I’ve done it again and again. In the gourmet capitals of the world…Paris, London, Tokyo, New York. Tasted the emblematic dish of the seventeen Michelin starred maestro Alain Ducasse’s culinary philosophy. A symbol of “sincere cuisine”– a harmony of flavors– that is both respectful to the environment and to health. And that too in restaurants located in the world’s most legendary hotels. I refer to the cookpot…Alain Ducasse’s world renowned signature dish He serves up seasonal vegetables from the local terroir cooked in the cookpot. And this seemingly simple pot is used from the stove to the table.
It’s truly a “sensual” dish with an aesthetic that cradles and caresses the food. It’s almost feminine and womb like and Ducasse’s inspiration for it is from his grandmother. “We must restart from the beginning, where the true tastes are […] the technique here is to reveal the flavour of nature,” announced this maestro many years ago. And this simply superb and superbly simple dish has a basic recipe which is the same across all of Ducasse’s restaurants, with the mushroom duxelle and at least seven local, seasonal vegetables. The pot itself is a design masterpiece that is contemporary and nostalgic ( created by Pierre Tachon it owes it’s attractive curves and perfect proportions to porcelain manufacturer Pillivuyt)
Over the years I’ve been getting high on the cookpot in Ducasse’s restaurants around the world.
Be it London’s Dorchester, Paris’s Plaza Athenee, these finest of all hotels are reputed for infusing into their essence the glamour, excitement, and creativity of the people who have been regulars here.
Today I share with you my most recent taste of this dish in three memorable venues.
PARIS :LUXURIOUS VEGETARIAN WOWS
Please take a look at the photograph, shot in the gleaming kitchen of Paris’ most stylish address Plaza Athenee, which serves up the best of the best. Including Alain Ducasse’s shimmering temple to gastronomy which has the gardener’s name on the menu and serves only vegetables, grain and fish. Luxury drips in 10,000 Swarovski pendant-like chandeliers and it is here that I’ve had the most fabulous meals coddled by immaculate service and brilliant attention to detail.
On this recent trip I not only had the most exceptional was fixated on Ducasse’s brand new book on vegetarian cooking (which the gifted Chef Romain Meder is holding along with the dynamic chief of the Dorchester group Francois Delahaye).
GOD HAS COME TO LONDON…Dorchester
“God has come to London” swooned critics when Ducasse set up in London’s legendary landmark The Dorchester. I’d first dined at Ducasse’s newly opened restaurant and went back several times again. Here reality is more luxurious than fantasy. Amid the cloud, surrounded by a luminiscient oval curtain, Id gotten high on the classic French-driven menu I still remember the tastes and textures of the “delicate soft Royale of greens” a glorious medley of vegetables with an ever enlarging circle of freshness. And of course that cookpot, heady and perfect.And I still marvel at how the grand hotel continues to tango with high octane young energy.
BREAKING NEWS…On the River Seine
Its making international waves. It’s an unrivalled Parisian experience. And its has just been launched. It’s a floating masterpiece of Paris history and landmarks. It’s been overbooked since it opened and it took planning ahead to get a table here.
I’m on board the brand new super luxurious restaurant “Ducasse sur seinne” that has just opened and is making international waves. As the Eiffel tower sparkles on the hour of eight, Captain Ulysee Boar and Ines Ioudidi flag off our luxurious meal. Luxurious dining gets redefined. Sailing & Feasting on Parisian landmarks and emblematic French food too. Serenditpitiously we are sailing past my favorite Alexanders bridge when my favorite vegetarian Cookpot is served up. The specially-created, single-serving cocotte, delicious with spelt and violet artichokes is memorable. All created in the bespoke kitchens which sprawl on the lower deck Champagne sparkled the beginning of the dinner. And a parade of dishes sashay in as the silent electric boat glides to music. The meal meanders from the delicate Foie gras pâté to the Chocolate crispy praline accompanied by the finest wines, a symphony of the best French Crus. All this amid lighting by Franck Franjoy from lunar cold to candle warm, a coddling of music and sound and uberfab interiors. And ooh! that cookpot…and yes! the maestro has very generously shared the recipe with me, should you need it, please do mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Please take a look at the photograph, shot with France’s most revered Michelin-starred maestro Alain Ducasse in his iconic restaurant’s gleaming kitchen. The focus is their brand new book on vegetarian cooking which the gifted Chef Romain Meder is holding. When I researched and wrote the Worlds first vegetarian guide to Paris (published by The Times of India) this gleaming glittering Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee took center stage. It has the gardener’s name on the menu and serves only vegetables, grain and fish. Aptly ensconced in Paris’ most stylish address Plaza Athenee, it continues to offer the best of the best. Including the most luxurious breakfast in the French capital, which is what the dynamic chief of the Dorchester group Francois Delahaye, St Petersburg’s brilliant restaurateur and ballerina Matilda Shnurova and I were luxuriating in when we got to know that Alain Ducasse was in the kitchen. He is unstoppable, his brand new restaurant in a super luxurious electric boat was even more exciting than dining on the Eiffel tower. But that’s another story!
