Great time to revive culinary tourism

Which is the most important element in your travel checklist? If you said, food – excellent! Read on...

Food stories and folklores have been a part of culinary cultures, especially Indian culture since ages. It’s really fascinating when your host/ chef/ vendor introduces a dish and/ or ingredient along with its evolution and its geo-socio-historical significance.

We Indians have a lot of stories to tell, the most important being stories of micro-cultures and hyper-local food sources. And that brings me to the point of redefining culinary tourism in the Indian context. This is a great opportunity to revive culinary tourism, to build an infrastructure around it; where everybody does their own bit.

And by that, I don’t mean restaurants typically making guests wear pagdis and saafas and hosting sit-down lunches. By culinary tourism, I mean, making a concerted effort to create an atmosphere where cultures, especially micro-cultures are represented through various assets, including restaurants. We need to bring the micro-cuisine chefs and local heroes into the conversation and take the limelight away from us and on to them.

And I circle back to the power of storytelling I mentioned above, which needs to be at the forefront. As an industry, we need to start adopting regional and hyper regional cuisines that have to be spoken about. It has to be about giving an insight into our culture through food, highlighting the nuances, thereby, not just reviving the dishes but creating a conscious and proud connect between the food and the patrons.

A lot of us have done inward travel, literally and figuratively, where we have rediscovered the beauty of our own country, cuisine and culture, especially the past few years. It’s heartwarming to see regional and sub-regional cuisines getting their due acknowledgment instead of the erstwhile blanket labelling under Metro cuisines. It’s high time to bring those out for ourselves and the world. India’s diversity cannot be kept a secret forever. It needs to show up in conversations, in the bigger banner under culinary tourism.

This is a wider appeal to the food, tourism and hospitality industries at large – to celebrate 75 years of Indian Independence, let’s collectively pick up 75 culinary ideas and dishes that we want to promote, where everybody adopts a few and takes it forward.

On that note, I think it’s also time for the industry to work in tandem with story-tellers; such as bloggers, seasoned home chefs and the likes. Because a meal is never just a meal, it needs to be accompanied by a story.

Tags assigned to this article:
Culinary Tourism


Around The World