Food, our first love, evolved deliciously this year. From modern Indian ­cuisine catching the fancy of chefs and gourmands, to experimental cooking taking the front seat, here’s what made 2014 an inspiring year for foodies.
Food fares: The year saw foodies heading to a number of food exhibitions and live cookouts. “The Gourmet High Street ­powered by Hindustan Times in Gurgaon was a huge ­success. Then there was Palate Fest and BBC Good Food. These fairs brought exhibitors, chefs and ­hoteliers together. The events generated a lot of interest, as people could sample gourmet delicacies, learn smart ­cooking tips from chefs and look at food in an entirely new way,” says Mehrotra.
Modern Indian food: Chefs at Indian Accent, Masala Library, Farzi Cafe, Spice Klub and other ­restaurants went all out with modern Indian cuisine. “Modern Indian food is Indian food with an international accent. This year, chefs gave a chic spin to desi food and included modern Indian dishes on their menu,” says chef Manish Mehrotra of Indian Accent.
Innovative cooking: A lot of restaurants experimented with new cooking ­techniques. “Chefs are now using ­molecular ­gastronomy. It has a niche market right now, but this trend is going to pick up. Several hotels and ­restaurants are using air ­fryers, liquid nitrogen to up their bar,” says chef Monish Gujral of Moti Mahal. Agrees Mehrotra, “This year, even small eateries ­experimented with ­liquid nitrogen. Some Indian ­restaurants also experimented with avant-garde food.”
Healthy eating: Not only did people want their platters to be modern, but healthy as well. This led to chefs taking the creative route to healthy cooking. “This year, we used a lot of healthy ­ingredients such as quinoa, amaranth, chia seeds and flax seeds. Till 2013, chia seeds were brought to India especially from London. Such ingredients were easily ­available in ­gourmet stores this year,” says Mehrotra.
Arty bakes: We saw art-inspired cakes with intricate detailing, right from filigree work to those topped with edible gold and pearls. Swati Jain of Sugarcraft India, who specialises in artistic cakes, says, “Gravity defying and art-inspired cakes were a big hit this year. Cakes that are a work of art, caught everyone’s attention.” The baking expert, who will be hosting a two day-workshop (on Januray 10 and 11), adds, “Demand for such cakes went up as people were looking for exclusivity.”
Food scene evolved and how: Cyber Hub, Gurgaon, competed with Hauz Khas Village to become the Capital’s new food hub. The only saving grace for the ­latter was the opening of Hauz Khas Social, a cool and quirky hangout. ITC Maurya also came up with Tian — a new fusion oriental ­restaurant. Global fast food chain Burger King, that set up shop in Connaught Place, was a game changer, too. Regional cuisines: “Speciality restaurants were big this year with regional flavours becoming a hit among foodies,” says Gujral. The new regional eateries included Soda Bottle Openerwala that serves Parsi cuisine, Cafe Lota that offers an array of ­regional cuisines and Kathputli that specialises in Marwari fare.