Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Fine and high
As is known, not only is the London-based Michelin starred Vineet Bhatia one of India’s most famous chefs, but he’s one of the few who has managed to establish a veritable empire of restaurants across the world. But the dapper Bhatia appears never to rest on his laurels. His latest project, Triyagyoni, will see him attempt to set a new Guinness World Record: by creating a fine dining experience at one of the world’s highest and most punishing peaks, the Everest base camp. The plan is that Bhatia and a group of chefs will spend two weeks in the Himalayas, attempting this ambitious feat that calls for foraging for fresh local ingredients in the region, regular stops for acclimatisation, and finally making their way up to 18,000 feet, where they will cook and prepare dinner for 10 privileged guests this summer. Of course, owing to the health risks involved, the group will be followed by a medical team closely monitoring their condition and the 10 lucky gourmets would have the distinction of creating a world record. And whereas guests would have the option of flying in by a helicopter, if they don’t fancy the trek, the project would be for a good cause: all proceeds raised in selling the 10 seats would go to the Heart For India foundation, and the entire exercise would be captured on camera for a documentary that will be released on the group’s return. “It’s a low-oxygen environment and it is very difficult to cook and even breathe in those conditions,” said Bhatia, currently in Geneva, where he is cooking up a storm with two-star Michelin chef Michael Roth, to raise some more funds towards the project.
MR JOHNSON, I PRESUME
A couple of months ago, Mark Rutte, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, made international news when he was spotted shunning his VIP car and protocol and bicycling to an official meeting. This weekend, another international example took place when our own noted historian Ramachandra Guha bumped into Jo Johnson, (who had served as the FT’s man in India and who we’d once had the pleasure of accompanying to a famous Mumbai dance bar for a story). The current transport minister in the UK government, was spotted by Guha on the London tube. “He takes public transport to Parliament. How utterly civilised, how truly democratic!” tweeted Guha, along with this photo. We wonder if we will ever spot our own Nitin Gadkari hailing a kaali-peeli, or riding the Metro — without a camera and photo opp in sight!
BEING HOT AND COLD IN GOA
“The first one was on Istanbul and the second one is on Goa,” said Delhi-based fashion designer JJ Valaya, who over the past few years, purely out of personal passion, has been publishing his travel memoirs. This Saturday found him in Goa where his latest ‘The Little Book of Memories, Goa’ would be launched with an exhibition of his prints and a discussion with photographer Shantanu Sheorey and fellow designer Wendell Rodricks, both of who are long-time residents. “Drasty Shah of The Project Cafe heard about the book and invited me to launch it in Goa,” he said. The lunch preceding the launch had been pleasurable too. Valaya had joined what he calls his ‘cool Dilliwalla’ friends for an impromptu meal at the same venue. The group had included erstwhile Delhi-based aesthete Jivi Sethi, who has made Goa his home, art photographer Rohit Chawla, and former model Malavika Tiwari, who spends half her year in the sunny state. What about the heat, we enquired. “Goa is lovely at this time,” said Valaya.
We’d take his word for it.
A CANDLE FOR NISHI
A pall of gloom descended in many well-heeled Mumbai households over the news that Nishi Khanna, wife of hotelier Dinesh Khanna (whose The Club is such a suburban institution) and a much-loved face on the city’s social circuit, had died suddenly, while en route to Vaishno Devi, over the weekend. Among the outpouring of grief, many recalled how they had only recently met the 61-year-old mother and grandmother the previous week when she had celebrated her son’s 40th birthday with much cheer; and her own a few weeks before that. The Khannas had taken the early morning flight for Jammu, then a helicopter ride to the drop point, then had got on to horsebacks for the 20-minute ride to the point where they would start the 10-minute walk to reach the holy shrine, when suddenly Nishi had taken ill, and her bl ood pressure had dropped. Although they had been immediately evacuated to the base and rushed to a nearby hospital, it had been too late.
Our condolences to Dinesh Khanna and family.