Fleshy moist eggplant plump with flavour and kissed with sweetness
Delicious dessert of PB & J–peanut butter mousse with textured peanut brittle on a chewy macaron base. Must ask for this dessert…Pillows of marshmallow bursting with blenders pride whisky over a callebaut mini molten lava cake sprinkled with miso caramel…Umami heaven.
Open only for dinner. Uncomfy chairs.The location is at once a minus and also a plus point. They do have valet parking. Thick skinned duck dumpling and chewy pork ribs are avoidable.
Please note, no take-aways and no kids.
Tucked into one of Byculla’s warehouses, Goyaa has a wonderful feel of discovering a hidden secret. It’s a grey minimalistic high-ceilinged space. Vibrantly seasoned and creatively composed with unexpected flavour combinations upscale comfort food of baos and more (plenty for vegetarians).
Not all of it works. Dishes priced at
Rs275 to Rs350 (the most expensive being Rs 450)
. The whole experience (including getting lost due to the closed road) is an exciting story. “Goyaa” is the Persian word for the art of telling a story. An unpretentious delicious story!
PS The twist to our story? we find out at the end…our unformed server is Siddharth Somaiya the brilliant 30 year old owner chef.
Goyaa, Unit No 2, JAK Compound, DK Cross Road, Byculla (E).
Rs 2000 for two.
Open from 7pm to 1am.
RATING FOOD 3.75 SERVICE 3.75 DÉCOR 3.75
ITALY & FRANCE IN LONDON
From freezing cold London, I send you a taste of sunny Italy and gourmet France. And to revel in both these, I don’t need to go out into the windy, rainy outside at all. Both are housed in the iconic, almost a century old, stately landmark the magnificent Dorchester. It overlooks Hyde Park and it fuses contemporary comfort with the timeless glamour and heritage of the property. What also excites me is it’s range of gourmet cuisines.
He’s a legend in his own right. The genial Giuliano Morandinhas been the heartbeat of the fashionable buzzing see and be seen opulent Bar. Ofcourse as a bar manager he has played host to the whos who, his famous champagne shimmer cocktail (with gold flakes and complimentary lip gloss for the ladies) continues to make waves in London. But now Giuliano, the bar manager is making history by serving robust Italian flavors from his hometown. Freshest of handrolled pasta, flavorful pesto, tiramisu…all made to his grandmother’s recipes. Giuliano and his award-winning team of experimental alchemists shake and stir many a magical cocktail. He serves up the champagne shimmer to Helene Pietrini the lovely, dynamic director of the prestigious Worlds 50 best Restaurant Academy. We take a bite of the al dente pasta, go back for a full Italian dinner the next night and get happy high on the shimmering cocktail. All this in the luxurious lacquered mahogany, mirrored glass, velvet and dramatic red bar!
FRENCH FINESSE IN LONDON
It doesn’t get any better than this. At the three starred shimmering temple to French gastronomy we dine in a shimmering cloud… fibre optic curtain at the superglam Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester.
I had dined here 11 years ago when it had just opened. It is better than ever. The dashing and brilliant Executive Chef Jean-Philippe Blondet ‘s French contemporary haute-cuisine is full of distinctive fresh flavors executed with a light and surprising twist.
We. try many a vegetarian masterpiece including the legendary cookpot. The signature “Sauté gourmand” of lobster, truffled chicken quenelles and homemade pasta; Halibut,
oyster and seaweed and Dry aged beef, artichoke and bone marrow dazzle.
——French contemporary haute-cuisine is full of distinctive fresh flavours executed with a light and surprising twist.
We. try many a vegetarian masterpiece including the legendary cookpot. The signature “Sauté gourmand” of lobster, truffled chicken quenelles and homemade pasta; Halibut,
oyster and seaweed and Dry aged beef, artichoke and bone marrow dazzle.
Restaurant Director Enrico Baronetto takes fabulous care of us. We end with the heady chocolate light airy souffle and the traditional baba Rhum.
