The pitter-patter of rain accompanied by cool breeze, hot tea and two chefs for company — it was a perfect set up for a culinary talk on the terrace of hotel Mountview on Saturday afternoon.
In the city to host the first edition of Food Fiesta Chandigarh, organised by Living Foods, a food and lifestyle channel, chefs Ajay Chopra and Ranveer Brar spoke about pakoras, freshly brewed chai and rain memories. “I think the monsoon fare is comforting as it’s mostly hot and steamy,” said Chopra.
Two popular faces on television, Chopra hosts shows like High Tea and Northern Flavours, while Brar steers The Great Indian Rasoi and Food Tripping.
The day-long event invited selected amateur chefs to showcase their talent and win a chance to feature on a cookery show.
“This is the first edition of the festival for Chandigarh after Ahmedabad, Indore, Delhi and Mumbai. We had invited people to send in their special recipes and the response from Chandigarh was overwhelming. Today, those shortlisted candidates will cook for us and we will also hold a workshop,” said Brar before the event.
Both Brar and Chopra, apart from sharing the birthday, are also passionately involved in reviving long forgotten recipes and bringing regional cuisine to the forefront.
“When it comes to food trends and how the food game has changed over the past few years in India, it is important to mention that we have finally become very secure of our cuisines. We no longer look up to international cuisine as a benchmark for good taste or technique. We are looking inwards, at our state fare and giving it the due it deserves,” said Brar.
His contemporary agrees with him. “Regional cuisine is now in the spotlight and as professionals we are revisiting Indian fare from different parts of our country. Make in India is actually quite apt now in the world of hospitality,” said Chopra, adding how thekua, a sweet dish from Bihar, is so similar to a Scottish shortbread.
While molecular gastronomy continues to be the buzz word among chefs, the focus, as Brar pointed out, is shifting to those who actually grow the produce.
“The chefs won’t be celebrities for too long. Recently, I attended an event where farmers doing organic farming were felicitated. And that is the future of food,” said Brar, who is now gearing up for the release of his book, Come Cook With Me, later this month.
Speaking of the books, Chopra who has more than a decade’s experience in the profession is also working on his debut title.
“I have been shying away from penning a book as I didn’t want it to be yet another cookery book with fancy cooking. The book that I am working on will focus on making gourmet dishes out of everyday ingredients found in everyone’s kitchen,” said Chopra.
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