Travel

SUPERSTARRED VEGETARIAN

Posted on Updated on

Breaking news! Delicious news! Especially for vegetarians and vegetarian food lovers. At the iconic King of hotels and the hotel of kings, George V in Paris, their one Michelin starred Lorangerie is presenting the most fascinating and gourmet vegetarian menu Ive ever tasted. When I wrote and researched the Worlds first vegetarian guide to Paris (published by Times of India and partnered by GeorgeV) I ate my way through my beloved city for two years. But this is the first time I actually watch the creation and innovation of a series of stunningly sublime vegetarian dishes. The genius Christian Lesquer of their gastronomique restaurant  and Alan Taudon  coax amazing flavors out of the freshest and finest of vegetables and present them with panache. Delicate gems of wizardry dazzle. And sparkle!

Three Michelin starred chef Christian Lesquer and Jean Claude Wietzel at the vegetarian tasting of Lorangerie.
Advertisements

ICONS IN PARIS

Posted on

Francois Delahaye handing over the Plaza Athenee book to Prime Minister Modi

Im in Paris to complete my thesis “The rise and the rise of vegetarianism” .  And so spending most of my time meeting my mentors and professors in the university. Also  part of my research is the most beautiful Parisian landmark. Here, Im not only tripping out on the finest French cuisine, history and culture but also the most amazing vegetarian masterpieces.

For more than a hundred years Plaza Athenee has exemplified modernity luxury and timelessness 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.

Helmed by. Superstar Francois Delahaye over decades it has played host. to. many a superstar. And our very own Prime minister Modi too.

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.

Its amazing that here in this temple to high gastronomy the gardener is  given as much importance as the chefs. And only vegetables cereals and fish are served here.I watch chef Romain Meder create the most delicious luxurious vegetarian haute cuisine. And he shares the recipes too. Should you want any please email rashmiudaysingh18@gmail.com

RECIPE: THE WORLD’S BEST FRENCH TOAST

Posted on

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.

Prime minister Mody being handed the Plaza Athenee book by Francois Delahaye.

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.

Chef Romain Meder with his vegetarian masterpiece

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.

 

French Toast 

 

 

Ingredients:

oatmeal flour 785 g

Salt 15 g

Sugar 111g

Yeast 330 g

Eggs 480 g

Butter 490 g

Method

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.

AT THE CENTRE OF GLOBAL GASTRONOMY

Posted on Updated on

The air is so thick with excitement that I could slice it and pop it into my champagne glass. I report from the planet’s largest gathering of chefs, the worlds most prestigious cooking and baking competitions. Im in Lyon, the home town of the “Chef of the century“ the late Paul Bocuse who shaped the history of gastronomy, through his institute and global  cooking competitions continues to do so. It’s a joy to meet  his son Jerome Bocuse ( several years ago id had the privilege to interview Paul Bocuse for my TV show).Marie-Odite Fondeur s Sirha held once is two years is bustling with global visitors at the displays, exhibitions, discussions , tracking of innovations, hospitality and food trends. The world of gastronomy is celebrating here! With good reason!

Celebrating global gastronomy: Jerome Bocuse and Marie Odite Fondeur …

Recipe: Kimchi

Posted on

MAGICAL KIMCHI

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

Lead photo.jpg
At the best of the best La yeon withChef Sung il Kim and Yaeeji Kim. 

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.

3.jpg
Jinpyo Kim 
Hyunseok Choi 
Monk Jeongkwan 
Mingoo Kang 
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.

2
Learning from the maestros Master Lee, JungYoon Choi (centre)  and chef Heesuk Cho.

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.

 Kimchi

Kimchi
 Magical kimchi.

Main ingredients

     -Cabbage 5ea

     – Coarse Salt 7cups

Side ingredients

– 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)

Spices

– 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

Recipe

  1. Mixed all the spices and ingredients. (Let this ripen for 30 minutes.)
  2. Rinse pickled cabbage in cold water to remove moisture.
  3. Ready to the seasonings between the prepared cabbage.
  4. 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!!!

KOREA’S BEST

Posted on

Here in Seoul’s three Michelin starred  Layeon 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 ever helpful 

Yaeeji Kim. Balanced flavors and textures explode …from mellow flavors of  Pinenut porridge to the perfect Bulgogi and bibimbap with  banchan,. I do  it all… beef tasting restaurant “ Born and bred” , fried chicken and beer (Chimac) eatery, Korean palace cuisine Hansikgonggan , Modern Korean “Mingles” European influenced Korean “Toc Toc”. Pure vegetarian temple cuisine in the mountains, a foodie blind date in “Balwoo Gongyang” but that is another story.

FOR THE BOX (2).jpg
At three Michelin starred Layeon with Chef Sung il Kim and  
Yaeeji Kim.

SEOUL FOOD

Posted on

Lights. Camera.Eat. So what if its    minus two degrees in the Korean capital of Seoul. Here, on the TV set, under the bright lights, its sizzling hot. And what better way to learn about Korean food than  from the maestro,  70 year young, legendary actress and chef Soomi Kim? And to be invited to cook and shoot on the sets of her hugely popular TV show. Superstar chef Hyun Seok Choi  teaches me more fundamentals as does Jin Pyo Kim the mover and shaker of Seoul’s restaurant scene. All thanks to Jung Yum Choi Im  learning how to make “kimchi” the traditional way. And tomorrow driving four hours to the mountains to the celebrated Buddhist monks monastery. To get her blessings and to eat her vegetarian food. Cant wait to learn from her how to make vegetarian kimchi. Need recipes? Please email rashmiudaysingh18@gmail.com

FOR THE BOX (1).jpg
Filming and tasting: Korean superstarchefs, Soomi Kim,  Chef Hyun Seok Choi  and Jin Pyo Kim. 