Ive been fortunate to dine at Alain Ducasses’ haute cuisine restaurants in Paris, Provence, Tokyo, NYC (before it closed down) and Monte Carlo (where I even shot my TV show). Celebrated for his innovation,
attention to detail and dedication to both quality and technique, Ducasse reigns internationally supreme with the largest number of Michelin stars in the world. In all his restaurants Ive had these light, airy spheres of delight…French cheese puffs. Each meal begins with these. On my request Jean Phillipe Blondit shares the r4ecipe with us.
(makes 2 baking trays)
A dedicated part of our guests’ dining experience, these delicate cheese puffs
are served warm and seasoned with paprika, black pepper, and Emmental
300 ml water
8 gr salt
240 gr flour (T55)
110 gr grated Emmental cheese
100 ml dry white wine
180 gr unsalted butter
380 gr whole eggs
1.5 gr ground black pepper
sweet paprika powder/ground black pepper (optional)
In a pot, make a choux pastry by combining water, white wine, salt and
butter and bring this to a boil.
Add the sieved flour to the liquid and continue to cook until a ball of dough
Transfer the warm dough into a mixing bowl and with a paddle attachment at
low speed, blend in the eggs little by little until fully incorporated and the dough is smooth.
Add the grated Emmental cheese and the ground black pepper and mix until
Fill the dough into a piping bag fitted with a 10mm plain round tip and pipe little mounds (4cm apart), onto a tray lined with baking paper.
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before baking.
In a convection oven preheated to 180°C, bake the gougères for 18 min-
utes or until golden brown and puffed.
Once baked, the gougères can be topped with additional ground black
pepper or sweet paprika powder and transferred to a cooling rack.
Gougères are best enjoyed warm.
Its memorable. Its incomparable. I refer to the amazing spectrum of tastes, flavours, cultures that I am feasting on. Here in France’s most magnificent over a century old landmark, Im not only tripping out on the finest French cuisine, history and culture but also the most amazing vegetarian masterpieces.
Any wonder this Parisian landmark is patronised by our very own Prime Minister ModI (confirmed vegetarian) heads of state, royalty, movie moghuls, haute couteriers and superstars from all fields.
For more than a hundred years this landmark has exemplified modernity luxury and timelessness Helmed by. Superstar Francois Delahaye over decades it has played host. to. many a superstar. And our very own Prime minister Mody too.
Haute cuisine and haute couture are being seamlessly celebrated here. And Im overjoyed that “naturalness’ cuisines’ vegetarian masterpieces are created in Michelin starred maestro Alain Ducasse’s shimmering restaurant located in the iconic couture landmark Plaza Athenee.
For some inexplicable reason vegetarianism is always associated with asceticism, the opposite of luxury and with tasteless food. But here maestro Alain Ducasse busts all those myths. It’s a starry glamorous experience in every sense of the term…Luxury drips in ten thousand Swaroski pendants which dangle instead of chandeliers. And the hushed elegance coddles and pampers like no other.
Michelinstarred maestro Alain Ducasse points out “To eat more healthily and naturally is today both an expectation and a necessity that must be translated into the field of haute cuisine”. And this is done by using only exceptional produce. “This is the cuisine I sincerely love This very personal interpretation is indeed, here, in my restaurant at the Plaza Athénée.” Concludes the maestro.
Alain Ducasse designed his cuisine at the Plaza Athénée around the vegetables-cereal-fish trilogy. Its amazing that here in this temple to high gastronomy the gardener is being given as much importance as the chefs.
It goes without saying that the brilliant chef in the restaurant Romain Meder, ensures that the technical base of French haute cuisine remains intact and delivers the most luxurious vegetarian haute cuisine too.
The food is not only healthier and more natural, more respectful of the Planet but it dazzles with flavour and taste. Therein lies its memorable magic.
