December 4th was a day that I shall always cherish. What would happen if you find your most-treasured dream come true? Witnessing all the leading chefs, whom I have admired and studiously followed on my flat screen at home, come alive in front of me was exciting and at the same time nerve wrecking. What should I talk? Should I introduce myself as the entrepreneur of the new-age food and travel blog, or should I talk to them as the girl who have ardently followed each of their shows while watching them treat food like nothing short of magic. But I had no time to come to a final conclusion or bask on that feeling because, while normally we travel in packs (more like a pack of two), on that red-letter day I was companionless.
For that, Being a part of a platform like “The Gourmet High Street”, was worth all the wait, as not only did I get to converse face to face with my favorite chefs, but I could also witness every aspect of the food industry – from barbeque to mixology and from a nice stall of food business to the creative truck avatars.
On that beautiful sunny day, I found myself in the Leisure Valley Park, Gurgaon. I felt like the Lone Ranger, about to take over the big wits of the industry. Well, turned out the big wits were nothing but simple human beings with flesh and bones, who welcome you with the warmest greetings, as if you are one of their long lost friends (and my imaginary lone ranger suit crumbled to bits). I met Ranveer Brar, Vicky Ratnani, Sanjeev kapoor, Amrita Raichand, Saransh Goila, and many more at Costa Coffee, where I enjoyed sipping the new thoughts as they shared what’s brewing in their mind.
At the end of the tete-a-tete, I was drawn to the Gourmet market place. Academy of Pastry Arts India – “A pastry academy!” And immediately my thoughts flew to a scene of a beautiful wooden table, curved the edge, filled with delicious pastries of flavors that are only bounded by imagination. That’s a tempting life that I would never like to come out of. After I am out of the name-induced reverie, I meet the Director of Pastry studies of the Academy, Dinesh Rawat. During our chat, I come to know that it’s their first academy in India, and its an International pastry school based in Gurgaon, Haryana. He also mentioned that the institute gives its students an opportunity to participate in the Pastry queen championship. The championship will be in Egypt, Italy and Singapore in 2016.
My mind was fully occupied with the sweet treats, and as if to freshen my imaginative taste buds, right to my opposite was Mahesh Products, who specialized in Dried Pan, Dry Amla, Dry Ginger, Supari, Digestive churan, and saunf, among others.
But my inner sweet being was not done and the next thing I knew, my eyes were drawn to a delectable Macroon Tower. Mitali Sahani, the mind behind that delicious tower, told me about her venture, which she started with her friends in Mumbai, and it’s named Bombaykery. I am sure you see what they did there. The bakery is mingling French techniques with local flavors. Some of their delicacies included Nutella Cupcakes, Salted Caramel choux, Tender Coconut gateaux, Belgian Chocolate Mousse, Hazelnut krispy Krunch and Dark chocolate – Belgian chocolate fudge.
During my stroll across the stalls set in The Gourmet High street, I came across an interest food venture, called Parvatiya Preserves from Uttrakhand Muketeshwar. The Company Deals in zero-preservative products, such as fruit chutneys and walnut/Peanut/Almond/Cashew Butter, among many others. Devendra Sharma, the owner, mentioned that they export them to Portugal, Spain and Singapore.
While pastries were the talk on one side, the other side brought me to an ice cream shop, not just any but an Italian Ice cream stall, named Picco Licko. Strawberry cheesecake and Chocolate fudge cake are the two most popular flavors that they most find delivering to various places in South Delhi.
Amidst the new players, there were a few old players who seems to be doing great as they find finer lines to fit into the new generation’s demands. Some of those were Parvatiya Preserves, which has come a long way since it’s beginning in 1936; and the Pina saffron brand, a 70yrs-old company, which offers Saffron , such as Pina supreme-Freeze, drying and select extra. It was great seeing a balance of ideas among old and new. Devendra Sharma mentioned that it was the very first time they had participated in an Indian exhibition and they were very happy with the level in which The Gourmet High Street functions.
There were also stalls that concentrated on the other end of food. The Hurom stall with attractive models of Juicers drew my attention. I got to know that the juicer models were Korean made and works on a slow squeeze-no blade mechanism. I tried one of the samples and it definitely had a very fresh taste. But as they only functioned as juicers, the price threw me a bit, as it ranges from Rs. 25 thousand to Rs. 1.5 lakh. There was Wonderchef too, a brand personally endorsed by the culinary master Sanjeev Kapoor and that features products that are non-stick and has a ceramic coating. It was also showcasing the products usages through a live cooking demo.
I also got to know that I Left It All For Food was the opportunity for all food-related ventures to showcase their work, something for which they left everything else. There was also a special discussion on the same. In all, it was a day well spent. And as I was about to leave, I got an opportunity to see war of trucks while Ujjala gave me a treat of falafal. At the end, though my energy was thoroughly spent, I couldn’t imagine spending any other way.
To sum up my experience, I can quote the words of Kavneet Sahni of Culinary Communications Pvt. Ltd., “The Gourmet High Street is one of the rare festivals where people can come and learn about food and drinks, explore new trends in food and find out about new products and services offered by food entrepreneurs. In addition they also get to meet and get inspired by leading celebrity chef, mixologist, and sommeliers.”
– EB / Anjali Sethi Joshi