review

Mountain Magic

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MICHELIN-STARRED PICNIC WITH CHEF NORBERT NIEDERKOFLER, URSULA AND HUGO PIZZININI.

Mmm what a multi-dimensional feast for the senses: Michelin starred cuisine in the worlds most dramatic and dazzling Dolomite mountains in Italy bathed in brilliant summer sunshine and sparkled with wild flowers. I shot this photograph on our Sunday picnic in the mountains, where the brilliant Two Michelin starred and highly awarded Chef Norbert Niederkofler  cooked up a memorable feast. He is flanked by Hugo and Ursula Pizzinini who redefine the art of hospitality. In their family owned over seven decade old Rosalpina they make all guests feel like family.  Here comfort, luxury and high-tech meld together  in every exquisite detail. From the super-stylish  Zeno chalet within the hotel, the bio hamam, yoga studio to movie theatre. All this in their hotel in San Cassiano  a tiny village with a population of 700.

It is here that their  two Michelin starred restaurant (the only one in the region) St Hubertus has been magnetizing global gourmets. There is magic in Chef Norberts hands. “The best things are the simple things but at the same time also the hardest things to do” he says as he drives me to meet the producers from whom he directly sources milk, cheese, yoghurt, vegetables and more. “Cook the mountain” is his philosophy and local sourcing is the foundation.

As  also “simple, clear and clean” where he skillfully combines only a maximum of 3 or 4 Flavours. His brilliant beetroot gnocchi plump with the surprising horseradish cream, barley risotto with black garlic are some of the vegetarian dishes   that dazzle. I have many of his recipes and happy to share them with you. Please emailrashmiudaysingh2016@gmail.com

Review: Dishkiyaoon

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Balle! Balle!“Fun dining” comes of age in Mumbai. “Dishkiyaoon” the three month old restaurant in BKC more than lives up to it’s name.

Read my detailed review on http://www.whatshot.in/critic-review/dishkiyaoon-r-9351

Review: Cafe Mezzuna

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Here’s a joyous whoop for this brand new, already-packed restaurant. It symbolises Mumbai’s restaurantscape’s most prevalent trend: Moderately priced, Accessible European fare and located in a mall.

Read my detailed review on http://www.whatshot.in/critic-review/cafe-mezzuna-r-9346

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

Paradise Found

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The famous detox egg, Chef chef Jean-Luc Lefrançois, Geraldine Maiale in the South of France.

All my senses are being pampered here. If there is paradise on earth, this is it. This is it. Not only is the sun-soaked, glamour drenched south of France, breathtakingly beautiful, the historic Chateau St Martin in the 35 acre park the pinnacle  of luxury but even it’s chef conjures up food that is as wickedly delicious as it is wholesomely nutritious.. Like the original detox egg that  maestro chef Jean-Luc Lefrançois (please see photo) has innovated and evolved over the years. Infact, as the ever-helpful Geraldine Maiale explains as she translate,  he has a whole Detox menu that dazzles, be it Carrots flavoured with lemon balm or Carpaccio of pineapple and kiwi.

All this in the site dating back to Roman times and which a little later  played host to the Bishop of Tours in the year 350 A.D. and kept his name from that time on.

In the stylish restaurant I trip out on delicious  masterpieces while overlooking the stunning views of the South of France. Every square inch of Chateau St Martin bristles with style and comfort. And chef Jean-Luc Lefrançois’s exciting background, be it in gastronomy or in sport ( champion of triathlon, skiing and  biking) has me thrilled. Even more, because he has shared the Recipe for his famous “Detox Egg” should you want it please instagram, tweet @rashmiudaysingh email rashmiudaysingh2016@gmail.com

Review: British Brewing Company

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I went to this sprawling Phoenix Mills “British Brewing company” expecting a raucous pub (which it is) a dimly lit bar (which it has) but here’s the surprise “it’s a family restaurant”. And children are not only allowed in “British Brewing company” but welcomed.

Read my detailed review on timescity.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.

A taste of history

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Making sweet history…Chris Ford and Audrey Slade.

I am tasting  a historic sweet union …France’s favorite cookie (the macaron) is being married to America’s favorite Oreo. The result? A sublime Oreo macaron.And presiding over the nuptials is the brilliant patisseur chef Chris Ford.  Pretty-in-pink  is yet another masterpiece of his. He is creating sweet history in  the magnificent  Pretty  woman hotel, which is the glamorous repository of  Hollywood history.  Beverly Wilshire opened in 1928 on the site  of the deserted Beverly Auto Speedway ( and now it faces Rodeo Drive, the glamor drenched shopping boulevard to the world). As Audrey Slade, who combines beauty and brains, explains, the pool is modeled after Sophia Loren’s private villa in Italy, Elvis Presley, Warren Beatte lived here for long periods. And even now this is where not just Hollywood but even Bollywood (Anil Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra et al)  lives and dines. Glamorous history keeps repeating itself!

Review: The American Joint

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Caution: do not get misled by the name. This brand new American Joint ain’t got no steaks or burgers et al. It is in fact, (hold your breath) pure vegetarian and focuses on Jain food.

Read my detailed review on timescity.com