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REFLECTIONS ON THE RECENT FOODIE MOVIE - THE HUNDRED -FOOT JOURNEY
The Hundred - Foot Journey
Producers: Juliet Blake, Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg
Director: Lasse Hallstrom”
Based on story : Richard Morais
Starring: Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal, Charlotte Le Bon
Music : AR Rahman
Photo : juliet Blake/facebook
Amazing cast and producers of the movie
Photo :Juliet Blake/facebook
Music director AR Rahman and producer Juliet Blake
I was honored to be invited by the Washington Post for the advanced prescreening of the movie - The Hundred - Foot Journey. In my opinion, this is an outstanding movie. Very entertaining, well researched and the food shots make your mouth salvitate. Having personally worked in both French and Indian kitchens, I felt it was a very good representation of both.
With Actor Om Puri at the National Geographic reception and advanced screening.
This movie took me back to my days in New Delhi, as a fresh graduate of Hotel Management I joined the Ashok Hotel as chef trainee; I had an opportunity to work under the Master French Chef Roger Moncourt, who introduced French cuisine to India. In the year 1983, I had the proud privilege of opening a French Restaurant called Burgundy under the tutelage of Chef Moncourt .There are so many scenes in the movie that bring back fond memories; However, I do not want to go on to describe each one of them as many of you have not seen the movie yet.
With my mentor (late) Chef Roger Moncourt at Burgundy Restaurant, New Delhi
One classic test for a new cook in a French kitchen was to see how good of an omelette one could make. In this movie, the omelette looked delectable with the addition of green chilies and cilantro, making it a "masala omelette". I still can remember the emphasis given on making the omelette at the right temperature, right shape (half moon shape etc), how to beat the eggs with a fork in a circular motion and so on and so forth.... I think the movie has depicted these scenes very well. I understand that my friend Chef Floyd Cardoz played a big role ... Kudos to him.
Chef Floyd Cardoz at Indique in Cleveland Park, Washington DC
1985 - Festival of India - Smithsonian Institution - Washington DC
The Indian kitchen in the movie was also well shown with the 'Tandoors', 'Thalis' and display of the old spice boxes passed on from generations. This reminded me of my 7479 mile culinary journey from New Delhi to Washington DC in 1985 along with the 'Tandoors' (drum tandoors) that I brought with me to the Smithsonian Institution to organize the Festival of India.
In the movie actress Helen Mirren plays a fabuluos role as the proprietor of a michelin star french restaurant. One of the scenes that took me back many years was the making of the five basic mother sauces; particulary the making the mayonnaise from scratch. Believe it or not, we used to make it by hand - No kitchen aids or mixers, just bare hands. Yes you read it right - just bare hands. These were made in fairly large quantities, and needless to say - going to the gym was not required, as this was a very vigorous task.
Above: With the former First Lady of France, Madame Pompidou, when she visited India.
Now comparing the two cuisines - The French and Indian - French have their cooking techniques, standardized recipes, subtle sauces etc while Indian cooking is diverse, not standardized, and influenced by other cultures, regions, traditions that have swept across India over the centuries. I feel no clash or competition between these two great culinary traditions! Rather,I feel that knowledge of both cuisines enhances the talent base of the Chef and presents a richer more diverse offering to the foodie.Indeed at Indique we have offered variety of traditional indian dishes that are influenced by French techniques.
Flambéd 'Gulab Jamun' at Indique in Cleveland Park.
I would highly recommend that you see this movie! Bring back your movie stub to Indique and enjoy a Gulab Jamun Flambé on us with your dinner.Try a "Masala Omelette" at recently introduced "Bottomless Sunday Brunch at Indique.
BOTTOMLESS BRUNCH - EVERY SUNDAY - 11 AM TO 3 PM - $ 24.00
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"Puttu" - A specialty of Kerala - Photo of the Week
A simple dish made with rice flour, cumin and coconut and salt. Coarsely ground rice flour is sprinkled with water and mixed with freshly grated coconut ,cumin and salt : to resemble breadcrumbs. This mixture is steamed in a "putti kutti" - a cylinderical piece of bamboo as shown in the picture above. Alternatively they are also steamed in coconut shells.(the eyes of the coconut are pierced so that the steam can pass through). Traditionally seerved with black chickpea curry or with ripe plantains and papadam. This picture was taken on a recent trip to India at a toddy shop about 12 kms from Kochi called - "Mulla Pandhal", which serves some amazing food....
More about " Mulla Pandhal" on a future post.
