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Gaggan comes to town

>> The only time he’s cooked in India was at the recent Kothari-Bharthiya wedding in Chennai when guests were afforded a chance to sample his famous molecular gastronomy as applied to Indian cuisine. But, of course, most Indians who can tell their okra from their oysters are familiar with celebrated chef Gaggan Anand and his eponymous restaurant on Bangkok’s rue Soi Langsuan, (rated ninth on the Asia’s 50 best restaurant list).


Chef Gaggan Anand

Trained at the legendary, now defunct elBulli in Catalonia under the three star Michelin Ferran Adria, Anand’s signature dishes according to Travel +Lesiure include ‘startling deconstructed dishes inspired by his homeland; tongue-teasing umami oysters with lemon foam and edible blue angel flowers, a play on street side lemon juice in India; sphericised yogurt that explodes with cumin and a touch of Indian black salt; organic foie gras, both caramelised and powdered, infused with freeze-dried raspberries and garam masala-and-ginger-spiced raspberry chutney gel.’

And now word comes in that the Kolkata born Punjabi 30-something lad will be in Mumbai next month to cook for members of the International food and
wine society. Expect a feeding frenzy!

The Piramal celebrations
>> There appears to be much to celebrate in the lives of Ajay and Swati Piramal, the graceful and popular Mumbai based couple.


Ajay and Swati Piramal

Piramal, the Chairman of the $2 billion Piramal Group, with interests across real estate, pharmaceuticals and financial services and his wife hosted one of their famous dinners last month to celebrate Swati’s successful leg surgery and saw her beaming on the dance floor according to a guest and this weekend there was another celebration this time to welcome the Piramal’s grandson, their daughter Nandini’s newborn. Interestingly, besides Swati’s celebrated dessert table, a standard and much awaited feature of all her parties, this one too was noted for its innovative invitation card -- a hand painted many paged package that traced the run up to the birth of the Piramal progeny with humour and charm. Nice!

We care about V Care
>> We have been admirers of V Care, the NGO with a big heart that has been working tirelessly to bring succor to cancer patients and their families. The organisation, which is dedicated to providing free-of-charge services to those afflicted with the disease, has helped more than 5,000 patients through its activities. We have had personal experience of the organisation’s large heart and its effective and timely intervention when ever its been called upon.

And now that the V Care Foundation is celebrating its 20th anniversary we look forward to pledging our support once more to it and the redoubtable and self-effacing Vandana, its moving spirit on November 29 when a musical program/fund raiser featuring Usha Uthup will be held at The NCPA. Usha Uthup is well known as the original diva of Indian Pop and Jazz, and we have been following her career for well over three decades now. No one does Harry Belafonte’s Day-O as well as Usha, not even Mr Belafonte himself! So come November and there will be a rousting evening of music speeches and renewed commitment! It’s a cause eminently worth supporting!

Only his barber knows for sure
>> So, which politician has the best home in the country? If those in the know are to be believed it's none other than the suave Mumbai-based scion to a great industrial empire whose mid city apartment (to use the word loosely) not only rivals the best in the world but also houses its own barber’s salon, replete with a high tech imported specialised barber’s chair! Must notice his hair cut the next time we run in to him!

Asha Puthli honoured
>> “My friend’s eight-year-old was asking his mother if I was a dinosaur because I am included in two museums this year -- The Grammy Museum in LA and then in December for a year at the Smithsonian in Washington DC,” writes in the husky voiced Asha Puthli from America. “I told the young boy -- that I’ve been included in the museum because I’m a muse,” she puns, adding, “Now I hope you agree and are aMUSEd by this.” The GRAMMY Museum one of the music industry’s most coveted institutions and its decision to honour Puthli is a tribute to her talent and pioneering work in the field.


Asha Puthli was honoured at the Grammy Musuem in Los Angeles

Recognised as an actress, singer, songwriter, fashion icon and pioneer of a jazz, funk, disco, and electronica sound. Her music has been sampled by many A-list musicians leading to hit tracks. Her training in classical Indian singing combined with jazz knowledge provided her with a tantalising four-octave soprano voice, which led to her being discovered by Columbia Records producer John Hammond who matched her with American sax player and composer Ornette Coleman in the 60s leading to her winning the “Best Female Jazz Vocalist” at the Downbeat Critics Poll and many solo albums under CBS Records. Our fondest memory of Asha was in NYC in the 80s when as a paid up member of the Studio 54 set (she had also been part of the Andy Warhol hipster movement) she had us invited to Piccaso’s wife Francois Gilot’s party at the world famous nightclub. That and her stories of her days with Earth, Wind & Fire, the R&B, soul, funk, disco, jazz and rock band which one evening had Amitabh Bachchan himself riveted will epitomise the free-spirited Asha’s personality for us. And for Gen X who might not be familiar with the Puthli legend, suffice to say that her hit song Space Talk is sampled in many hip hop songs by rappers like 50 Cent, Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, Notorious B.I.G and Redman and that she holds co-publishing credits with Jay-Z, Jermaine Dupri, The Neptunes!

Cricket lovers meet
>> It’s a turner that’s going to get big and you read it here first. Over the weekend Harsha Bhogle hosted the first installation of the Cricket adda – a get-together of like minded cricket lovers who gathered under the Four Season’s roof to discuss celebrate, eat, drink and breathe cricket.

Bhogle, who has always had an entrepreneurial and dynamic attitude to the game ever since 1995, when he has been presenting commentary for ESPN, STAR Sports and subsequently been the face of all Indian Premier League seasons since 2009 is according to an insider on to his next big thing: after all, cricket lovers who often tire of any matters besides the game of kings would like nothing more than to spend quality time with each other and in the company of acknowledged authorities watching matches, discussing issues or just talking shop.

And Bhogle with his deep knowledge and his access to all the leading personalities could make the cricket adda one of the game’s most looked forward to events across the country.

And once Cricket adda is up and running what’s to stop others from hosting similar single interest soirees?

Bring on the poetry salons, music addas and even photography evenings are on the cards!  

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