Freedom to discover, interpret and express
Celebrity Chef Ranveer Brar pens down his thoughts on how Indian cuisine and culture have evolved over the years
Another year draws to a close. While the pandemic, now endemic, gave us a lot to process, it definitely made us take cognisance of the proverbial elephant in the room, or more specifically, the kitchen. They say you appreciate something more in the absence of it or when it’s attempted to be changed or taken over, for the better or the worse.
The reason Indian food is so fascinating is not just because of the vast variety available across the length and breadth of the country, but also because how its core is so unshakeable that it stands tall after the never-ending transitions and variations. The Idli on a Stick is a classic case in point. While there was quite a furore combined with excitement, it was encouraging to me as a chef to see a staple being experimented with.
And this isn’t the first. I, for instance, played with crossover dishes like Biryani Arancini, Khandvi Cannelloni, Mohanthal Cheesecake and much more. What I was attempting to do here was not just flavour amalgamation but play with the texture and structure that Indian foods provide and bring in complimenting flavours and combinations from other cuisines.
I always say food and cooking are in a democratic space. Every dish has seen evolutions over dynasties, centuries and even generations. Every medium of art offers freedom of expression. Cooking is no different. Every chef, hence, should have the freedom to discover her/ his relationship with food, through experiments, inspirations and takes on different kinds of cuisines. Of course, with a broad guideline of respect to be followed; and let the audience/ tasters/ end-consumers decide where to draw the line.
I personally believe that our cuisine and culture are way stronger and way deeper for us to worry about them being shaken with a few inspired or modern takes on the dishes. Our culture knows how to take the best and evolve.
As an artist, a chef should be given the freedom to discover, interpret and express their relationship with and understanding of cuisine and culture. Although, I must say, that most of us eventually come around to understand that - Simple is Better. That nothing is better than tasting, creating and remembering a dish in its most original form.
This article was published in BW hotelier issue dated '' with cover story titled 'INVESTMENT SPECIAL ISSUE VOL 7, ISSUE 6'
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