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Mumbai menus chicken out

With fear of a global pandemic spreading, poultry and egg dishes find few takers.

india Updated: Feb 21, 2006 05:20 IST

Although most human victims of the bird flu have had either direct or indirect contact with chickens, world health experts are concerned that the virus could soon mutate to spread from human to human, raising the fear of a global pandemic. Does the arrival of the dreaded H5N1 virus in Mumbai mean that that city’s party people are shunning chicken in their diet?

Gauri Daswani, whose store Babylicious opens today says, “Chicken and eggs will not be part of the menu at the launch or at any party that I host till the fear is gone.” Her concern is echoed by Poonam Davane at the British Council that is organising an event this week. “There will be no chicken on our menu at the event. Even our cafeteria at the office has been ordered not to have chicken or eggs on the menu till the threat is curbed,” says Davane.

Sadhna Lalwani, who owns the newly opened nightclub Romy’s Paradise, says that chicken was very much a part of the menu at the nightclub’s launch part on Saturday. She explains, “People were not cribbing and were still asking for chicken. But then again the news did break on Saturday itself, and maybe the paranoia had not gripped them by then. However, chicken will be available for those who want it on the menu.”

Grooming expert Chhaya Momaya has a different take on the issue. “I am a vegetarian, so chicken and eggs are out of the question anyway. I was at a party yesterday and found that people were fairly educated about the flu. They seemed to know that if the chicken is cooked properly, there is no real threat and were indifferent to the whole thing. But, there is a general paranoia and that comes from not knowing enough about the virus.”

Momaya herself is hosting a party tomorrow and says that chicken will not be part of the menu. She however clarifies that it has nothing to do with the avian flu. “I follow Madonna’s diet. Look how fabulous she looks at 47. She follows a primarily vegetarian diet and eats only steamed fish otherwise. So steamed fish will be a part of my menu. Chicken was never there in the first place, bird flu or not.”

First Published: Feb 21, 2006 04:22 IST