Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Spa Cuisine



We very well know by living in the 21st century that, as we have evolved the things have become more and more refined. The natural processes of storage and cooking have been replaced with chemicals and microwaves etc. This has become a major health concern for people today as they turn towards healthy ways of preparing and consuming food. That is when Spa cuisine comes into picture.


Spa cuisine is essentially taking our food preparation and cooking methods back to the simpler and less refined ways of the past. With spa cuisine we try to use the natural elements in food to assist the body in its day to day processes without placing unnecessary strain on it.

 Hence, Spa cuisine has few characteristics which define the cuisine like; usage of natural ingredients instead of processed and refined food products. Spa cuisine uses seasonal ingredients as it ensures availability and freshness. Some restaurants may even grow their own produce. 

Spa meals are often colorful as this makes the plate more aesthetically appealing and promise nutrients, vitamins and minerals which are well balanced.
 
As the cuisine suggests seasonal ingredients, you can be sure to obtain quality food from  both flora and fauna. Fats like olive oil, sunflower oil and canola oil are used. Spa cuisine focuses on satiating your appetite by delivering appropriately portioned dishes of high quality, taste and flavor. Spa cuisine restaurants create dishes that are a bit non- traditional, but are definitely creative. Especially when it comes to desserts, they come up with creative ways to satisfy the customer and without causing a major impact to your waistline.

Learning Spa cuisine at the college was one of a kind experience as the students were given deepest knowledge and wisdom of Spa cuisine by the Chef and also they had a chance to personally prepare those delightful, colorful and healthy dishes. The students are really proud to have learnt one of emerging trends in today’s culinary world. We have been introduced to many new ingredients, cooking techniques and yes, also new presentation techniques by the Chef.

 The way the cuisine has been dealt with, while being taught to the students was impeccable. The Chef had really gone an extra mile to make sure that the students are getting a sound opportunity to try their hand at plating their own dishes. Thus, learning spa cuisine at our college was a healthy experience as the cuisine itself.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

SPOT LIGHT

Santosh Reddy is an alumnus of class 2008-2011 from the prestigious Indian Academy of Catering technology and Culinary Arts- Brand CAI as it is called today. He has to his credit 14years of professional experience in Indian and International hotel chains. He has trained and worked with hotels like the Taj group of hotels, Holiday Inn, The Leela, Fairmont, etc.His first assignment as a Pastry Chef was with The Park, Hyderabad after which he moved on to Movenpick Hotel & Spa, Bangalore.He is presently heading the Pastry at the Radisson Blu, MBD Hotel, Noida. During his professional career Santosh has acquired a lot of distinction to himself and the hotels he worked for. “The Chocolate Box” Pastry shop at Radisson Blu, was awarded by Times Food as the best Pastry Shop in the NCR Region (Noida) for the Year 2013 and 2014.Santosh spearheaded his team of six chefs at the AAHAR Competitions 2015 where he won 4 gold medals, 5 silver medals, 3 bronze medals in various different categories.
He was the architect behind building the biggest ginger bread house     at  the Raddison Blu, Delhi during Christmas.
He is honored with  the title of Best Pastry Chef of the year 2015 at the AAHAR prize distribution ceremony.








Tuesday, June 9, 2015

KALEIDOSCOPE


what do the people of the world crave for? Love? Baloney. It’s a purpose. It’s a sum total of your priorities, your memories, the people who come and go, your choices and the results of all that and much much more: mixed around like a concoction of reality and hope. It all started when I was losing myself, when I was losing touch with the world around me and being felt like I was surrounded by a sky full of dementors.

Anyway. This was that point in life that probably one would say “every teenager goes through” but personally, I think what matters is how each one’s thoughts wander during such events and controls the mind and soul of a human being- the crucial state of mind that makes all the difference.

I was a victim- or rather Survivor- of deception and misunderstanding- two simple words that could cause so much chaos in an 18 year old’s mind.

