Saturday, 17 March 2012

The Great Indian Wedding !

Wedding business for the food & beverage industry has emerged as a vibrant segment with exponential potential. The great Indian ‘shaadis’ are now known the world over for its exuberance, fan fare, cuisine and heritage. The movies, the media has played a major role in promoting the awareness and glorification of the Indian wedding.

The needs also have changed and everyone wants to do something different for their ‘shaadi’. All desire their wedding to be the talk of the town, remembered and talked about.

The detailing on hospitality, arrangements and cuisine require a lot of planning to make the entire event a thumping success. The wedding arrangements portray the image of the families and no one wants to compromise, to show the works; whether it is their social standing, love for their child, warm hospitality or grandeur.

On the choice of cuisine, the regional fare still stands as the most important component in the selection of a menu. Regional cuisine has its own distinct place and is the essence of the family. It is also the back bone or the foundation of Indian cuisine as it also signifies ‘ khandan’ or family heritage. It is an experience in itself, it takes one down the memory lane towards evolution, touching upon factors, which has resulted in the particular cuisine. It is this nostalgia that make the food all the more interesting. 

Mouth watering ‘chaat’ which can include varities of ‘golgappas’, ‘aloo tikki;, ‘bhalla papdi’, ‘chila’, ‘ pav bhaji’, ‘bhel puri’, ‘palak pakoda chaat’ ; the list is endless.
Hearty Indian short eats like ‘chole bhature’, ‘bedwin poori’, ‘samosa’, ‘kachori’ are some ‘must-includes’. The cocktail snacks can be equally or even more varied; ‘hara bhara kebab’, ‘akhrot ki tikki’, ‘kathal kebab’ a wide varieties of seekh kebabs. Non vegetarian selection are equally amazing.
Kebabs prepared live is a definite hit and the first preference for the guests. Live cooking is something which has caught a lot of attention as the food is hot and fresh and comes on to your plate with more assurance.
The main course gives a selection of myriad ethnic cuisines , it is like a treasure trove of variety of food that is available and becomes a daunting task to choose from.   Mughlai, Awadhi, Punjabi, Gujarati, South Indian, Parsi, Bengali, Rajasthani, Hyderabadi all have delicacies that are traditional as well as exotic. Also cooking styles like ‘handi’, ‘dum’, ‘tawa’, ‘sigri’ bring more exclusiveness to the cuisines. ‘ Biryanis’, ‘Quormas’, Indian Breads need no introduction. Indian sweets also have a fabulous variety; ‘jalebi’, ‘rabdi’ , ‘kulfi’, ‘gulab jamun’, ‘rasmalai’, ‘rasgulla’, ‘halwa’, ‘kheer’ : what to choose and what to leave , they are all ‘un-put-downable’ proposition.

Indian folks are also now a widely traveled bunch, hence there is a need for global cuisines as well. You also find a large segment, getting married to foreigners or NRI’s, hence the need for global cuisine becomes a necessity Food is also quite synonymous to fashion. Trends change and some thing new comes up. .  Cooking methods and live cooking stations of international cuisine are considered fashionable. Pastas , live carvings stations, grills and barbecues, Lebanese schwarma, salads, crepes& fondue, noodle & dimsum , pizzas or teppanyaki, wok fry’s or Mongolian are some hot selling counters.

Guests particularly ask for, Italian, Greek, Spanish, Mexican, South East Asian, Chinese, Caribbean and Mediterranean cuisines. Cooking styles like teppanyaki, roasts, flambé have lots of takers.

International desserts selection have become far and wide. Availability is easy and presentations are exotic, all this makes the desserts a competitive and demanding gamut to select from.

Overall anything and everything is available, available at a price. You can get chefs flown in from anywhere in India or abroad , you can have the choice and extent of cuisine or ingredient you prefer. Limitations are less limited.  Nowadays these are all available on a platter. You have to decide as to what you want and it can be customised and personalized for you at a ‘not-so-convincing’ price tag. But it sure does take the burden off your shoulders.

By : Devraj Halder

Saturday, 10 March 2012

The Palette Makeover

They say that it takes three complete months of continued exposure to acquire a new taste.  I believed it at first and in the past, but now I think quite otherwise. There are actually two dissimilar ways to look at it.

Firstly, there are palettes, which hate to change their acquired tastes and seem to go back to what they desire more frequently than they want to. This is quite linked to comfort food, old habits, traditional outlook and apprehension to change.
It is like living in a more familiar world, which give solace in what you see on your plate and feel on your palette.

Lets talk of the other kind, were I see palettes, which are permanently on a world tour. Frequently, one finds himself eating, Indian, Italian, Japanese and even more on a single day and craves for more and even more variety. This insatiable quest to constantly seek for variety has caught today’s generation with a vice like grip. People switch cuisines as frequently as they change clothes. It is the present generation, which has actually broken the mind frame and thought process, which Indians per se has had over the years. Talk about movies, travel, sports; we see a paradigm shift in every sphere.  Food is a front-runner too, which in turn has prompted this amazing palette makeover.

A few years back, most of the meals would be consumed at home or would be home-cooked. Eating out would be a festive change mostly once a week for the average Indian. Now look at the transition were home cooked food is more enviable and sought after as all we do is constantly and incessantly eat out. Walk into a food court and you see a family of four eat four different cuisines on the same table. Talk of cuisines, children of today know more cuisines than their elder counterparts could even dream of at the same age.

So, how to make the most of the palette makeover? Let us attach this makeover thing to other kinds, which we have seen and encountered, like home, personality, office etc., all of which is for the better. That is the key phrase, for the better and a makeover is essentially for the better. So when we do have this plethora of variety of food available at a hop and call then why not make the most of it. Choose the healthy from the junk, the natural from the artificial, the fresh from the preserved, the lean from the fatty, the light from the heavy and the best from the rest ! .. Now it makes more sense doesn’t it?

The palette make over would be made over continuously and the ball is on the roll. So let your palette roll, but be on the drivers seat !

By : Devraj Halder