I watch Chef Romain Meder in action in the gleaming kitchens and admire the way he delivers a free and nearly instinctive interpretation of Haute Cuisine, revealing the produces’ original flavour, from the noble to the humble, all exceptional.
THE WORLDS BEST FRENCH TOAST
Where did I find the worlds best French toast? In the best Parisian Michelin starred landmark, Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee ofcourse. I could write a sonnet to it and still would not be able to express it’s dazzling exceptional texture so moist plump with flavour. Created by Winner of the World Pastry Cup and several other prestigious awards
Meilleur ouvrier de France Angelo Musa and Guillame Cabrol.
Ive always been a fan of The French toast, whose recipe dates back to the 4th or 5th century. Over centuries and in different countries it has had different names aliter dulcia(“another sweet dish”)
Arme Ritter(“poor knights”)But the usual French name is pain perdu interestingly translates to “lost bread”, reflecting its use of stale or otherwise “lost” bread. There are many versions and names but heres not only the worlds the best French toast but also its recipe, generously shared by Pastry world champion Chef Angelo Must.
oatmeal flour 785 g
Salt 15 g
Yeast 330 g
Eggs 480 g
Butter 490 g
Kneat flavour, salt, sugar, yeast and the eggs until the dough is soft.
Add cold butter in three times.
Knead again until the dough is soft.
Leave for 30 minutes.
Form a ball and then a sausage shape.
Put it in a form (height 15 cm large 15 cm long 40 cm)
Leave the dough for 4 hours.
Put it in the oven for 1 hour – 160 °C.
And I actually have this toast at breakfast. The most luxurious way to begin the day…he amazing array of boulangerie baked fresh. Chocolate croissants, butter croissants, brioche, sultana swirls
walnut and lemon croissants, chocolate and pistachio pastries and kugelhopf too.
The menu is in English, Japanese, Russian, Chinese,
Spanish and, of course, French ensuring that everybody can
spread the message to every corner of the globe that breakfast
at the Plaza Athénée is the best in Paris! And it’s French toast the best in the world. Which it is.
TASTING TROPICAL PARADISE
I’m getting high. On tropical flavours, but even more on knowledge of the rare and the exotic. And the waltz of local Mauritian flavours with French gastronomique techniques orchestrated brilliantly by the young local Mauritian Chef Didier Jacob. But first, let me tell you all about how I lost my heart to the rare “heart of coconut palm” masterpiece.
OF HEARTS & RUBIES
I lost my heart to the rare coconut heart & to the brilliant young chef Didier Jacob who created a masterpiece from it. Then it is the ruby red jewel of slow cooked beetroot puree that dazzles. It is masterfully sparkled with orange spices the char grill beetroot kissed with star anise. Sonnets & symphonies of the finest of local Mauritianvegetables with classical frenchgastronomic finesse parade.
But first please take a look at the accompanying photograph with the long 60 kilo cylinder from a 15 year old coconut palm tree that the chefs are holding. It is then peeled open in front of us. It is delicious to taste raw and then Chef Didier seduces with the lightest crunchy Coconut Palm Heart tartare sparkled with turmeric and its Carpaccio with lime dressing.
Coconut palms are known typically for their coconuts.
You can eat and drink the nuts in various stages of development and they are all delicious.
However, did you know that you could harvest the heart from a coconut palm and eat it?
The heart of palm is located where the green leaves start to bud from the trunk.
Under the woody palm, leaf stem is a soft, white center.
Removing the heart from a coconut palm kills the tree.
Thankfully, after each purchase of a coconut heart they plant ten more trees.
After that heart of coconut palm course, we move on to the Pumpkin, a masterpiece of smoked nine moths aged Pumpkin, Confit Butter nuts, pumpkin puree with almondcrowned with crispy Spring onions roots The Green Asparagus Variation tantalises with with green apple, and it smoked Asparagus puree
The sweet finale painted on to the table of compressed fruit mascarponecream and more is fingerlicking good.
chef Didier’s years of globetrotting and working alongside starred. geniuses shines.through as he has evolved his unique expression of Mauritian cuisine with classical French influences.
