Mumbai Diary: Thursday Dossier

30 March,2023 06:56 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  Team mid-day

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

Pic/Satej Shinde

Little Ram goes to school

Dressed up as Lord Ram, a student from a school in Dombivli looks excited to celebrate Ram Navami.

Mind a history lesson, chef?

Chef Pablo Benitez plates buff alambre at Mezcalita. File pic

What can an academic possibly do in a themed restaurant kitchen? With chef Pablo Benitez in town, we know they can helm it and win diners with their extraordinary balance of flavours. Benitez from Mexico is the head chef at Churchgate-based restaurant, Mezcalita, but he is also a historian and professor of Mexican pre-Hispanic cuisine. That's an odd crossover. "Not really! I moved out of the classroom, and into the kitchen, to put my knowledge to practice. I wanted to experiment with the flavours and spices of my country, and witness people having fun with it," he explained. New to the city, Benitez was drawn by the historic appeal of Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and Sassoon Dock. He added that he would tell his students to explore the innovative culinary techniques of India if they wish to prepare for the real world of food.

Meet the ice ice (cream) baby

Chef Rachi Gupta of The Bread Bar in Chembur is living everyone's dream. Late last year, the all-about-dough expert travelled to Italy to learn how to churn a good gelato and sorbet. After spending time at the Carpigiani Gelato University near Bologna, and travelling across the country to study the art of this creamy delight, Gupta is back in the bay with plans that will thrill Mumbaikars - an artisanal ice-cream store called The Gelato Bar in Bandra. Scheduled to open its doors in April, she said, "I want to bring the technical skill [of making gelato and sorbets] to local flavours. Like an orange candy sorbet." Summer's looking good with this upcoming launch.

Under the twinkling sky

Catching a movie is as common an event in cities as is their need for space. In contrast, this diarist remembers a scene from Swades (2004), where children and adults watched a screening, their mouths agape in disbelief. The scene was based in a village called Charanpur. To bridge the disparity, charity initiative BookASmile - along with Caravan Talkies and Nargis Dutt Foundation - took Reels In Wheels to 350 odd settlements. In an open-air set-up, they watched films such as Bhirkit, KGF: Chapter 2, Lekh and My Dear Bootham, among others. About the initiative, head of BookASmile, Farzana Cama Balpande, shared, "With this campaign, we also join the fight against cancer, like heroes fighting their battles on screen. By spreading awareness through our drive, we are working towards making a difference in the lives of those who can't access advanced diagnosis."

Hurrah for jodi number one

Anoosha Shetty and Saurabh Chanderiya with Shazeb Shaikh; (right) the duo performs at Sassoon Docks. Pics Courtesy/@jodianoorabh

Our favourite dancer couple from Bengaluru, Jodi Anoorabh, visited the city earlier this month. Soaking in the Mumbai experience, Anoosha Shetty and Saurabh Chanderiya made all the essential stops for sights and food. But the highlight for their fans was teaming up with dancers Shazeb Shaikh, Virali Parekh, Nicole Concessao, Svetana Kanwar, Macedon D'mello, and Srashti and Prakrati Kush for fun Reels. The duo told this diarist, "We plan to conduct an event [in Mumbai] this year to teach choreography and share our knowledge of content creation."

Park the thought

A bus parked in front of a No Parking Zone signage in Borivali. File pics

A few weeks ago, this diarist reported about Our Parking Mag - a periodical that interests urbanists and city chroniclers alike. Preparing to host a virtual session on its unusual subject on Sunday, founding editor Radha RH said, "I want to share my journey into the world of parking. Often when told of a magazine on parking, people do not understand how to unpack that idea or perceive it. We aim to fill that gap." But can parking-related trivia astonish participants? To that, she referenced, "The BMC had introduced a rule in 2019 that allowed the traffic police to levy a fine of R10,000 against any vehicle parked on the street, within 500 metre of a public parking lot. On the first day of its implementation, the city collected R1.8 lakh in fines alone."

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