Travelling for Food & Art
Travelling today has become quick and easy, its almost so easy that one can be in several cities in a span of a few hours if not countries. Culinary tourism is what makes one travel to another country and experience the food and cuisine. There are those who travel and carry bags of food often compare good food to our mothers cooking and that makes me wonder with so many mothers in the world the conflict of interest is sure to turn up. So much so many travellers even fail to taste other cusines when they travel which is a shame.
In all my travels its sometimes the images of food taken on the trip that make me remisence and it should surprise me. A food buff history wise, food tourism is usually seen through a realm of culture. Regional food habits, norms and values and these information points though lacking in India are essential for the growth of food tourism. Knowing the history of a dish its rudimentary characteristics, the value of seasonl ingredients from region to region all go a long way in presenting food better and for me closer to the goal of making Indian cuisine a global one.
For as a chef myself and one who travels a fair bit, I see that chefs have turned artists of a different kind over the years with many chefs even delving in the world of food styling. Chefs building up chefs by staying in the backend kitchens on food shows. Their art rarely coming into the forefront due to the hosts and channels refusal to give them credit. Its not about reinventing the wheel but all about being innovative.
While to most the journey of visiting restaurants globally is to sample an exotic cuisine, one has to remember that there are only so many ways one can cook a chicken or a vegetable. While most chefs know that whatever they have thought of has probably been thought of by another, its all about showmanship at the end of the day.
Styling the plate and even restaurants these days is sometimes all around the chef. While food styling is a highly specialised field, it relies heavily on ones knowledge of food but with and artistic touch. A great deal of patience and making the food speak for itself. Taking food in every direction and the ability of giving it height he probably broke the mould that made most great chefs artists. The trend of minmalistic and where less is more
Chefs have learnt to cull their skillset and give great fresh food, and using as a means of communcation of who they are as individuals. Heston Blumanthal, Frerran Adria and old school artists like Michel Blnc, Gary Rhodes the Roux brothers, Atul Kochar. Its not so much to taste their creations but to savour in the well worn realm of visual culinary art. That singular moment when you say this is too beautiful to eat.
One of the new elements of late is the use of micro greens and traces of edible flowers. These final touches lighten a plate and give a different aspect to food. Its not so much aping or copying its taking an idea and building on it is what counts. Many a time when am out at a buffet its also an art of taking what one wants and arranging it ones self on ones plate, its definitely better eating skills rather than lavishing everything onto a plate and making a mess of it. Food and culture go hand in hand and while culture may hold certain things back certainly there is nothing that can hold ones creativity and sometimes necessity is often the mother of invention. And while the invention is taking place it is important for a chef to know his basics and the origins of a cuisine.
The other visual art is the change of dynamics in the crockery being used. Large plates hold a miniscule portion while black tile accentuates the food. Nouvelle styles serving ware , fine crystal, you name it chefs are investing in it to make a style statement. The french group that runs the Sofitel and Novotel chain have designers who change the look and feel of a place, flying in or out french art and crockery and fabrics to please the nouveau riche.
BIT MESRA 2018
BIT MESRA is one of India’s leading Technological and Management Institutes in the country. To be invited is an honour and a recognition of one;’s work in the field of culinary academia. The topic was .The Importance of Food In Tourism : Regional Tourism and It’s impact on Sustainable Cultural Tourism. the event was attended by the Honourable Chief Minister and several dignitaries.
The students of the Hotel management department did a commendable job in putting the whole programme together. It was with the graceful assistance of Dr. Nishikant that this was made possible and the talk was well received by an attentive audience.
Indian Restaurant Congress 2017 at J.W. Marriott, Aerocity, New Delhi.