LA BELLE CREOLE MARY
Inspired by the warm currents of the Indian Ocean, La Belle Creole Mary is an interpretation of the traditions of the tropical paradise. Signature touches such as aloe vera juice, coconut, evoke inspired memories of Mauritius. Derived from the Bloody Mary and Virgin Mary this cocktail and mocktail has a fascinating history. And Ive tasted it in all three of it’s birthplaces, Mauritius, New York and Paris (notes on those follow). Here’s how to shake the perfect
Mauritian, St Regis La Belle Creole Mary… INGREDIENTS
3 1/3 OZ / 100 ML fresh tomato juice
2 3/4 OZ/80 ML aloe vera juice
4 TSP/ 20 ML of Worcestershire sauce
4 drops of Tabasco sauce
1 1/2 OZ / 45 ML premium traditional rum (optional if you want a mocktail)
1 pinch celery salt
4 mint leaves
1 coconut curl
8-10 coconut flakes, for garnish
1 slice of lime, for garnish
1 sprig of mint. for garnish
Put the tomato and aloe vera juices and rum (if you choose to). Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces, celery salt and mint leaves into a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir with a mixing spoon for I0 seconds. Strain into a stemless red wine glass and add crushed ice. Place the coconut curl on top. Garnish with the coconut flakes, slice of lime and sprig of mint.
In New York, I zoom in on the timeless yet contemporary, over a century old King Cole bar at St Regis.
Originally founded by John Jacob Astor over a century ago, it is this
magnificent landmark where hotel history was made. The center of Manhattan social life.
not only did St Regis make history with all newsworthy and
path-breaking conveniences (telephone, central heating) but is even credited with the
invention of one of the worlds most famous cocktails the “Bloody Mary”.
It was way back in 1934, Fernand Petiot, bartender at the famous King
Cole Bar, perfected the Bloody Mary-
the iconic vodka and tomato juice cocktail so beloved today. The famed
cocktail was created when Serge Obolensky, a well known man about town
whose penchant for vodka was in keeping with his
aristocratic Russian background, asked Petiot to make the vodka
cocktail he had in Paris. The formula was spiced up with salt, pepper,
lemon and Worcestershire Sauce, Interestingly, the name Bloody Mary
was deemed inappropriate for the elegant clientele of The St. Regis,
it was rechristened the Red Snapper.
This ain’t a bowl of mere fermented vegetables. It’s Kimchi. It’s magical. It’s origin is centuries old. But it was sent to space on board Soyuz with South-Korean astronaut Yi So yeon.
It was declared ” vitally important to the morale of Korean troops” (President Park Chung Hee).It’s been cited by Health Magazine as one of the world’s five “healthiest foods” and it dates back to the period of the Three Kingdoms (37 BC‒7 AD.
Till today, it’s a very central part of the Korean meal. It is served as “Banchan” a collective name for small side dishes served along with cooked rice.
On my very first trip to Korea, I’m fortunate to not only taste kimchi in the finest three Michelin starred Korean cuisine restaurant but also blessed to get a taste of “vegan” kimchi in a monastic meal ritual cooked by a monk in the mountains. And finally actually got to make the kimchi myself, in the finest kimchi making class of Korea…with Master Lee and two other brilliant chefs.
IN KOREAS BEST RESTAURANT
I’m on top of the world. In every sense of the term. I’m dining in three Michelin starred Layeon perched on the rooftop of Shilla Seoul, the luxury powerhouse.
The gracious and stately Shilla stands behind Seoul’s medieval city walls but continues to reign supreme. La Yeon interprets Korean cuisine with great care and sophistication. Balanced flavors and textures explode …from mellow flavors of Pinenut porridge to the perfect Bulgogi and bibimbap with banchan and the most addictive umami rich kimchi.
