Chefs and culinary experts are unlocking several new creative projects to revolutionise India’s culinary scene in times of Covid-19. One such interesting concept that is gaining momentum currently is exquisite collaborations between popular chefs.
When asked how do these partnerships benefit the F&B industry, especially in this ongoing crisis, Prateek Sadhu, chef and co-founder of Mumbai-based Masque said, “For starters, it builds a great sense of community and camaraderie. These are chefs whose food we have eaten, whose work we have watched and admired and who we have often built friendships with.
“The collaborations offer great learning opportunities, not just for the chefs but for the entire hosting team. It is a chance to exchange ideas and converse around food, at a time when people are far more confined than they are used to being.”
Adding to this, Chef Thomas Zacharias of The Bombay Canteen says, “I think, the F&B industry has always been seen as a competitive space. But it is a very primitive way of showcasing it. I believe the best works come out of collaborations and that is what the new generation of chefs are trying to encourage and promote now.”
Chef Karishma Sakhrani believes that it is a time to support each other and work together to create more meaningful experiences with a greater value for the customer.
“I think different individuals bringing their strengths to the table, and working as one can lead to more successes,” said Sakhrani .
Thai street food lovers would be interested to know that Nara Thai India under KA Hospitality has collaborated with Harsh Dixit, chef to some of the most popular Indian celebrities. Collectively, they have developed the limited edition ‘Baos on a Stick’ menu that is available until the end of this month.
Expressing his views, Chef Dixit said, “Collaboration with KA is like a homecoming for me! I couldn’t have thought of a better brand to collaborate with, to showcase my creativity.
“About the Baos on a Stick, it is a fun menu influenced by street food available across Thailand. We have got satay wrapped baos on a stick, the shrimp and corn dog baos to name a few. While the mains are inspired by the famous tradition of the fondue at the Bajaj house, the banana bao is my take of this pandemic’s famous and most trending recipe, banana bread.”
Another exciting tie-up is between the new gourmet burger brand Bun & Only and Chef Gracian de Souza who is predominantly trained in modern European cuisine. On their menu are delicacies such as the portobello and blue cheese; pulled pork and barbecue and classic chicken with cheddar.
Chef Sadhu’s Masque and Friends collaboration is also a noteworthy project where he is working along with Chef Alex Sanchez of Americano Mumbai, Chef Gresham Fernandes of Impresario handmade restaurants and Chef Hussain Shahzad of O Pedro. They have been experimenting with ingredients like morel miso, koji, vinegar and blackened apples, tying them into dishes all four chefs have contributed to.
Another distinct association on our radar is that of Chef Zacharias and Chef Shahzad for ‘From Chennai to Cochin’ menu comprising dishes inspired from their childhood. Kappa cutlet; grilled chilli cheese uttapam and Ambur biryani are some of the highlights.
Fresh culinary experiences
The ultimate goal of such partnerships is to offer unique experiences to the guests.
“Customers like it when two of their favourite chefs come together to create a unique recipe. They get to try things that go beyond the usual offerings by the restaurant,” believes Chef Zacharias
Sameer Uttamsingh founder Acme Hospitality and co-founder, Bun & Only said, “Customers get to try out different foods that they have never had before. On the other hand, bringing well-renowned chefs together to showcase their signature styles is something new for the F&B industry here. It’s a win-win situation for all.”
Chef Sadhu adds, “Collaborations give diners a chance to (hopefully!) enjoy a one-off meal that you can’t get your hands on again, and a peek into what happens when chefs with different perspectives put their minds together.”
Nisha Shroff and Sanchita Nambiar