Vegan? Vegetarian? Jain? Gluten free? Sugarfree? You name it, they got it Keto ? Voila! a whole menu. I’m a Flexitarian and never on a diet. But I’d still return to Bandra’s Farmers café for a tasty, guilt free, moderately priced meal.
Read my full article on whatshot.in
Pune’s Effingut opens in Colaba (in place of Alibaba). Effingut serves up comfort, music, and fun and that’s why it is buzzing and mobbed. And that explains why even on a weeknight it’s Effingut.
Please read my full review on whatshot.in
THE MAHARAJA OF GERMANY
Q: What do the Maharaja of Patiala, Einstein, Berlin currywurst (curry sausage), Michelin starred meals and singing bowl healing, have in common? Ans: Berlin’s magnificent, over a century old legendary landmark Adlon. The world distils itself on my plate here amid outstanding culinary talent, luxury, old world graciousness and modern high-tech. Renowned as one of Germany’s finest hotels, since 1907, it truly has been the Maharaja of Germany. Under the same roof, I get a taste of the local Berlin signature Currywurst, an uber gourmet two Michelinstarred meal and also flavorpacked Pan Asian dishes. I not only taste but also request recipes of these. And how do I taste the Indian connection? By requesting Vijay Kumar Vyas to do a healing singing bowl meditation for me. Not only did the Maharaja of Patiala stay here regularly, ( as did and still do global royalty, heads of state, Hollywood and Bollywood superstars) but he also gifted Adlon a priceless elephant fountain (please see photograph) which occupies pride of place in the throbbing heart of the hotel. In front of this elephant fountain I catch up with the charming, knowledgable Sabina Held and the celebrated chef Hendrik Otto of the two Michelin starred restaurant, Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer and request their Vijay Kumar Vyas to do my favourite tree pose.
This is when I get to know of about Albert Einstein, Angelina Jolie, Charlie Chaplin to Barack Obama who stayed here.
BERLIN’S CURRY SAUSAGE
I remember shooting (several years ago) for my TV show in Berlin and tasting the Berlin currywurst. The history of this sausage dish dates back to 1949. Herta Heuwer prepared the very first currywurst in her snack stand in Berlin-Charlottenburg when mixing a sauce consisting of tomato paste, curry powder, Worcestershire sauce. Though this was not a favorite of mine, the Adlon version of currywurst delighted. I ate mit in their Restaurant Quarre while sitting outside on the terrace, within airkissing distance of the landmark Brandenburg gate, I tasted the “Adlon-Currywurst”. Here, the talented Chef Michéle Müller offers local specialties and
international classics with a modern twist.
Recipe „currywurst“ sauce
2 pieces onion
3 stems lemongrass
10 pieces lime leaves
4 pieces thumb-sized ginger
½ piece garlic
5 pieces star anise
2 grams cumin
10 pieces cloves
3 tbsp. curcuma
2 tbsp. curry powder
1 litre mango puree
1 litre Coca Cola
10 litre ketchup
Cut the onions into cubes and sauté together with the flavors and spices.
Douse with mango puree and Coca Cola and reduce them.
Fill it up with ketchup and bring to a simmer. Cover the sausages with it. Serve.
Delicious surprise! Tasting awesome Asia’s culinary diversity in Berlin. Right here in The Adlon’s restaurant “Sra bua by Tim Raue”. Here, the brilliant head chef Kai Weigand, serves up modern Pan-Asian cuisine executed with seasonal produce. I taste his creations, simple, light and intensely flavorsome, precise with a perfect balance between sweetness, acidity and spiciness. On my request, Chef Kai shares the recipe of the amazing Wasabi prawns, should you need it please email me email@example.com as it is too lengthy to reproduce here.
