Mumbai Diary: Friday Dossier

The city — sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce

Was there enough of Kerala?
So, we love to wear our Indian-ness on our sleeve, even while watching the telly. Season 8 of MasterChef Australia offered reason for desis to cheer for Chandigarh girl Nidhi Mahajan.

After she was eliminated, and with no other Indian in the draw, the odd desi dish would grab eyeballs. In a recent episode, an Aussie participant had to cook an Indian dish with shellfish. Elated (since he’s familiar with Asian cuisine), he created, what he called a Kerala Prawn Curry with pilaf (cooked with cardamom and other spices).

The judges lapped it up, and he sailed into the next round. But we were irked by one miss. There was no coconut! We’ll leave it to our Malayali friends to pass judgment on the state copyright.

Nothing like too many chefs...
On Wednesday night, this diarist got major FOMO scrolling through Instagram feeds of Magazine Street Kitchen that posted real-time goings-on about a fundraising dinner hosted within its studio space at Byculla.

(From left) Chefs Rahul Akerkar, Irfan Pabaney, Kelvin Cheung and Alex Sanchez have a blast in the kitchen. Kshama Prabhu (centre) wasn’t part of the line up but showed up to support the cause. Pic/Atul Kamble

Well, it’s not every day that you get to indulge in a nine-course meal whipped by nine of the city’s top chefs, brought together for the fourth edition of Food With Benefits, a Cellar Door property, it featured the likes of Rahul Akerkar, Kelvin Cheung, Irfan Pabaney, Gresham Fernandes, Viraf Patel, Conrad D’Souza, Alex Sanchez, Pooja Dhingra and Sanjana Patel.

The menu included courses inspired by each chef’s gastronomic sojourns. While Cheung brought Hong Kong on the plate with pork-based Congee, Akerkar dished out Duck Confit reminiscent of his culinary adventures in Italy, while Dhingra whipped up a Japan-inspired Trio Of Desserts (she got cherry blossoms designed on her plates too!). Ecuador, Syria and Denmark made it to the palate too.

Sanchez, who whipped up Celery Root as an ode to San Francisco, said, “The event offered us chefs a rare collaborative opportunity and a platform to showcase our creativity. I feel fortunate to have been able to cook alongside such talented group of like-minded individuals. Needless to say, it was a case of excellent teamwork which made it a great success.” Can we have an encore, please?

Being Satya Nadella
We will have to wait till fall 2017 to read about Microsoft big boss, Satya Nadella’s life and times. We’re particularly keen to see if Hit Refresh (thumbs up for the name) is a tell-all about one of the most powerful men on the planet or a sanitised look at his rise to superstardom.

The Microsoft CEO during a visit to Mumbai this year. Pic/Shadab Khan
The Microsoft CEO during a visit to Mumbai this year. Pic/Shadab Khan

The book, as posted by HarperCollins India CEO, Ananth Padmanabhan, ‘will follow three storylines: Nadella’s personal journey of transformation, the change that is taking place today inside his storied technology company, and one that is coming in all of our lives as intelligent machines become more ambient and more ubiquitous throughout society...’

About this book, the Hyderabad-born Nadella had confessed in a press release, “This book is about change. It is not a ‘how to succeed’ book, nor is it a memoir — it’s premature for that. Ultimately, I am writing for Microsoft team members, customers, and partners in hopes that these stories of transformation will be useful to them as they navigate their own path.”

Salute to evolution
Remember the first Biology lessons in school when you learnt about human evolution from monkeys and how every species has evolved from some other? Well, the idea just turned 158 years old today. Charles Darwin published his Theory of Evolution on this day in 1858.

To commemorate this day, a Mumbai-based online museum,, has uploaded a docu theatre on YouTube to depict how the world celebrated the formation of the famous Theory of Evolution through stamps, coinsand paper currency notes. Not a bad time to find out more about the world’s most famous theory.

No opposition
It’s bad enough that India’s politicians leave no stone unturned while taking potshots at rival members when Parliament is in session. And, social media has given them more outlets to vent their tirades. Which is why when the opposite happens, where politicians from rival parties extend compliments, we sit up and take notice. Congresswallah Abhishek Manu Singhvi tweeted yesterday: ‘Huge respect for fellow parliamentarian @SushmaSwaraj for the kind of aid she is providing to Indians in trouble abroad. More of his ilk, please, especially in Parliament?

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