WHEN IT comes to global gastronomy, the French always lead by example. Credited for putting together modern haute cuisine, it is never easy to please the French palate. No surprise, the forthcoming visit of French President Francois Hollande to Chandigarh on January 24 has sent the kitchens of Taj Chandigarh in a tizzy.
According to sources in the hotel, there have been a series of meetings with senior chefs from the hotel’s Delhi team as well as French officials to plan out a menu for the visiting dignitary who is also the chief guest at this year’s Republic Day parade in New Delhi. Incidentally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be receiving the French President at Taj Chandigarh. According to the programme details given by the Ministry of External Affairs to the Chandigarh Administration, this will be followed by lunch.
While Taj Chandigarh boasts of an expat Chinese chef and a cafe that’s known for its Continental spread, the focus will be on plating up delicacies from the region. “We are still working out a detailed menu but the mainstay will be a distinct Punjabi flavour. It will be a good selection of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian fare,” says Anant Anand, food and beverage manager at Taj Chandigarh.
The hotel boasts of an award-winning fine dining restaurant, Dera, that is credited for reviving age-old authentic dishes from pre-Partition Punjab area. According to sources in the hotel, many of the dishes for the proposed VVIP lunch will be from the Dera menu that was recently revamped. “Dera offers some very unique dishes. We have revived the art of cooking on stone with dishes like Pathhar gosht and Atta chicken,” said Surinder Singh, general manager of Taj Chandigarh, at the re-launch recently.
While the team is tightlipped about the final menu for the forthcoming event, the responsibility for the final spread lies on the shoulders of Sumant Dadwal, executive chef, Taj Chandigarh. “We are not bringing in a team from outside. We have put together a proposal of menu and given it to the French team and are awaiting their feedback,” said Dadwal.
While one would hope the customary sarson ka saag and makki ki roti is on the lunch menu, it would in all probability also include regional delights such as gajar ka halwa and a Dera speciality — Sitaphal kulfi. Bon Appétit!
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