It was Friday evening as I made my way to Gurgaon. The occasion was The Gourmet High Street that had just got underway for the 3rd time in a row and the destination they had chosen this time was everyone’s favourite DLF Cyber Hub in Gurgaon. The memories of last year’s Gourmet were still fresh in mind, when I got the opportunity to meet some of the biggest names from the Indian food industry and not to forget, my favourite chefs.
DLF Cyber Hub was already packed with a huge crowd of visitors when I reached and as I entered the premises, I saw the stage being set up to host the Culinary Grind. People had started gathering around the stage as they waited in anticipation to meet their favourite chefs. Soon Ms Kavneet Sahni of Culinary Communications Pvt Ltd came up on the stage to greet and thank all the visitors, for them having taken out time to come and enjoy the Fest. She then called all the chefs on stage, starting with names like Chef Thomas Blanchard, Chef Tanveer Kwatra, Chef Sarah Todd, Chef Saransh Goila, Chef Amrita Raichand, and then our all-time favourite – the great Indian Chef Sanjeev Kapoor.
Everyone cheered as Chef Sanjeev Kapoor, the name that has been a household name for over 2 decades now, made his first chef presentation post his Padma Shri recognition.
I also met up with Chefs Amrita Raichand, Thomas Blanchard, Sarah Todd and Saransh Goila who had been a regular in The Gourmet in these years and since they have been following the industry closely, I spoke to them of how the theme chosen every year at Gourmet has kept the growth of the food industry alive and the passion in every food enthusiasts going.
“The venue is making a lot of difference as it is Cyber Hub and it is buzzing with people,” said Chef Amrita Raichand. “I think even for the visitors it is a very nice opportunity to visit this place and enjoy their time. The atmosphere is just so beautiful. Talking about the food industry, there is so much happening; people are talking about a lot of things nowadays. Today people have started appreciating food and they do not necessarily have their food just for the sake of having it anymore.”
“The Gourmet High Street is an incredible food festival that a country like India needs. We have all the great food enthusiasts and entrepreneurs coming together and chefs using this platform for live cooking sessions; so every year has been unique in its own ways and this year too the Gourmet has attracted a lot of visitors. The weekend is really going to be a very special one for everyone attending this event,” said Chef Sarah Todd.
“In my opinion The Gourmet High Street is one of its kind, very professional and very well planned. The location this time is very good, given that it is attracting lot of people. I personally get a good opportunity to meet up with colleagues and fellow chefs. The food industry is growing a lot and Indian people being great food lovers, this is really a very great time that the industry is going through,” said Chef Thomas Blanchard.
“The fact that we can connect with people whom we watch on TV and from whom we can learn and take feedback has made The Gourmet High Street very special for me,” stated Chef Saransh Goila. “The profession has become very glamorous as is evident at present, but my message to the budding chefs is never to stop putting in their best efforts, time and dedication. Once you step into it, come with all passion as there is no easy way to success. But having said that, one would agree that becoming a chef is really cool at this point of time.”
The Gourmet Marketplace
Having completed the first leg of my visit, I next went to explore the Gourmet marketplace. With colorful stalls, food trucks and eat-out joints, the marketplace looked abuzz with activities. As I walked around the marketplace, my eyes suddenly fell on PINA, who participated in last year’s Gourmet and were one of the sponsors of The Gourmet High Street this year. Pina is a brand that offers a wide variety of saffron and is a 70 years old company.
Just adjacent to it was the stall of Jayanti spices – where it had exhibited its gourmet herbs & spice seasoning brand, On1y. I met the Deputy General Manager – Branding, Naveen. E. Kumar and during our chat I came to know about the signature recipes of Chef Ranveer Brar using On1y and its freshness can be felt when one ‘twists the ordinary’.
I was exploring the marketplace further when I came across the stall of Teamonk Global. Kakali Dutta, the Director for PR told me that it’s the only tea brand contributing elite, excellent, pure and natural tea sourced from the best plantations in Darjeeling, Assam and Arunachal and they have a selection of Black, green, Oolong and white tea curated by the connoisseurs at Teamonk Global.
In another corner of the market, a stall that attracted my attention was The Gourmet Jar that exhibited its jams and preserves. I was told that its jams contain organic and natural ingredients and no chemicals or preservatives are used in it.
Ray cooking spray that was launched by LB Industries to make its foray in the FMCG space was my next stall. With its tagline, Ab Jo chaho woh khao, Ray oil reduces fat content in your food by 80% and is a pioneering kitchen vital that significantly reduces oil utilization through its exceptional spray dispensing mechanism. Mr Bhushan of LB Industries also told me that they have 4 delicious variants – Sunflower, Groundnut, olive and Ghee.
There were other exhibitors like Weber Grills, Wonderchef, Slap Popcorn, Mccann, Sangi’s Kitchen and Kosh oats that exerted a great pull from the visitors.
As I made my way out, thoughts came to me about how the day was well spent, meeting with people from different walks of life. Indeed the Gourmet High Street is one of those few exceptional festivals that give an idle platform for people to come and learn about food, discover new trends, know about new products and get motivated by interacting with leading celebrity chefs.
– Anjali Sethi Joshi / Samrita Baruah