I’m not just feasting on the brilliant Chef Sung il Kim’s refined and sublime Korean food but also learning about the basics and evolution of Korean food. Translating for me is the everhelpful Yaeeji Kim.Highest quality ingredients, authentic flavors and creativity infuse the dishes… from mellow and soothing to royal-cuisine Hot Pot here.
BLISSED TEMPLE MEAL
I m in heaven and didn’t even have to die to get here… Just drove four hours in snow to reach the beautiful Naejang mountains. Can spiritual vegetarian meditative monk s food be so seductively gourmet and varied? It sure is I’m Tasting blessings… literally too. All this at the fabulous formal multicourse monastic meal ceremony (barugongyang) The lovable loving and friendly monk.
At Cheongjinam Temple. We sit on the floor with empty bowls baru in front of us. And as if by magic the silent servers glide in and fill them up. Making food and partaking in it is part of the meditative process in the temple and here, they eat only what they farm and make on site. Amazingly gentle and vibrant flavors and textures seduce . We wash the dishes after the meal with the water in each bowl and walk out in a single file.
We move in to the dining area and our eyes and taste buds are luxuriously memorably pampered. After that lunch, monk Jung Kwan takes us on a fascinating walk to see her storage facilities where her “jangs”, sauces and kimchi are being fermented. Since garlic, onions are not used it is these fermented pastes that add a zing to her vegetarian masterpieces.
lovable inspirational monk for delicious blessings which we tasted too. If this isn’t heaven what is?
Note: A unique and blissed out treat. And to be lunching with Koreas finest gourmet chefs, Mingoo Kang ( chef Michelinstarred Mingles)
Hyunseok Choi (chef of ever popular Choi)
Jinpyo Kim, CEO Plating Company
All this made possible thanks to the lovely Editor in chief of Tasty Cookbook,Eunsil Jang.
KIMCHI MAKING CLASS
Its a dream come true. Not only to learn kimchi making from Master Soyoung lee,but to do so with my own hands and then to have the privilege of a home-cooked lunch by her. Kimchi making is done in winter (when the ingredients are available) and its all about bonding and a wonderful family feeling as we chop the vegetables and massage the spices into them. All this with Chef Choi who’s doing pathbreaking research in fermenting and Chef Heesuk Cho a professor in Korean cuisine. Not only have most of the great Korean chefs trained under her but her restaurant (I had an amazing meal here) continues to inspire many others.
It’s all thanks to the super helpful and amazing JungYoon Choi, a chef with 20 years of experience working in Spain, Australia and Korea. Trained at Alicia Foundation and El Bulli and is now executive chef of the Sempio Korean Fermentation Culinary Research Center in Korea. with top chefs and gastronomy-related professionals to research on Korea’s fermentation food culture. She very generously shares the authentic recipe for the kimchi.
– Coarse Salt 7cups
– Chives 200g (Cut 4cm)
– Leeks 200g(Cut diagonally)
– Red Brassica juncea 100g (Cut 3cm)
– Chopped raw shrimps 100g
– Chopped Sea staghorn 100g
– Radish 2kg (Cut 5cm)
– Crushed Chili pepper 6cups
– Chopped Garlic 1 1/2 cups
– Chopped Ginger 1/2 cups
– Salted shrimps 1cups
– Anchovy liqueur 1cups
– Sugar 1/2cups
– Coarse Salt 1/2 cups
- Mixed all the spices and ingredients. (Let this ripen for 30 minutes.)
- Rinse pickled cabbage in cold water to remove moisture.
- Ready to the seasonings between the prepared cabbage.
- Store prepared Kimchi in a container.
The best tasting kimchi is stored in room temperature for an average of six months to reach its full flavor.
After that delicious home style lunch, we all get the fabulous kimchi to take home. As Choi says “my mother will be thrilled with this kimchi, for her and all of us, it is more valuable to receive this than an Italian designer handbag” That’s how magical kimchi is!!!