Typing all this makes me second guess myself- is this the truth? Or am I just drowning in self pity? Coming up with an answer to this question makes it so challenging because of all the clichéd stories out there- but heck! I m gonna go on anyway.

So I believe everyone comes across a handful of inspiring people in their lives, and like everybody out there, so did I.

Briefing my story – that person who inspired me so much so that im here, writing about all this- out in the open was my teacher. I would say- not only was he a teacher for me, he was someone who I respected a lot. He was a mentor, Almost a friend.

Now, randomly but essentially meandering onto my many theories- You know what the key to a good life is? Lowering expectations.

This unfortunately, did not happen in my case. The people around me- my friends, my teachers, my parents, everybody seemed to expect so much out of me that it became hard for me to wrap my brain around why, sometimes- these people would say things like “your standards are going low” or “your graph is showing a downfall”. I mean…what does that even infer? WHAT GRAPH?

I have a graph? Why don’t the other kids ever have a graph like that? What frustrated me even more was when people would say such things, they wouldn’t tell me WHY. They wouldn’t tell me HOW I’m falling, and neither would they tell me how to get back up. So I was on my own here. With my own dangerously over thinking brain that just seized negativity the moment it came close. This was when I was lost. I would question myself “where am I falling? What am I doing wrong? Am I fading away?”

It was like I was being continuously picked at by the universe until I pop. The worse part being- I ALLOWED the universe to pick at me. Everything seemed to be victimizing me and things slowly started to make less sense, confusing me all the more. When an avalanche buries you and you’re lying there underneath all that snow, you can’t tell which way is up or down. You want to dig yourself out but pick the wrong way, and you dig yourself to your own demise. That was how I felt. Disoriented, suspended in confusion, stripped off my compass. It was almost like a Bollywood movie scene where the girl is depressed, she doesn’t eat and just bawls her eyes out all night. I wouldn’t say my situation was the same- for instance, I ate like a glutton, but unfortunately, it proved to be somewhat similar.

After all that overthinking, negativity and plain misconception of life, I finally couldn’t take it anymore. I had to find that ray of sunshine and make my way out into the world again, so I gained some courage (a lot of it) and made the WISE decision (very wise, Now that I think of it) of digging my way through and talking about all this to someone I looked up to with great respect and someone whom I thought- for some vague reason- would GET me and what was exploding in my head.

To my good luck, gut feeling and sheer pouring-out-of-emotions, this person took me out of my dark side and made me realise that it is only my negative thinking that is ruining me and causing so much mayhem in every other aspect of my life. All that I have written in this article- I realise because of this one person and one of the most important lessons I’ve learnt from him- is giving time. I guess there are some things that are meant to vanish in an instant and there are some things that will take time to dissolve. Time truly heals everything and makes that annoying phrase “everything’s going to be okay” seem so much sweeter when experienced. I owe a lot to this “hero”, if I may call him that, and I will remain ever grateful to him for being the only person who didn’t lose hope in me and saw my true side, even though there was so much cloudy turbulence in the air.


It’s funny, the thing about people. They come and go- like pebbles thrown in water. Some creating huge ripples, some changing colors and some just disappearing into invisibility. All this is reality and is something that turned my life around and I am not ashamed to write about it or let the whole world know. Petty and dramatic for some, but life changing for another. It is important to be someone who makes you happy and makes you want to look back and say “yes. I made it.”

Monday, June 1, 2015

Developing Young Chefs In Sugar Artistry

Ten years back when we started getting trained to be chefs, the practical skills we gained were only through the practical sessions under skilled Chef Trainers or through books. Even with such minimum resources available we could still learn culinary skills which helped us to grow strong in the industry. In the present era of 'Internet', everything is available to make anything and this availability of technology and know-how has become a boon for the budding chefs to gain substantial knowledge and skills.
With so many talented  culinary professionals  in the industry, easy access to the online resources and the state of art culinary infrastructure in the leading hotels  in our  country we still have a long way  to make it to Culinary Olympics in general and in  Pastry & Confectionery arts in particular. Being a Chef Trainer and specialising in confectionery arts and mentoring the students hands on with various confectionery mediums like Sugar Chocolate, Nougatine, , Pastillage, Marzipan, etc. I feel that we need to raise our bar of performance to meet the international standards in creating these artistic showpieces.

