Travel

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.

Dazzled in Dusseldorf

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DUSSELDORF DELIGHTS: GERD , GIULIA, SUSHI AND SARA IN THE STEIGENBERGER PARK.

Paris. Milan. Dusseldorf. Three fashion capitals of Europe. So what is a foodie like me doing in Dusseldorf? Getting a taste of this charming 800 year old city ‘s history, in the Old town, Altstadt (freshly brewed local Altbeer feasting on Himmel und Ad, Sauerbraten) et al. But in this truly international city, I have many a superb Japanese, Korean, Italian meal too. At the top of Koenigsalle, (the world famous glittering fashion boulevard)   at the  finest, most luxurious,  over a century year old Steignerberger Park hotel’s “Artiste”  I have a world class meal. And do so with   equally  cosmopolitan and brilliant  Dusseldorf residents:  Gerd Hess (German)  Giulia Kim (Korean), Sushil Bilaney(Indian) Sara (British) … a true taste of cosmopolitan Dusseldorf.

From Germany with Yummy – Health

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Did you know that the Chinese will never accept an overweight gourmet. The reason? A gourmet has to know his/her food in all it’s aspects and not just be an over-indulgent hog.  As part of my ongoing learning (I am a perpetual student) Im in the world renowned, cutting edge Lanserhof, in the stunning snowy Bavarian mountains. I am studying the connection between food and health and taste. More than 70 doctors and as many chefs here have been working together on the principles of food and health.  Im attending cooking classes and working my way through many a unique and easy healthy recipe. Should you need some of these please, instagram, twitter @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

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.

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!

Starpower Dining

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Hollywood producer Sunil Perkash and scriptwriter Anjali Vithayathil, with Ben Trodd and chef Bellec at The All new BLVD.

I’m on a foodie pilgrimage… from Lima (the rocking capital of Peruvian cuisine) to Machu Picchu (citadel of the ancient Incas) to Mexico city (Latin Americas restaurant awards as jury) and now in Los Angeles (the glamour and film capital of the world). Here I dine in three landmark symbols of Hollywood. Wolfgang Pucks Spago (superb) Chateau Marmont (pedestrian food) and the crowning glory is the dinner at the all new art-deco BLVD, the ultimate winner of a symbol of Hollywood dining, which bristles with starpower and the brilliant French chef Thomas Bellec’s Mediterranean magic with Californian produce. Voted top “Power Tables” … Wall Street Journal, ironically enough it is in BLVD that I’ve had salad with Priyanka Chopra, muesli with Anil Kapoor and steak with Javed Akhtar. Today I dine with Super achiever Sunil Perkash ( producer  of Hollywood Blockbusters, including SALT with Angelina Jolie and Enchanted with Amy Adams.) This Stanford graduate, gourmet at large also cooks up delicious biryani. Also a Stanford alumni, the talented Scriptwriter Anjali Vithayathil’s is currently working on another western with Sunil. Joining us, is well-traveled gourmet, the dapper Ben Trodd, who has led many a hotel to win awards and spearheads, Beverly Wilshire, the “pretty woman hotel” and iconic Hollywood landmark.

P.S My starpower dining continues,thanks to Michalene my foodeditor friend of Robb Report, we’ve just got a table at the mega-celebrity chef Curtis Stone’s three month old “Gwen” . Should you need information about LA restaurants, please instagram, tweet or mail me at rashmiudaysingh2016@gmail.com