Now in its seventh year the Indian Restaurant Congress is the leading Business and Knowledge platform for the restaurant, fast-casual, QSR, hotel food services and contract catering sectors. Today people are more into Experiential dining than just eating out, going by the analysis Indian Restaurant Congress 2017 is themed #EXPERIENCE. Indian Restaurant Congress will be building and nurturing the food service innovation ecosystem by supporting entrepreneurs and creating platforms for collaboration. It is the platform where restaurants, chefs, brands would find future business models, menu, ideas to address tomorrow’s market demand. Innovation + Experience : The new law in food game Marrying ‘Fine Dining’ to ‘Fun’ Dining
Art Inspires Food – Masters Of Abstract Art with SAAG and Art Centrix
A food buff history wise, food tourism is usually seen through a realm of culture. For as a chef myself and one who travels a fair bit, I see that chefs have turned artists of a different kind over the years with many chefs even delving in the world of food styling. Chefs building up chefs by staying in the backend kitchens on food shows. Their art rarely coming into the forefront due to the hosts and channels refusal to give them credit. Its not about reinventing the wheel but all about being innovative.
It is all about showmanship at the end of the day.
Styling the plate and even restaurants these days is sometimes all around the chef. While food styling is a highly specialised field, it relies heavily on ones knowledge of food but with and artistic touch. A great deal of patience and making the food speak for itself.
The trend of minimalistic and where less is more, One of the new elements of late is the use of micro greens and traces of edible flowers. These final touches lighten a plate and give a different aspect to food. Its not so much aping or replicating its taking an idea and building on it is what counts. Food and culture go hand in hand and while culture may hold certain things back certainly there is nothing that can hold ones creativity and sometimes necessity is often the mother of invention. And while the invention is taking place it is important for a chef to know his basics and the origins of a cuisine.
The other visual art is the change of dynamics in the crockery being used. Large plates hold a minuscule portion while black tile accentuates the food. Nouvelle styles serving ware , fine crystal, you name it chefs are investing in it to make a style statement.
LE CREUSET, world’s leading cookware brand famous for its cast-iron products, hosted a live cookout session with the renowned celebrity Chef Michael Swamy showcasing the best of world cuisine in the all new collection from Le Creuset at their newly launched Flagship store in Infinity Mall, Mumbai.
Chef Michael Swamy prepared cuisines consisting of some of his personal favorites such as “Curried Corn Soup”,“Spiced Salad with Cider Vinegar Reduction and Asian spice” and “Mixed Berries with Flavored Cream”. These tantalizing and scrumptious dishes were cooked live inside the Le Creuset store, prepared and served in Le Creuset products. Guests were able to interact with the chef throughout the cookout to recreate the magic at home.
“It is a complete honour to associate with a brand like Le Creuset for a cookout session since such sessions are creative, fun and interactive and where you meet like minded people wanting to share the same experience; and what better experience than cooking in a beautiful cookware brand like Le Creuset”.
Established in 1925, Le Creuset, the iconic French cookware brand, is among the top three-cookware brands of the world. The brand that has glamourised and redefined kitchens all over the world for over 90 years is now all set to wow the Mumbai audience with their entire range of cookware; the brand also has 4 Exclusive Brand Stores across Delhi NCR.
Ankur Damani, Head – India and SAARC, Le Creuset said “We at Le Creuset are excited to associate with Chef Michael Swamy for this event to showcase the essence of Le Creuset products for an exquisite culinary experience”.
While Le Creuset produces world’s best cookware and accessories for a quintessential kitchen, it stands out in its design, vibrant and distinct colours as well as versatility, meant for preparing, cooking and serving, in Le Creuset style. Le Creuset aims at not just being a cookware brand but a lifestyle.
One can go down in history, but for me it takes me down memory lane… to the many teas at the Taj’s café in my youth… to the grown up days of high tea at the Tea Centre… to a formal tea setting of damask and lace at my aunt’s place in Nairobi. It’s a culture that the British have left us with and it’s still the one that has a sense of elegance. ‘That’ cup of tea brings people together in a way that one cannot even imagine.
The sounds of the familiar clink of porcelain or bone china, as one walks into a room with tea cups on a tray, laden with food, a scene all together familiar in an Indian home. A routine ritual you might call it, and its even more fun when it’s the monsoon or when one has unexpected guests come over.
I sometimes dream a dream of the not so distant past. A world of youth when dreams were real and one could conquer the world. A world where “Nana” would sometimes take out the silver tea set, the leaves would be spooned into the tea pot and hot water poured over and allowed to simmer. The tea set of blue and lilac would be taken out on special occasions (read birthdays and anniversaries). The damask napkins and tiny cutlery was polished and wiped cleaner than clean.