In my experience 'Sugar' is the best and the most challenging confectionery medium to work with in Indian conditions. Many Pastry Chefs consider sugar work the pinnacle of their decorative work. One reason is surely the sheer beauty of skillfully made pulled, poured and blown sugar pieces, which can be elaborate constructions of multi coloured sugar flowers in blown sugar vases or sugar baskets filled with sugar fruit, and sugar pedestals wrapped with sugar ribbons & bows. A showpiece created entirely from sugar is truly a work of art, and it takes an eye for design and strong pastry skills to work with this delicate medium and are composed of several different types of sugar elements. 

Dedication , passion, practice, eye for design and well disciplined approach towards this skill when getting trained can make oneself proficient. Chefs who have mastered this skill practiced for hours, even years and have earned the respect that this accomplishment brings them. Students are often irresistibly drawn to the challenge of learning these techniques when they see what results are possible.
Being associated with an institute which is probably the only culinary school in India that has the infrastructure like a full-fledged sugar studio with all the basic and advanced sugar equipment's and tools , imported silicon set of sugar mats and moulds, blow pipes, etc.We are able to bring out sugar master-pieces and also teach sugar work to the students in the third year as part of their curriculum with as  subject titled Advanced Pastry & Confectionery Arts. Students practically make sugar showpieces in their lab sessions and the availability of infrastructure makes this work of art doable even if the medium is sensitive to handle. Our team of Confectionery trainers impart skills to the students because of which they are able to create intricate Sugar  Showpieces while at the same time displaying their acquired technical skills. The most difficult and advanced techniques like pulled sugar & blown sugar work challenges even our credibility, but the passion towards the art  keeps inspiring us to perform better.
This confectionery art work is challenging & one who develops these skills perfectly will always get the higher applauds in the culinary world, we always aim to sculpt a well trained budding chefs from our academy before they land in the industry which is our greatest contribution. Now it is such a situation that our alumni has already made their mark in the Culinary world. It will not be an exaggeration if we come across one of them representing the  nation in the upcoming Culinary Olympics and showcase the Sugar confectionery art.
The presence of endless opportunities & possibility to perform any kind of Culinary art these days, it's time that Indian chefs should showcase the artistic skills to the world at International Culinary Competitions.



Tuesday, May 19, 2015

“EAT RIGHT FOR YOUR BODY TYPE”

Ayurveda–the science or the knowledge of life is known for its oldest medical systems on earth. It provides us with all the important information related to our weight, health and happiness which could be controlled by us. It has two aspects, one is preventive side and other is curative side. The preventive side focuses mainly on how illness could be avoided just by following right diet, meditation and yoga whereas the curative side consists of eight branches of medicine. 

Here we emphasize on the preventive side of Ayurveda as “Prevention is better than cure”. Ayurveda teaches us that one don’t require medicine, if they follow a right diet.

Ayurveda says that everything in this world is made of five elements which are Water, Earth, Fire, Ether and Air. These elements are energies made with finer molecules when combined form all life forms around us.

They vary from each other by their densities and vibration.
The lightest of them all is Ether with condenses to form Air. When air flows it creates friction which produces Heat or Fire.The fire creates moisture which condenses to form water, which ultimately condenses to become earth which is the densest elements.to keep healthy body we need to balance these elements. These elements are combined in various ratios to form three main energies or called Doshas.

These doshas are responsible for everything that happens in our body but it vary from one body to another as they are present in various proportions.
The three main doshas are:
· The Vata dosha is made of air and ether.
·  The Pitta dosha is made of fire and little  water.
·  The Kapha dosha is made of earth and water.

Most of us have two dominant doshas , or you can also have all three dosha balanced which is called tri-doshik but it’s very rare.
Before actually starting or following ayurvedic diet one need to find out which dosha they have.

