Keeping authenticity of Indian food alive

Panellists discussed on how chefs have served Indian delicacies with a slight twist in foreign land

With increased Internet access, it has become impossible to steer clear off foreign cultural influences in our daily lives, including ones related to food. Moreover, to cater to the larger global audience, many-a-times the entire identity of the cuisine is changed. On the first day of BW HOTELIER Indian Hospitality Summit and Awards 2022 (IHA-2022) during the Celebrity Chef’s session on the Impact Of Inventive, Modern Indian Cuisine On The Global Landscape For Indian Fare, moderator Diwan Gautam Anand, Founding Trustee, Cuisine India Foundation, said, “Over time, our food got commoditised. Also, there were pertinent questions: Is the Western style of plating ingenious and was it more attractive for the world to eat that food or are we still attracted to the 'platter to plate' concept?”

Speaking virtually during the session, celebrity chef Vineet Bhatia said, “When I came to London for the first time, I saw how Indian food was being consumed in an entirely different manner. When I tried serving it in an authentic manner, guests refused to eat. Hence, I adopted a way to put it on the table by not calling it by the authentic name. So, rogan josh became slow-cooked chunk of lamb with north Indian spices or butter chicken turned into chicken tikka in buttery tomato sauce and fenugreek seeds.” 

Bhatia added that he essentially tried to keep the classics same in terms of flavour and ingredients but changed the way it sounded and looked. He said that through this way, Indian food started reaching the global plate in a different avatar. “But if you eat with your eyes closed, it is India on your plate,” Bhatia said, adding, “The authenticity of the flavours remains the same. The only thing we do is to try using whatever local proteins we can. All the spices still come from India. Our food is about flavours, taste and blend. And that is what makes our food interesting which can never be taken away.”

“The documentation of Indian food never happened before. At present, a lot of technology, openness and modern Indian food has driven an interest in people to voice out their opinion about what goes well, and what doesn’t,” shared celebrity chef Kunal Kapur. He added, “I think one is helping the other and it’s a continuous loop which helps all to make better food, give better hospitality experiences to the consumers.” 

Kapur explained how every Indian during their growing up years has a typical imagery related with Indian food. “It took certain time and calibre of people to bring about a change to make it accessible to the world.” He added that essentially, if one looks at the hindsight, both works beautifully today.


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