Bring back the days when we were young! The memories come cascading down around the ‘cuppa’. The words “High tea” conjure up images of the Mad Hatter’s Party and Alice sitting at the table covered with silly foods.
Palm Beach India Festival Indian Cultural Festival Miami
Miami Calling: Travelling to Miami and doing a culinary workshop is everyones dream destination. The different kinds of food and the visit to a Daniel Bulud restaurant was a bargain deal. Meeting and interacting with international chefs and to top it all cooking for the whos who in Miami.
A culinary charity dinner for 100 of Miami’s esteemed doctors and socialites curated by Avani Patel and Her Brother Ankur Patel the President of the Indian Association in Miami. tThe second day catered to a 3,000 strong crowd who came for a cultural event and for the food. Chef Michaels stall was helped assisted by International chefs who came and helped at the event. It was an enormous gathering and the food was a sell out.
The Pam Beach India festival showcased a beautiful charity dinner, curated and cooked by Michael Swamy. It did not just stop there, the beautiful outdoor event the next day catered to over 3000 people and the food was a grand success. Here are some pics too!
Te Aroha (Kumaon Literature Festival) A Himalayan Repast with 18 year old Glenfiddich
A trip through Ireland for uisce beatha “water of life.”
When you look at Scotch you wont be surprised that the highest sale of it is in India. What makes scotch so special is something that beats me. For there is something magical about single malts and good old whiskey. It wasn’t till I was in my thirty’s that I took a liking to this golden beverage.
But moving on one should take on the challenge of moving away from the 32 blends that make up India’s favourite a Johnnie Walker. Glenfiddich is a scotch that blends well easily with Indian food. It is a good single malt that comes from a single distillery from Scotland and is aged for years in wooden casks which give it its distinct “oakey” and slightly oily feel. Good malt must be drunk from a glass that tapers at the mouth, trapping the aromas and sending them straight to your nose as you sip. You never down it in one gulp but roll it around your palate and imbibe all the flavour distinguished by a salty and smoky aroma which only increases with the age of the scotch. These warm flavours linger on your tongue and being so complex, are usually difficult to combine with the spiciness of Indian food.
The mountains of India, the atmosphere and nature of the atmosphere was conducive, the Boutique hotel divine to create magic with the local flavours and pair them two nights in a row with 18 year old Scotch.
Courtyard By Marriott Bangalore 2017
Fourpoints Sheraton Bangalore
Pairing Indian Food with wine can be easy but when it comes to pairing Beer with food and even cooking with beer, brought about a whole new experience. The culinary experience was done at the Fourpoints Sheraton in Whitefields Bangalore. The experience was done with several bloggers and food writers.Chef Mangilal Kurly who has been appointed as the Executive Chef at Four Points by Sheraton Bengaluru cooked the Dahakte Jhinga (Prawns) in a flambe style. It was wonderful to know that Chef Kurly has over 19 years of professional experience in hotels like Kempenski hotels, JW Marriott, Courtyard by Marriott and even Marriott Beijing
Fairfield Marriott Bellandur
This business hotel of the Marriott brand. The comfortable rooms and excellent food is what keeps clients returning again and again. The promotional launch of its new menu and culinary workshop along with the Executive chefs was fun and invigorating. I did this wonderful session with theFairfield by Mariott hotels in Bangalore. Each respective Executive chef did his favourite dish and I did my take of a local fare from the region they had cooked from. A fun filled afternoon with a series of bloggers and food writers who came and tasted and enjoyed all that was there to be offered.
Jims Jungle Retreat Corbett
Cooking at a culinary workshop in the plains of Kumaon is a heady feeling. The outback is fun and full of adventure. Giving back to nature is what life is all about. When we use the fruits and the forests and the labour of ones hands we have a better understanding of what the world is all about.
Jim’s Jungle Retreat, Corbett Tiger Reserve, in association with Michael Swamy, LCB chef, food stylist and award-winning food writer is pleased to announce a 3-day culinary and wildlife experience as part of the recently launched Jim’s Jungle Gourmet Club.