To find out this a test been conducted in which all students were distributed with a set of questionnaire based on their body frame ,height, features, personality, appetite ,bowl movement etc.

Vata dosha and balancing diet for it

Vata body type is naturally slim, with a small frame both a predominating collarbone, delicate arms and slightly jutting bones.
Vata have excessive air in stomach which agitates the fire in body. Overeating should be avoided and one should consume small portions.one should eat on regular intervals as for vata people it’s hard to digest food.

They should-

     Have food which are sweet sour and salty and reduce consumption of bitter, astringent and pungent tastes.
·       Rice and wheat grains are best followed by oats.
·       Mung and red lentils are good.
·       Should avoid too many nuts and caffeine also carbonated drink and cold drinks.

Menu for Vata
·       Warm Sweet potato, Rocket and goat cheese salad
·       Green chicken, broccoli and pea curry with rice
·       Saffron and cardamom Rice Creams 


 Pitta dosha and balancing diet for it
They have medium build with good muscle tone and good complexion. They have good appetite and quite thirsty.
When imbalanced sweat a lot and start to develop disorders and liver problem.
They should-
·       Using ghee as fat medium.
·  Use more astringent, sweet and bitter food like coriander, coconut and asparagus.
·       Avoid intake of excess of salt, sourness, spices and oil.
·       Consume more lean meat.
·       Include lot of raw fruits and vegetables.
Menu for Pitta

·       Chicken, Fennel and broad bean salad
·       Risotto with pumpkin seed, mint and broad bean pesto
·       Simple lentil and coconut pudding



Kapha dosha and balancing diet for it
This body type is curvy with heavier frames, bigger bones, strong muscles and little extra body fat. When unbalanced they have poor digestion which leads to heaviness and lethargy after eating. They have frequent congestion, sinus problems, asthma or cold.

They should-
·       Consume more of vegetable proteins.
·       Increase intake of bitter foods, astringent and pungent food.
·       Avoid raw salad, refined sugar products, dairy products, nuts, cold and fizzy drinks.
·       Dink spiced teas and spiced lassi in summers.

Menu for Kapha Dosha
·       Hearty puy lentil and herb soup
·       Ayurvedic lentil curry with savoy cabbage and peas
·       Baked spiced stuffed apple

It is rare for us to have all these Doshas in balanced way in our body. The dominant dosha becomes one’s own dosha depending on which element is high in your body. For this one has to find out their own dosha and then follow and monitor their diet and it would definitely help one in living a healthy life.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Technology is ever changing. Innovator and inventors are constantly striving to push the boundaries of science and technology, looking for that next amazing idea that will make our lives that much more comfortable.

So here's an idea; you walk into a restaurant and find yourself a table. Instead of waiting for the waiter (in know, ironic… isn't it??!!) you can place your order immediately. Instead of standing in queues like all other fast food joints, you  can relax on your table while the food comes to you. Oh and did I mention, there are NO WAITERS! Cool, right?

From the food bullet train restaurant in Tokyo (where the food ordered arrives on a bullet train) to Rogo's, the rollercoaster restaurant in Abu Dhabi (here the food takes a rollercoaster ride on the way to the guest) fully or predominantly automated restaurants have become all the rage in various parts of the world. You can order food at the touch of a button then relax while your food arrives. Even clearance of dishes is taken care of!! 

