Picture this: chefs you’ve admired for years on television showing off their signature skills, will just be a few feet away from you answering your queries. And that London restaurant you’ve heard so much about, will not just transport itself right here but also let you taste a bit of their gourmet recipes. Why would you want to be anywhere other than Marine Drive between February 22 and 24?
The Taste of Mumbai — based on the popular Taste Festival concept — is coming to the Indian subcontinent for the first time. Apart from 19 celebrity chefs from 12 restaurants who will share with you their recipes and allow you to sample a few, there will be a wide array of gourmet food and beverages as well as lifestyle products on display.
Taste, which began its journey a decade ago, has been held in 14 cities of Europe, Australia, the Middle East and Africa till now. “The Taste of Mumbai represents the wonderful diversity that makes Mumbai the city it is — truly a melting pot,” says Justin Clarke, CEO, Taste, who is excited about trying the various cuisines that Taste of Mumbai has on offer.
The idea is unique but will a food festival with live demonstrations from celebrity chefs and restaurateurs woo the audience enough? “While food has always been an important part of Indian life, gourmet food has now gained popularity across classes. This makes it the perfect time to introduce the Taste festival to India,” says well-known author and chef Karen Anand whose organisation ASK for Food, is bringing the festival to Mumbai.
“The popularity and glamour of shows like MasterChef and the fact that many of our chefs are so articulate, has given them celebrity status,” she continues. Perhaps this is why a charity cook-off between celebrity chefs has been introduced at the Taste of Mumbai. “Chef Vikas Khanna will host the charity cook-off, which will have two teams of great chefs competing against each other. Each will have to work with mystery boxes (just like in MasterChef),” describes Anand. The audience is encouraged to contribute to a charity Chef Khanna is affiliated with. “Guess who the winner will be and you might win a trip to New Zealand,” adds Anand.
The festival will include a combination of some of the “latest, greatest and most exciting” restaurants such as Arola, Kofuku and Ellipsis as well as the city’s more iconic China House, and Olive Bar & Kitchen. “Delhi’s Fire, Bangalore’s Caperberry, New York’s Graffiti and London’s The Cinnamon Club will showcase their food as well, hoping to attract an all new clientele,” Anand adds. The idea is to create little pop-up restaurants, where they will serve four little tasting portions — three signature and one iconic dish, throughout the festival.
While Anand had to work hard to get the required security and licenses to host the event at Marine Drive, she is happy to have pulled it off. “It was the perfect place to exhibit what Mumbai has to offer,” she says enthusiastically. Pune, where Anand is based, is on the charts to get its own Taste fest soon. And Delhi-based celeb chef and restaurateur Ritu Dalmia, who will make her presence felt at the Mumbai fest, is equally excited about Taste of Delhi later this year. “It will provide tough competition to Mumbai,” she warns.
Taste of Mumbai: 12pm to 4pm and 6pm to 10pm. Tickets will be available through BookMyShow, priced at Rs 600 for a standard ticket and Rs 2,000 for a VIP pass. Learn more at www.tasteofmumbai.in
A pavilion titled the Taste Theatre will feature back-to-back master classes by some of the world’s top chefs. In all, 20 chefs, including international chefs Margot Janse, Alain Fabrègues, Jehangir Mehta, will conduct live demos, interacting with and teaching visitors how to make signature dishes. Vicky Ratnani, who says his masterclass is likely to last between 30 to 40 minutes, will work on a dish with scallops. “My plan is to keep it very local as far as flavours are concerned. I will serve the scallops with purple yams and beetroot falafel. The spice I’m planning to use is lasun ki chutney — like the one they serve with vada pav,” he reveals. Ritu Dalmia on the other hand, will offer her tips and tricks to create a mouth-watering, sweet and savoury Risotto with Summer Berries. “Risotto is extremely simple to make, and yet slightly tricky. I’m just afraid people will stop coming to my restaurant after I’ve shown them how this dish is made,” she laughs.