The rise and the rise of Asian cuisine; that’s the one trend that continues to dominate our restaurantscape. Not only have I tracked it over the past three decades in Mumbai but have recently watched it internationally too.
Read my full review on whatshot.in
I’m stumped. Call it “thaali” call it “thaal” but how do I define this fingerlicking (literally too) shortcut to : bliss? guiltfree non stop eating ? Taste of culture? Yes all this and more. Over the years I’ve been on a thaali- high be it at the South Indian (A RamaNayak Udipi or Mani Bhawan) or the Gujarati (Shri Thacker Bhojanalaya). Till now it is been only about vegetarian thaali’s (except for a fly by night wannabe non veg Bohri thaal restaurant in Grant road). And then along comes the gourmet of all gourmets, the high octane award winning charismatic actor who has four generations of film and gourmet genes. Rishi Kapoor s passion and gourmet gusto is infectious. Inspite of his hectic schedule he drove all the way to taste Gordon Ramsay’s cooking (when I was shooting with Gordon for channel 4). Over the years the charmer has guided me to his favourite foodie haunts. Once again this knight on a white charger (er SUV) fetches me and drives me to his tried tested and tasted Bohri thaal restaurant (!). He does not reveal the name or wherabouts. ” Its all part of the experience and mystique. And I have already booked” he insists.
Stop press. I report from gastronomy’s seventh heaven…what else can a city be called when it has the second largest number of Michelin stars in the world? And not only is this stunningly beautiful seaside city of San Sebastian the nurturing ground for these awesomely brilliant chefs but (aptly enough) hosts the world famous food conference Gastronomika.
High-octane discussions and talks by leading chefs, real time tastings while the cooking is taking place, cooking classes, pintxo tours and more. The chefs from the third and fourth best restaurants in the world (Joan Roca and Mauro Colagreco) share their secrets. At the glittering launch event, Juan Marie Arzak the father of modern Basque cuisine graced the occasion, Michel Bras was felicitated by the dynamic director Roser Torres (who sportingly wore an Indian salwar kameez).Also sharing their knowledge and experiences were many an awesome international chef. And to top it all, our very own Indian chefs were the guests of honour.
Together, they served up a delicious overview which was mind-blowingly comprehensive and at the same time personalized. India’s thousand-year-old tradition and the latest avant-garde innovations glittered with equal intensity.
FIRST TIME EVER…
First time ever. An Awesome star cast of award winning Indian chefs from around the world got together. Ive attended many an international conference, but never has there been such a constellation of superstar Indian chefs.
Each one a maestro in his own right gave the world a taste of incredible India. Literally too. Happily ive not only dined at each ones superb restaurants in London Bangkok Delhi Chennai Mumbai and Sanfrancisco but also given them our very own Times Food Awards and applauded them as chairperson of the Indian subcontinent of Asias50best and Worlds50best Restaurant academies. Each one dazzled through their presentations and cooking demonstrations held in the huge auditorium of the sprawling and well-equipped Kursaal .
Crowned Asias best chef three years in a row and the worlds7th best, Gaggan Anand enthralled the audience as he shared his secrets and cooked up his Indian progressive magic. Presenting the philosophy and diversity of our cuisine was Manjit Singh Gill.
,the treasure house of knowledge Ayurveda and cooking. From San Francisco, Michelin starred Quilon’s Srijith Gopinathan kept us fascinated with his presentation of “India de luxe” As did our other Michelin starred chef Sriram Aylur of London’s Quilon on “Extreme spices of the South”. Yet another Michelin starred chef Vineet Bhatia of Indego ‘s fascinating presentation on “harmony and complexity” was followed by the deliciously riveting one of the only Indian restaurant (from India) on Asias 50 best list, Manish Mehrotra of Indian Accent’s talk and demo on “Indian emotional avant-garde”.
The secrets of the North: “Dum” cooking were wonderfully revealed by Dum Pukht’s Gulam Quereshi.
Exotic flavors of the South were brilliantly presented by Praveen Anand of Daksin as was “Tandoor explosion” by Bukhara’s J.P. Singh Bombay Canteen s gifted Thomas Zacharias presentation on “Wild India” was eye-opening. “European language, Indian feelings” was the fascinating subject of Masala Library s bright young chef Saurabh Udinia’s talk.Team incredible India received thunderous applause. Well deserved. Kudos.
Through it all, we were delighted at how each and every chef cooked and served up atleast one dazzling vegetarian dish. From Manish Mehrotra’s chat patta chaat with a twist to Royal Vega’s Varun Mohan’s “Timoori aloo” . The highlight is that not only Varun himself vegetarian but Royal Vega our only purely vegetarian pan Indian fine dine restaurant. He shares with us the recipe he demonstrated in the Gastronomika.
RECIPE.. TIMOORI ALOO
½ kg Baby Potato
2 cup Greek yoghurt plain
Salt To taste
½ tea spoon Fresh lemon juice
1tea spoon Green chilies paste
1 tea spoon Ginger paste
½ tea spoon Timoor freshly pounded (Himalayan Pepper)
½ tea spoon Red Chili flakes
1 tea spoon Cardamom powder
¼ tea spoon Nutmeg powder
¼ tea spoon Mace powder
1 cup Cream
2 Table spoon Ghee
2 pieces TejPatta
¼ tea spoon Cumin seeds
½ cup Onions, finely chopped
¼ tea spoon Saffron, dissolve in a tea spoon of warm water
Wash, pat dry, prick cut potatoes into halves
Boil with salt until tender.
Drain and cool.
In a bowl add yogurt, lemon juice, ginger paste, green chili paste pounded timoor, red chili flakes, cardamom, nutmeg, mace powder, salt and cream, mix well.
Marinate potatoes in this mixture. for 35 – 40 minutes.
On medium heat, in a heavy bottom pan, put ghee tejpatta, cumin, stir 30 seconds, saute onion.
Add marinated potatoes. Bring to boil, stir. Cover. reduce heat. cook for 10 to 12 minutes. Sprinkle saffron. Serve.
P.S. Aptly enough, I was taken to lunch to KM.0 (hold your breath) a pure vegetarian restaurant by Gemma Moliner and dream team. It served up delicious and amazing creations. And ofcourse I feasted on Michelin starred restaurants…what a line up…Arzak (Juan Marie Arzak and his daughter Elena Arzak thrill) Mugaritz, Akellare, Mirador de Ullia…Was dazzled by them. As by the Gastronomika and our very own team Incredible India.
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 email@example.com
At Alinea, the worlds 7th best restaurant, I dine alone (having booked a month in advance and paid 300 USD online). Art copulates with science and produces wonders, like the translucent balloon on a string (dessert).
Currently the only Michelin 3-Star in Chicago, Alinea strives to provide personalized service to every guest.
Executive Chef Mike Bagale combines a unique mix of a broadly artistic mind with a calm, pragmatic, and practical approach to running a complex kitchen. Here he prepares this brilliant dessert on my table!
And now for the star dessert, Green Apple helium balloons!