These restaurants are slowly gaining popularity because not only is the service quick and efficient, it is also safer as the number of food handlers is greatly diminished. Not to mention, it looks really cool when you see your food travelling towards you!! There are places where there is no human intervention at all, robots have been designed to replace people. This concept isn't all that new, it was attempted in the US in the 1970's in outlets that were referred to as Automats, where all the food was served out of vending machines. A similar concept has been tried and implemented in Japan, called the Shokkenki. But fully automated restaurants are a more recent trend. Automated restaurants have been opening in many countries. Examples include Fritz's Railroad Restaurant in Kansas City, Missouri, Výtopna (Railway Restaurant), a franchise of various retaurants and coffee houses in Czech Republic; Baggers Restaurant in Nuremberg, Germany, FuA-Men Restaurant, a ramen restaurant located in Nagoya, Japan, Hajime Robot Restaurant, a Japanese restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand, the Dalu Robot Restaurant in Jinan, China; Haohai Robot Restaurant in Harbin, China, Robot Kitchen Restaurant in Hong Kong, Rogo's, the Rollercoaster Restaurant in Abu Dhabi. Robot Palace, the first robot restaurant of India is due to open this year in capital city, New Delhi.

Monday, May 11, 2015

FOOD STYLING


Chefs are the creative minds behind today's food businesses. They are the most skilled individuals of their kitchens, and their artistic approach and decisions shape their establishments. Many chefs also play a major role in managing the kitchens, the day's service, preparation of different dishes, and supply ordering. Chefs also oversee the complete food operations apart from preparing the food. Apart from all this today chefs have to be “STYLISTS” who can create visual impact in his customers who first see and then consume the food prepared by him / her. In today's world each profession has its own definition so as food styling. By this small write up on food styling I will try my level best to delve into tips, tricks, and information on how to style mouth watering food using elements of art & design. If one has to define the job of a food stylist then it is simply a person who makes food look beautiful. It is always understood that the food stylists work in a studio rather than a kitchen but actually speaking a professional food stylist transforms his kitchen into a studio. Being a food stylist is a very fascinating but challenging career. A Food Stylist is only as good as the last photo or commercial, so it requires an individual who is detail-oriented, organized, and focused and at the same time should be able to combine artistic vision with culinary skills to make food look as enticing as possible.     
                                   

Incredible styling of food should actually tell a story to the viewer. Telling a story gives the food the most required quality 'acceptance', and will allow the chef to make an intimate and unique connection with the consumers. When the customers look at the food or a steaming plate it actually reflects different carefully constructed elements of art and design which a chef has put into the presentation. These elements are the key to making the food most appealing. Food styling revolves around a central point of arranging the food to look its best and also prepare the food to its most maximum appeal. In other words the food styling the job is more or less that of a beautician of the culinary world. A food stylist generally accepts numerous challenges, add a new definition each day with creativity brings in variety with each move and always plays and paints the food as the presentation surface becomes a canvas. Hence it is commonly said that food stylists prepare the food to feed the eyes and  
imagination.

Though food styling sounds very simple and easy, actually it's a complex job.  They are responsible  for finding unusual ingredients and preparing food so it looks freshly made and appetizing for non edible purposes and use the best, rarest and fresh ingredients to make the food look beautiful along with taste, texture and aroma for edible purpose. The foundation of food styling is in using the freshest and most beautiful ingredients available, contrary to popular assumptions and expectations. In short one can say that food stylists are extremely passionate about what they do and especially about food. Their only quality is their love to cook and create colorful plated masterpieces, all with an eye for detail. From artfully placing food to selecting the overall setting, food stylists need to know all of the tips and tricks for specific types of projection weather the food styled by them is for consumption in a famous restaurant or for the visual media etc. 

Chef's who actually take up food styling as their specialization should have extensive knowledge of how food acts, both aesthetically and scientifically. Also they need to have a thorough know how about the props, right equipment, latest preparation techniques, arranging the food on the surface and also the consumers acceptability. The best food stylists are judged by their creative capacity and love for food. Just strong cooking skills will not help and knowledge of the edible art and design is very crucial in this career. A stylist's goal is to bring out the inherent beauty of the food and food styling is akin to a musical dance revue. The recipe is the musical score, and the chef becomes art director and the entire process is handled by the team which choreographs the eating experience. A professional stylist readies the star of the show, and the service staff brings up the house lights and conducts the final harmonious performance with total focus on the guest who is consuming the beautifully designed food.




Excerpt taken from Chef SUDHAKAR N RAO'S aticle