Around the world in 80 plates

Great chefs never rest. Soon after he stirred the Indian F&B pot in Mumbai and Delhi with his famous molecular gastronomy dinners last month, Kolkata-born and Bangkok- based Gaggan Anand, rated as one of the world’s greatest chefs (his restaurant Gaggan in Bangkok was listed third amongst Asia’s fifty best restaurants this year) was off on another adventure. This time to Moscow, where he held fort at Door 19 Arthouse. “Day one begins; we start cooking tonight! Wherever we travel, we carry bags of ingredients and equipment, but when come we back, we do so full of new ideas,” said the man who interned at the legendary El Bulli in its glory days. Nice!

Gaggan Anand in Moscow
Gaggan Anand in Moscow

Smart Art move
“I’ve been thinking about ways in which I can share my work with an engaged public, while continuing to innovate and experiment with my visual language,” said artist and curator Sharmistha Ray, about the launch of Bellevue Brunches a kind of at-home art adda held yesterday at her residence-cum-studio in Khar.

Sharmistha Ray with Devita Saraf and Saloni Doshi, in front of Ray’s ‘City of Eros’
Sharmistha Ray with Devita Saraf and Saloni Doshi, in front of Ray’s ‘City of Eros’

Ray, who used to live in New York before moving to Mumbai, says, “I am opening up my studio and practice to allow access to a range of people and allow them into the process, and in turn, it opens up the worlds to which I engage with. This is partially a social experiment. The closest thing I can think of is Warhol’s famed New York studio The Factory, which became a legendary hangout for a cross-section of people. Eventually, these hangouts led to famous collaborations with his work.”

We have always liked it when people re-think how to infuse spaces with new meaning. Kamala Das holding poetry readings at her home at Churchgate in the eighties, Art being exhibited recently at High Street Phoenix, flash mobs dancing at Churchgate Station, book readings at the Tasting Room, street theatre… urban living calls for innovative ways to express ourselves, and Ray’s concept could be just what the art world needs.

“It’s on this Sunday from 11.30-to 2.30,” she’d said, “and about 60 people are invited.”

And though we didn’t meet all 60, from the looks of it, Bellevue Brunches launched yesterday with a strong representation of Mumbai’s art and media crowd like Gieve Patel, Tasneem Mehta, Gitanjali Dang, Anupa Mehta, Ranjit Hoskote, Nancy Adajania, Shilpa Gupta, Man’s World editor Radhakrishnan Nair and Elle magazine’s Aishwarya Subramanyam, along with Amrita and Sumit Chowdhury, Saloni Doshi, Devita Saraf, was off to a flying start.

“I was prompted to do this because I felt that Bombay has a dearth of cultural spaces, especially the further up north you go. Art is also almost viewed in the manner of commerce or transactionally in galleries. I am always crossing the sea-link to go to town for an exhibition or lecture and the brief engagements with people at these events always leaves me wanting for more direct engagements. A continuation of the conversation, hopefully in time, the direction of traffic for these events will flow in the opposite direction from South to North,” said Ray with a tiny smite at prevailing Sobo-Nobo snobbery.

Mumbai boy makes good
Congratulations are due to Mumbai boy, the LA-based Rohit Shukla, who has been appointed to the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, advising the US Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker, last week. Shukla, who has a degree from Cambridge University, was Founder CEO at the Larta Institute, a private non-profit consulting firm contracted by governments around the world to help create initiatives to promote entrepreneurship.

Rohit Shukla
Rohit Shukla

We used to know Shukla in our college days and have been in touch again after many years through Facebook. “We are committed to innovators and entrepreneurs,” he said about his appointment, adding, “In the words of Doug Larson, ‘some of the world’s greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible’.”

First week on the job
She’s always stood out for her style and spunk, which is why when we heard that Anisha Oberoi, the attractive INSEAD alumni, had been hired by Amazon India as its Fashion Editor we were not surprised. A cancer survivor, Oberoi had not allowed her disease to stop her from fulfilling her life’s ambition of studying at the premier European biz school and had worn her shorn head with as much élan as she had her Jimmy Choos. And unsurprisingly, there was not a dull moment for her on her first week at the job with Amazon’s legendary creator, Jeff Bezos dropping in.

Anisha Oberoi and Jeff Bezos’ selfie
Anisha Oberoi and Jeff Bezos’ selfie

“Welcome to Amazon, Anisha, what an exciting first week for you!” “Thrilled to be here, Jeff. But first, let me take a Selfie,” she posted along with this delightful picture.

Giving back in style
“It is an initiative started by Vidit Bhandarkar, Aditi Guha and my daughter Ameesha Durazi, all three students of the Cathedral and John Connon School, in the 12th grade, to raise funds for sports equipment, uniforms and other supplies,” said designer Shahab Durazi, when we asked him about the striking graphics that that we’d chanced upon for the Children’s remand home in Umerkhadi. “They got to know about it from a teacher who himself is involved in helping the children for some years,” says Durazi.

GROW NGO’s poster, designed by Shahab Durazi’s daughter Ameesha and friends

“Ameesha has designed the posters, Aditi has designed the website – their main goal is to create awareness and initiate a collection drive,” said the designer.

It’s a pleasure to see these young children give back to the community with selfless devotion. G.R.O.W. (Give Remand-home children Opportunity and Will) is the brainchild of these three wonderful kids.

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