The dish that won New York chef of Indian origin, Floyd Cardoz, $100,000 (around Rs 45 lakh) on TV show Top Chef: Master, is the new ‘it’ thing in the Capital. Expats, tourists and residents who had never tried the upma, a humble breakfast staple traditionally made of semolina, onion and curry leaves, are now asking for exotic varieties of the dish.
Kunal Guha of Kaustubh, a south Indian specialty restaurant in Saket, says, “People are going about over the dish. Over the weekend, we got more a never-before 35 orders for it! And, guests were not satisfied with just upma. They had questions like, ‘What varieties of upma do you have? Do you have mushroom in it?’” Sandipan Bose of the Fortune Select Excalibur hotel in Gurgaon, says, “Soon after news that this chef had won, expats came and asked if we could ‘make something like that’ for them.” Chef Chalapathi Rao of ITC Maurya has also experienced similar instances. “People are so inquisitive now, they are even asking for the recipe. They even want to know how bread and oat upma are made!”
Those are not the only other experimental varieties in demand. “People are not only asking for upma with chana daal and vegetables, but also taking a lot of interest in the upma that we do with seafood and chicken. I have been getting around 10 orders for the dish every day,” says SM Malhotra, head chef at Omnia restaurant, Hotel Silver Ferns.
Online food guides, too, have registered an increase in the search for upma. “A significant proportion of our users have recently searched for upma, an act unusual for north India. Also, there have been around 100 searches for upma + mushroom + chicken (Cardoz’s recipe),” says Pankaj Chaddah of Zomato.com.
It’s a funny thing on Twitter
* So will Tamil parents stop forcing their boys to become engineers and become chefs instead?
* Dear Westerners, if you choose to order upma in India now, please don’t pronounce it as if telling your mother to jump
* Upma is proud of Indians, not the other way around
* Ok, upma or idli, which one’s healthier? Well, upma definitely makes you richer!