FRESHNESS REDEFINED

Posted on

Sure! I have dined in the gourmet capitals’ worlds best restaurants but this is the first time that I’m getting a taste of freshness redefined. Here under the stunningly vivid blue sky nestled in the north west coast of the beautiful Mauritius island is “On the rocks”  Here the brilliant chef Igor Bochia  conjures his simply superb and superbly simple magic. Freshest of fish, be it the Dorado, tuna or  red snapper is grilled on the table, right in front of each diner. The sporty and sporting Nishal Seebaluck points out that their luxurious landmark not only specializes in food but also in water sports, snorkelling, scuba diving and more.  They also serve up gourmet omakase Japanese, authentic Mauritian and Creole tasting menus,  Superb Italian and Indian too. Cooking classes as well as Mauritian rum tasting classes. I raise a toast to the exquisite “On the Rocks” with the finest local rum…served up only on ice… on the rocks of course!

FOR THE BOX.....jpeg
Memorable meal ON THE ROCKS: with Chef Igor Bochia and Nishal Seebaluck.

Recipe: Cartagenian style beef with Temptation plantain and coconut rice

Posted on

WAITER, THERE’S A COLA IN MY FOOD

Unusual! Unique! First time ever! I taste a dish cooked in a cola. It has a strangely uplifting and cheering effect…much like the internationally renowned song “waka waka” (sung by the Colombian Shakira). This dish is her favorite…as is mine.  It has a memorable deliciousness that ricochets on my taste buds, pampers my senses and stays in my memory forever. And the interesting part is that it is not a funky, innovation or modern fusion dish, it’s a traditional  South American dish from Colombia’s beautiful, ancient walled city of Cartagena. And I taste it in the stunningly beautiful Legend of Santa Clara. It dates back to 1621 when it was a convent. Even now, every evening, there is the candle lighting ceremony done by the monks.  Here history, lives and breathes and then dapper Richard Launay who helms this landmark ensures that  along with high-tech all traditions are preserved. Nobel prize winning author Garcia Marquez has written an award winning book on the Legend of St Clara. Not only does the brilliant chef  Dominique Oudin cook up this dish but also shares the recipe with me. And it’s only on checking around and doing my research that I find out that many a president, royalty, Bill Gates and even the internationally renowned singer Shakira (shot into fame with Waka Waka) is not only a Colombian but also a regular at Legend of Santa Clara and this dish along with Arripas huevos (egg in a corn batter)  is a favourite of hers.

It has a long name and it s a dish composed of beef (cooked in a cola) plaintain and coconut rice. It has a masterful balance of flavours (savory and a kiss of sweet).

LEAD PHOTO
Tasting Posts Negra with  chef Dominique  Oudin and Richard Launay in The Legend of Santa Clara.
Shakira
Internationally renowned Colombian Singer Shakira’s favourite dish.

 

Posta negra Cartagenera, con platano en tentación y arroz de coco 

“Cartagenian style beef with Temptation plantain and coconut rice”.

LEAD PHOTO 1
Traditional Colombian Post Negra  dish cooked with a cola. 

Serves six

Posta negra 

       1

1.5 kg     beef  

350 g      white onion

350 g      carrot

1 clove    garlic

5 branches of  thyme 

40    cloves

20    whole pepper

1 stick     cinnamon

 580g       brown sugar 

 1.5 Litrescoke

 3 Lts       water

 14g  salt

 20 ml      vegetable oil

 

 Method

Take the beef meat, and clean it. Put half of the salt. Clean the vegetables and cut them in thick cubes. 

In a frying pan, heat up the oil and seared the meat on all sides. Clean the pan with coke and add all the ingredients and the water. 

Cook slowly for about 3 hours according the size of the meat.

Remove the beef. Sift the sauce and verify the flavors.

 

PLATANO EN TENTACIÓN 

“ Temptation plantain”

 

       6     ripped plantain

       450ml     Sweet cola (our icecream soda)

       150ml     water 

       100gr      sugar

       1 stick     whole cinammon

       10 Ud     cloves

        

Method  

Remove the skin from the plantain and cut it in 4 pieces.

In a bowl add all the ingredients, and put the plantain in the mix.

In a sauce pan cook the plantains with the mix and let it cook in low until you get a caramel liquid.

 

Arroz de coco 

Coconut rice

I have the coconut rice recipe with me, should you need it please email rashmiudaysingh18@gmail.com

To serve:

Cut the beef in thin slices and wash with hot  sauce. 

Serve with coconut rice and ”temptation plantain”.

 

LEGENDARY DINNER

As much as I trip out on the traditional beef stew (recipe above) I could with equal joy write poems to avocado weds mango to black garlic weds beef and treetomato weds langoustine.All in Colombia finest legend SantaClara s 1621. And that too by brilliant 27 year young chef Andres Segura .
Brilliant marriage of 
Avocado with the fresh tartness of green mango in a crazily addictive Cold avocado and ginger soup with Sousvide Lobster tail. The degustation dinner of modern Colombian cuisine dazzles.

BOX PHOTO.jpg
Chef Andrea Segura and the avocado mango masterpiece.

 

FRUITS OF LEARNING

My learning continues the next morning over the legendary breakfast… where chef Oudin escorts me through the authentic Colombian street food stalls… I even watch each dish being made. From the most popular 

“patacon” plantain deep fried,

“Arripa de huevo” egg in a corn batter to the superb, freshly brewed Colombian coffee.

And through it all the colorful

“palanquera” in her traditional dress sparkles the breakfast room. The palanqueras are the traditional fruit sellers. So I bite into the juiciest freshest fruit and keep learning too. Having my fruit and eating it too!!!

IMG-20181120-WA0022
Chef Oudin and the Palanquera.