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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

A creative palate: Home chefs are cooking up a storm in their kitchens

Trendspotting: The pandemic has inspired many to explore their inherent talents, passions and interests, which they may have otherwise accepted as routine

Written by Nagina Bains | Chandigarh |
August 7, 2020 11:40:28 am
home chefs, home cooks, home cooks india, covid 19, indian express lifestyle Simple, innovative, healthy, practical recipes shared by passionate cooks have flooded the internet. (Representational photo: Getty/Thinkstock)

Every crisis brings an opportunity. One glance at social media will be a revelation as to what it is. Many have given life to the dormant culinary expertise vein in their right brain and have become explorers in their kitchens. So, if cycling tracks in the tricity are crowded, then so are the grocery shops catering to many fancy orders from home chefs. From Indian to continental, Asian to American, it is a tempting spread. The ‘Palates Story’ by NatashakaranNanda on Instagram has eye-catching delights.

“I have always had a passion for cooking. During the lockdown, my family’s constant demand for more variety motivated me to document my cooking experiments in the kitchen, which is how to make home cooked meals look exotic and taste amazing. That’s how the idea of the Palate Story by Natasha Nanda happened.” She creates appetizers that are a blend of modern and traditional tastes and the main course ranges from all parts of India and ends up in the middle of Africa, where the traditional dish Bunny Chow has become an integral part of her menu.

The pandemic has inspired many to explore their inherent talents, passions and interests, which they may have otherwise accepted as routine. Pallavi Sachdeva, the chef behind the ‘Flambe’ label has a similar story to share. “A couple of weeks into the lockdown, I found myself seeking solace in my kitchen, trying new recipes and recreating old favourites. I would find joy in setting up a mini feast for my family. Compliments from friends, virtual ones, encouragement from family inspired me to develop my own brand of recipes and luxury home dining spaces. I was determined to use only the best ingredients and offer dishes I would want those in my own home to enjoy. All dishes are created from scratch in small batches, using fresh and seasonal produce. Most dishes have a fusion element that will satisfy Indian taste buds. Safety and hygiene are paramount, as we follow every norm in the book, and offer delivery through our family staff, with a special area for takeaways. We believe that delicious food deserves to be served in a beautiful setting which is why we also offer concepts for table-scaping schemes,” shares Sachdeva.

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Simple, innovative, healthy, practical recipes shared by passionate cooks have flooded the internet. The recipe of banana bread shared by a German chef on a Facebook group has got many into the baking mode, and this time has made us discover the simple joys of cooking, baking and filling our lives with many tasteful experiences.

Another star in the making is 20-year-old Ishana Passi, an undergraduate in London, who is using her time home in Chandigarh to create a label, ‘spoonfulstoriesbyIshanaPassi’. Growing up in Chandigarh and being surrounded by Punjabi culture has made her passionate about food. Passi’s time in the kitchen has always proved to be therapeutic and exhilarating. “I have started Spoonful Stories as a personal blog to share my sweet and savory recipes, celebrate life around the joy of cooking and eating together. The kitchen is your space to be creative and productive and for me Spoonful Stories is a tool to help you enjoy the process of cooking and reconnect with your loved ones over good food. If you can bond over dinner table at the restaurant, why not have the same family time in your kitchen while cooking and eating together?” Passi says cooking doesn’t have to be complex and that’s precisely why all her recipes are simple and conversation starters. My aim is to get people to cook at home and enjoy the benefits and feel the joy. I will be publishing my recipe book soon next year and I am planning to starting online cooking classes for all age groups.”

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Pan Asian food is her favourite and a popular recipe is that of a Thai Cucumber Salad, with a simple dressing and the 15-minute spicy Thai peanut noodles. “Don’t be lazy, step into the kitchen and enjoy the process. I want people to share their recipes with me so I can feature them on my blog and share these with the world.”

Well, here’s a toast to home chefs and home-cooked delicacies!

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