Jim’s Jungle Retreat is the brainchild of Daleep Akoi who has made a considerable change to the façade of Corbett and is endeavouring to improve the conditions of the locals by way of awareness, schools and jobs.
We invite you to experience the diversity of Indian and nouvelle cuisine, the wild landscapes of Corbett Tiger Reserve (home to nearly 600 bird species, 55 mammals and 33 kinds of reptiles), which will provide a salubrious jungle environment for learning and celebration.
This March, savour the magic of traditional Kumaoni cuisine as well as its Modern Indian avatar in the midst of the wild with celebrity chef Michael Swamy as your host and guide.
Enjoy the luxurious hospitality of JJR while you re-acquaint yourself with Nature with long walks and bicycle rides through the woods, go fishing with the local fishermen and visit a local village as part of the enchanting jungle soiree.
Curating this event and introducing you to the delightful cuisine of the Kumaoni plains is acclaimed chef and wildlife enthusiast Michael Swamy, whose in-depth study of the history of several cuisines has earned him the distinction of being called “the historian chef”. His love for nature and wildlife is also reflected in his style of cooking which makes maximum use of local ingredients at hand that can be made on a crackling bonfire in the middle of a jungle as well.
Having studied at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu in London, trained under Michelin chefs such as Claire Clark, Filip Tibos and Patrik Martin, and a Gourmand Award-winning author himself, Chef Michael believes in taking food and cuisine beyond the confines of a dinner table. In his goal to establish food as a medium of expression, he has worked extensively to encourage the application of media skills to promote culinary excellence and innovation. He is an authority on East Indian cuisine and is considered a pioneer of Modern Indian cuisine.
The 1st ever issue of the ‘Incredible Chef’ magazine by the Indian Culinary Forum is out! And our very own Chef Michael Swamy makes an appearance on the cover alongside chefs Sanjeev Kapoor and Veena Arora.
Chef Michael’s article titled “Street Food – Street Smart or Clinical?” delves into the much debated topic of street food being served on the roadside Vs. street food being served in fine-dining restaurants. Taking into consideration various factors like hygiene, cost and most importantly, consumer satisfation, Chef Michael highlights the current scenario of street food in India.
Pairing Food & Wine with Pernod a 5 city tour 2015
Pairing Indian Food With Wine
“Here With A Loaf Of Bread Beneath The Bough. A Flask Of Wine, A Book Of Verse And Thou Beside Me Singing In The Wilderness. And Wilderness Is Paradise now.” - Omar Khayyam, Rubaiyat Demystifying wine for an Indian palate is never easy. The idea that our curries and pulaos can be enjoyed with something as ‘swanky’ as wine is unfathomable to most people, but it is possible, and is being done worldwide with Indian restaurants not far behind. The upswing of foreign wines to local shores has had an impact on one’s lifestyle.
With wine importers like Pernod, Brindco, Finewinesnmore and Diageo bringing in a range of imported wines to India, we are spoilt for choice. What started out as a couple of glasses at a plush party or meal is now fast becoming a daily norm in today’s upper echelons of society. The tendency towards drinking spirits, whisky, rum or white spirits with some oily snacks, and then moving to the dinner table has changed. Rather than being looked down upon as just a substitute for that glass of water at the dinner table, wine is slowly and surely gaining the interest, respect and adoration it deserves.
Given the versatility of the art of Indian cooking, its composition, comprehension and diversity, it would take a lifetime to assimilate. In a land where tradition holds firm, change is very slow. Delving in to gain an insight into Indian food, one has to realise what spice and flavours is all about. It’s not about a slap dash of curry powder thrown into a dish as most westerners would like to believe. The Indian kitchen is a complexity of spices and flavours in a land where spice is king. Every herb or spice plays a pivotal role in the build-up of a dish; each spice follows a particular order before being put into a dish.
We did a 5 city tour with Pernod which culminated in a beautiful dinner in Gurgaon at the Palm Springs Resort, who laid out a unique spread and was served up with Jabob’s Creeks range of wines.