While food experts often take pride in displaying their skills, this time seven chefs are coming together for a noble cause to raise funds by exhibiting their signature cuisines for a cancer treating facility in Mumbai. ‘Food with Benefits’ (FWB), a culinary event in its fifth edition, is coming up with chefs set to patronise the contemporary Indian cuisine at NRI restaurant in Bandra Kurla Complex, on November 22 in support of Tata Medical Centre.
Speaking on his contribution to the event, Chef Paul Kinny of Bellona Hospitality, said, “I will be representing East Indian cuisine, as it is my native culinary heritage, which in my opinion is underrated and no justice has been done to it. “I am excited to bring forward and showcase the simplicity of solid East Indian flavours, case in point the Bottle Masala, and lend my style and panache to it,” he said.
On joining a health cause, Kinny said, “The ability to extend what we do with food and translate it to a good cause is always a welcome change. Most of the times we cook and train for patrons of our restaurants, but this time there is an additional push because it is for a good cause.” Chef Mukhtar Qureshi, from Neel – Tote on the Turf, feels thrilled and honoured to be a part of the FWB – Indian Food edition because he believes it is a great platform merging the best of both the world of food and charity.
“Also getting together with my peers in the industry and cooking up together will be an altogether different experience and one which I am truly looking forward to,” he said. On his signature cuisine for the event, he said, “Since I hail from Lucknow, cooking the regional delicacies from there is something which I love and hence will be representing the same as well cooking up another dish with a Kashmiri influence.”
Qureshi will present ‘Guchi Kashmiri Pulao’ (handpicked Kashmiri morels cooked with fragrant basmati rice and saffron served with Bhavnagiri Mirchi Ka Salan and Burhani Raita) and ‘Jaituni Dudhiya Biryani’ (kid goat shanks cooked with olives and basmati and whole spices the dum way. Chef Himanshu Saini, of Tresind, Dubai, finds it overwhelming to see that food and beverage industry is coming together for events like this.
“For me, it is a perfect opportunity to give back something to the community by doing my bit. It also gives me immense pleasure to be able to work with the other talented chefs,” he said. Saini will represent Rampur district of Uttar Pradesh, dishing out ‘Mawa khichdi’.
“The reason I choose this region is because of its importance in the culinary history of India. The ruler of Rampur, before independence, was known for improving the standard of education in the region by opneing schools and giving donations to colleges during his rule.
“Pre-independence, there was a time when Rampur was a free kingdom and gave refuge to artists, chefs and scholars. Hence, there were many unique dishes like the Mawa khichdi, which were created by these chefs but forgotten with time,” he said. Chef Dhwani Agarwal of Masala Library by Jiggs Karla, feels the initiative is like a spoke in the wheel – doing a big help to the society by riding in the right direction and garnering support and funds for the needy.
She will be representing south, but with a modern touch as “it has got so many unique and simple tasting dishes that can be elevated to the next level”. Also joining the event is celebrity Chef Ranveer Brar, who is happy to do his bit to the society. “It is the first time I am associating with Food With Benefits. I think it is a great platform to provide the best dining experiences to people in the city that is brought together by the finest chefs in the country. The proceedings go to the betterment of the underprivileged, which is a very kind gesture,” he feels.
Besides, Chef Sujan Sarkar, of Ek Bar and Olive Bar & Kitchen, Delhi, Chef Atul Kochhar, NRI (Not Really Indian) Restaurant, Mumbai, will also be showcasing their unique food preparations for the diners.