1 Feb 2013

Another Michelin Encounter + Times Food Guide 2013

The first month of the year sure has gone by in a trice, hasn’t it? January was packed with events, contests, potlucks, foodie meetings... and it ended on a high note. After my first ‘Michelin encounter’ last year, with the French Chef Baptiste Fournier, this year has already brought another one my way!
Image courtesy vkhanna.com
This week I was invited by Godrej Nature’s Basket, India’s premier world food store, to the launch of their newest store in Bandra, Mumbai. The highlight of the event was the opportunity to meet Vikas Khanna – the Michelin starred chef of the Indian restaurant Junoon in New York. He is also one of the hosts of the TV Show MasterChef India. In 2011, he was named in the list of “Sexiest Man Alive” by People magazine! So naturally, I was excited to meet him.
Image courtesy Nature's Basket
The event was organised for the launch of his latest book “My Great Indian Cookbook”. It began with a demo of couple of recipes from the book – healthful ones, in keeping with the ‘Healthy Alternatives’ theme of Nature’s Basket. He made Amla (Indian Gooseberry) Soup - a tart, thin soup like the South Indian rasam and Menaskai - a thick, tangy pineapple curry, served with rice.
Image courtesy Nature's Basket
Image courtesy Nature's Basket
While cooking, Khanna talked about his love for cooking, the influence his mother has had on him and his veritable obsession (or junoon, in Hindi) for Indian food. At the end of the demonstration, there was a brief interaction,  a book signing and he then happily posed for pictures with all the people clamouring for his attention.  
Image courtesy Nature's Basket

What impressed me most (apart from his good looks) was the fact that he seemed so grounded. No starry airs; he wears his fame lightly and it’s quite obvious that he doesn’t take it (and himself) too seriously. And therein lies his charm...

The TV Channel Food Food was covering the event and one of the youngest TV chefs Saransh Goila did a little on-the-spot interview with Khanna. Then, in a twist of fate, I was asked to give a ‘byte’ for the camera – so I talked about Deliciously Directionless, about food blogging and its growing influence; it was a surreal moment, to say the least!

And talking about food blogging, I just picked up this year’s Times Food Guide – an annual bible of restaurant reviews compiled by the prominent food writer Rashmi Uday Singh. 2013’s Food Guide has an all-new section called Blogger’s Foodie Finds and guess who is in it?! 

So pick up a copy and bon appetit!

Disclosure: I was invited by Godrej Nature's Basket for this event.

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