HIGH END GASTRONOMY
Dazzling mastery of the culinary arts “tradition eats modern”. Any wonder that Adlons restaurant Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer has been showered with two prestigious Michelin stars and a huge number of other awards? The European-inspired, imaginative and contemporary creations, it’s classic menu is reminiscent of the hotel’s illustrious past delights. ‘Adlon-style fillet of sole’ the famous ‘Canard a la presse’ are Chef Hendrik Otto s masterpeices.
Here, I have an amazing meal of vegetarian masterpieces too. This, since Im researching vegetarian dining in Berlin. Masterpieces of flavour and texture dazzle.
CHENNAI S CULINARY HOME-TALENT
Delicious talent! Ever since last fortnight when I wrote about our Whatshot Tasting session, Ive been flooded with reader- queries about details of the home-bakers and caterers who attended it. I flag off the series with the youngest, the talented and committed 18 year old Ranjani and Akhil’s superb HerbiStore. Absolutely loved their creations and was even more thrilled to know that theyre all vegan, sans white sugar too. Guiltfree feasting on intense chocolatey“Peanut butter cups”. Needless to add the protein rich peanut butter is homemade. Couldn’t stop eating the Fudge Brownie in a jar and the Cookie dough.You can order on
DMs and retailing
Perched opposite the Opera House, Botanica is a 65 seater modern, bright, cheery and tile-floored space. The interiors are a mix of classic and contemporary with floor-to-ceiling glass windows. Read my detailed review on whatshot.in
Jai ho! In Berlin’s magnificent, over a century old legendary landmark Adlon, there’s a beautiful Indian connection. Not only did the Maharaja of Patiala stay here regularly, ( as did and still do global royalty, heads of state, Hollywood and Bollywood superstars) but he also gifted Adlon a priceless elephant fountain (please see photograph) which occupies pride of place in the throbbing heart of the hotel. In front of this elephant fountain I catch up with the charming, knowledgeable Sabina Held and the celebrated chef Hendrik Otto of the two Michelin starred restaurant, Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer . Here I have an amazing meal of vegetarian masterpieces too. This, since Im researching vegetarian dining in Berlin. Masterpieces of flavour and texture dazzle as I dine with Bandana Tewari (who is here to address Ethical fashion at the Berlin fashion week). I taste it all. Including the comfort cuisine, as I wallop the signature Berlin currywurst in Adlon’s other restaurant. In fact Adlon offers it all, including yoga sessions, singing bowl healings, meditations and more by Vijay Kumar Vyas. Jai ho!
Please take a look at our very own dosa lovingly held by the Worlds best chef. I last met this brilliant and down to earth charmer, Michelin starred Daniel Humm at the prestigious Worlds 50 best restaurant awards ceremony in Melbourne. His NYC restaurant Eleven Madison park (which I’ve dined in three times) was justifiably crowned “The world’s best restaurant 2017” As the jury chairperson of the Indian subcontinent (Worlds 50 best) I was thrilled he came to India and made seismic waves, cooking for The World series in Mumbai and Delhi and taking in the spices, cultures, sounds, sights, tastes of India. Since Im still in Spain on research, I could not meet him, but he sent me this email about his “tremendously inspirational” time here. Due to space constraint I can’t reproduce all he wrote. What about the dosa? “my experience with dosas in India was like nothing I’ve ever tasted” wrote the maestro “It was light, complex, almost crepe like, but with a sourness, and delicate nature to it. Of the two types I tried I tend to like the more chewy, less smooth option, but both were incredible”. The dosas themselves made him think…”to push our boundaries further, and look to other cultures for inspiration”. Forever learning and evolving. That’s what keeps him on the top. Looking forward to meeting you Daniel Humm in Bilbao, this June at The world’s 50 best awards 2018. India wishes you all the best!
Can such deliciously addictive food be so healthy (Vegan,ovenroasted,no sugar, no oil and preservative free)? Not only healthy but for a great cause too. Home made by the Helping Hands Foundation which raises funds for the Accommodation Project for kids who live on the street with their families during treatment for Cancer
Thanks fashion designer extraordinaire Rakhee Grover Jain who’s been a regular buyer of the dedicated Madhavi Goenka s “Helping Hands” home made bags of goodness for introducing them to me. Cant stop eating these crunchy organic heavenly handfuls made by a delicious social enterprise that redefines goodness.