THIS Monday, the otherwise staid auditorium of the Dr Ambedkar Institute of Hotel Management Catering and Nutrition housed in Sector 42 resembled no less than a television studio. If you haven’t yet visited a set, especially one that shoots for culinary shows, this was the perfect place to catch the action. Fat pots sat on multiple burners with liquids in them bubbling away, the flavours floated all around as multiple hands sifted, sieved, chopped and sliced a range of ingredients. A camera caught and projected close-ups of the dishes on a large screen.
Steering this food orchestra of sorts was a man who towered above them all, quite literally. Meet chef Manav Suri. The well-travelled and experienced chef, who has previously worked with hotel chains like the Taj, ITC Group and Marriott, conducted a special demonstration on the art of food plating and styling for the students of the institute. While he owns and runs the popular Gusto Café and Restaurant that serves a delectable mix of Mediterranean fare, the chef chose Italian cuisine for this presentation.
“I wanted to showcase a five-course menu and show that there’s more to Italian fare than just pastas,” said the chef whose menu for the day included gourmet fare like marinated mushrooms with balsamic glaze, parmesan crackers, ossobucco alla milanese (lamb shanks) with risotto, basil pesto, arancini balls and banana panna cotta. “I think palates everywhere are evolved now and as chefs, one is always preserving to rework menus and dish the latest. I wanted to demonstrate some essential technique for Italian fare today,” said Suri.
As he prepped for dishes, the chef patiently explained each step as eager students scribbled away notes in their diaries. From what kind of cuts go with vegetables in Italian fare to teaching the art of making a chicken roulade, the chef walked the students through each.
“It’s very important to practise and also better your skills,” said the chef whose demonstration ran into six hours. Highlighting the need to familiarise oneself with different ingredients, the chef introduced the class to the likes of mascarpone cheese, kosher salt and arborio rice. The latter is short grain Italian rice that makes for a sumptuous risotto which the chef also rustled up. “Make sure you add butter in the risotto when the burner is switched off,” he said, peppering his dish with handy tips.
Bharti Tyagi, principal of the institute, said, “Such workshops provide students with a unique out-of-the-box exposure which helps increase their awareness about the newest trends in modern gastronomy.”