KJo to Bhumi: When celebs stir the culinary pot - Hindustan Times
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KJo to Bhumi: When celebs stir the culinary pot

By Ismat Tahseen
Mar 04, 2024 01:18 PM IST

Here's how the stars have not just launched or invested in restaurants across India, but added their own foodie flair to it.

With actor Sunny Leone opening Chica Loca in Noida and producer-interior designer Gauri Khan launching Torii, in Mumbai, recently — the spotlight is back on celeb-owned restaurants drawing food lovers who seek ever-new reasons to tick off the newest spots in town.

Karan Johar turned restaurateur with Neuma and Bhumi Pednekar stepped into hospitality with Kaia, Goa, and both have a creative say in their ventures (Instagram)
Karan Johar turned restaurateur with Neuma and Bhumi Pednekar stepped into hospitality with Kaia, Goa, and both have a creative say in their ventures (Instagram)

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Shilpa Shetty Kundra at Bastian, Mumbai (Instagram)
Shilpa Shetty Kundra at Bastian, Mumbai (Instagram)

 

But unlike in the past, a greater number of these new places are coming up across the country. Actor Shilpa Shetty Kundra took her famous Mumbai eatery Bastian to Bengaluru and Bhumi Pednekar invested in the Goa hotel and restaurant Kaia, recently. “Until now, the focus was Mumbai. With the market getting wider and with greater reach through Instagram, celebs are more open to collaborating with partners to target cities that are a good mix of entertainment, tech and glam,” says Sahil Baweja, creative director and partner, Chica Loca.

While being associated with someone famous lends a place a special identity, the distinctly conceptualised food and décor is also a way for a celeb to forge a bond with fans and friends. And it doesn’t stop there — many of them have been hands-on, down to the last detail, with their babies. Here’s how some celebs are acing the hospitality playbook.

 

Neuma's Bburrata and one8Commune's Pearl barley and sundried tomato risotto(Instagram)
Neuma's Bburrata and one8Commune's Pearl barley and sundried tomato risotto(Instagram)

Ankit Tayal, founder, Neuma, on partner Karan Johar

“Karan Johar knows his food well and he contributes to the creative process, including menu development and ambiance enhancement at Neuma. While his demanding schedule limits his involvement in smaller menu adjustments and food festivals, he actively participates in significant events like menu or restaurant launches and of course he provides fabulous suggestions when it comes to complete menu overhaul

Vartik Tihara, co-founder, one8 Commune (outlets across Delhi-NCR), on partner Virat Kohli

“Virat does not dictate extensive changes to the fundamental aspects, but offers suggestions, even food-wise. He personally samples the dishes, offering constructive feedback. We feature Virat’s personal favourites on our menu — a selection of vegan dishes he loves.”

Sunny Leone who launched Chica Loca created a drink with a blend of coffee at her eatery (Instagram)
Sunny Leone who launched Chica Loca created a drink with a blend of coffee at her eatery (Instagram)

Sunny Leone, on Chica Loca, Noida

“We’ve hired the most amazing people to handle the business side. I love sitting with the chefs and figuring out what new recipes we can work on. My travel has definitely influenced the menu. Along with myself, the chef, all the different people who are around us, including my entire team, come up with new ideas based on where we have been in the world and the flavours we have seen and tasted.”

Bhumi Pednekar on Kaia, Goa

Bhumi Pednekar at her venture, Kaia, in Goa(Instagram)
Bhumi Pednekar at her venture, Kaia, in Goa(Instagram)

 

“F&B and hospitality have always excited me. I am a foodie and I love travelling — it’s something I’ve spent my life doing. When I was asked to collaborate on Kaia, it fit the bill. The property was located in Goa, which I belong to. Plus, it was a brand that championed sustainability, something that is close to my heart. I have enjoyed having discussions and taste trials with the menu here.”
 

 

Reema Sen and a dish from her restaurant House of Goth, Goa (Instagram)
Reema Sen and a dish from her restaurant House of Goth, Goa (Instagram)

Reema Sen on House of Goth, Goa
“My husband Shiv (Karan Singh, restaurateur, co-founder) and I are deeply involved in every aspect of the restaurant, including the culinary experience. We ensure that each dish reflects our vision and firmly believe in staying true to the essence of Indian flavours. Our focus remains on curating dishes that cater to the discerning Indian diner.”


CHECK THESE CELEBRITY RESTAURANT OWNERS IN THE WEST

Ryan Gosling - Tagine Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, USA
Channing Tatum - Saints and Sinners, New Orleans, USA
Lady Gaga - Joanne Trattoria, New York, USA
Robert De Niro - Nobu (first opened in New York and now across five continents)
Jon Bon Jovi - Soul Kitchen, New Jersey, USA
Susan Sarandon - SPiN, a ping pong club-meets-bar (eight locations across USA, one in Canada)
Mark Wahlberg - Wahlburgers (across USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia)
Pharrell Willams: Swan, Miami, USA

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