PICTURE OF THE WEEK
Steamed "KAPPA" ( YUCCA/CASAVA with KERALA FISH CURRY made with "Kodampuli" (Garcinia Cambogia)
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Come, join me on a splendid culinary tour to India. This 13 days and 12 nights are going to be a lot of fun. I can assure you of that. Given below is the itinerary of the tour. As you can see from the list, we will be staying in all luxurious and boutique Hotels. Here are some pictures from my previous trip....
At a tea planation in Kerala, South India
At the Kumarakom Lake Resort with the Executive Chef of the Hotel after a cooking demonstration. This is a beautiful property and here is where Prince Charles stayed during his recent visit to Kumarakom.
At the Devaraja Market in Mysore.
At the Maharaja's Palace, Mysore.
On the streets of Mysore demonstrating the making of "Paani Puri and Chaats"
In Kochi, Kerala, South India, pulling the ropes of the chinese fishing net
On the way to the house boat in Allepey, Kerala,we purchased some fresh Sardines to be cooked on the boat. I demonstrated how to cook the Sardines "Kerala style"'
At the Kanchi Kailasanathar temple in Kanchipuram, Tamilnadu.
In Mala, Kerala in a paddy field
In Aleppey, Kerala driving the house boat.
In the houseboat in Kerala after the cooking demonstration and lunch.
On the streets of Kochi in Kerala
At a cooking demonstration at the Taj West End in Bangalore, India.
Inside the Ekambareswar temple in Kanchipuram, Tamilnadu.
At Mammalapuram, Tamilnadu, India
On the streets of Chennai, India.
In a village in Kerala, India.
On a coconut tree in Kerala.
At a farmer's market in Irinjalakuda, Kerala.
At a cooking demonstration at the Taj Vivanta, Trivandrum, Kerala, India.
At the Taj Vivanta, Trivandrum after the cooking demonstration.
In Trichur, Kerala - Nutmeg
In sweet shop in Calicut, Kerala.
At the residence of the famous cooking teacher Nimmy Paul in Kochi, Kerala, India.
On the streets of Mysore... snacks galore....
At the Maharajah's palce in Mysore.
Street Vendor selling peanuts in Bangalore, India
"Kathakali" the famous dance of Kerala
This picuture was taken from our houseboat when it was drizzling.
A hoseboat ready to dock on the backwaters of Allepey.
ITINERARY OF THE UPCOMING TOUR :
OCT 22: DELHI
- See more at: http://www.indus.travel/tour/taste-of-india-with-chef-vinod#sthash.QE0ADGCm.dpuf
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Sunday Night Suppers is a $600/- per head dinner organzied by Chef Alice Waters, Chef Jose Andres and cookbook author Joan Nathan to benefit the DC Central Kitchen and Martha's table. The dinners are held in small groups of 20-25 in private homes around Washington DC. Each dinner is hosted by two chefs and about 25-30 dinners are held simultaneously. Chefs are invited from different parts of the country .
This year, I was once again honored to be invited to host one of these dinners along with Chef Daniel Asher from Linger and Root down restaurants, Denver, Colorado. A huge thanks to Maggie and Marcus Farley for opening up their home for us.
I am so glad to hear that this years events raised $500,000/- for the DCCK and Martha's table. Here are some pictures from the events and also the list of Chefs who participated in the event.
Irrespective of the number of times that you have been to the White house it is always a great feeling!
This is first lady Michelle Obama's kitchen garden during the peak of winter and here is a shot below of how it looks during summer!
Inside the White House kitchen Chef Bill Yosses chatting with the chefs.
Chef Bill Yosses came to greet and escort us. It is such a pleasure to know him. It is always very enlightening to spend some time with Bill.He is such a wealth of knowledge ; sometimes I wonder if he is a chef or a historian?
Maryland Rockfish, lobster koftas, coconut - kokum sauce, microgreens- lemon grass vinaigrette.
Chef Daniel Asher finishing the third course - Flight of Pickled and Fermented Edibles with Anchovy pear Kimchi, Calendula flower Sauerkraut, Pickled beets and kale, fax pumpkin seed crisps.
Chef Bala and Daniel plating the 36 hour Braised Aspen Short Rib with Crispy Brussels, Butternut celeriac puree and poached pastured Egg.
With chef Carla Hall at the after party.
Overall it was a great experience interacting with such knowledgeable chefs.It is really wonderful to know that that one of my favorite institutions DC Central Kitchen and Martha's Table will benefit from these charity events.On behalf of all the Chefs, would like to thank each one you who came and supported this great event. My special thanks to Chef Bala and my team at Indique.
Thank you Jose Andres, Joan Nathan and Alice Waters!
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