Line cooks and sous chefs across the country had a reason to celebrate on Saturday evening as all their bosses were out of the kitchens. The evening saw India’s leading chefs and restaurateurs from around India gather at the Hyatt Regency, Gurgaon, for the Time Out Food Awards 2014, to celebrate the best within the industry.
Though there was a sprinkling of celebrities from other spheres including theatre, sports and fashion, it was the religion of food and all its high priests who took centre stage. Among them were chefs Manish Mehrotra, Ritu Dalmia, Manu Chandra, Vikas Khanna and Sabyasachi Gorai as well as chef Naren Thimmaiah whose Bangalore restaurant Karavalli has recently been making waves, and for which he picked up the Best Coastal Food Award.
Mehrotra, whose Indian Accent, picked up the award for Best Restaurant said, “It’s great to see everyone come for these awards and to be able to catch up with friends and colleagues from around the country.” Indeed, chefs could be seen swapping war stories and making plans all around, with Chandra who mentioned he was going to “drag off a bunch of guys, starting with Manish here” to his gastro-pub Monkey Bar after the ceremony.
The awards were divided into four segments, punctuated by performances and ‘Chefs’ Talk’ by Gorai, Dalmia, Chandra and MasterChef India’s Kunal Kapoor. Dalmia and Khanna were awarded for their outstanding contribution to the food industry.The Olive Group’s A D Singh picked up the award for Best Restaurateur (Critic’s Choice) and Irfan Pabaney and Rachel Goenka’s Mumbai restaurant The Sassy Spoon won the award for Best Independent Restaurant (Critic’s Choice).
“People always ask us what’s with the name and we always say why not? You should always be true to who you are,” said Pabaney. The year-old restaurant was also nominated in the Favourite Newcomer’s category for its quirky take on contemporary world cuisine. “The desserts are where I really go all out. I play around quite a bit with flavours and textures, and desserts are a very good way to showcase that.
That said, we also invested a lot of time in service and decor to ensure that our guests have a holistic dining experience. The whole idea is fine dining with an attitude, yet within a warm and friendly environment. It’s quite a bit of an oxymoron but we make it work I think,” said Goenka, who also spoke of future expansion plans.
This was the second edition of the annual Time Out Food awards, in association with Citi group. The awards were broadly split into popular choice and critic’s choice categories, the latter comprising an internal panel of Time Out writers and editors. The Imperial Fernando Ballet Company put on a spirited dance recital while comedian Papa CJ had the audience in splits with his stand-up act.