A candid chat with Terence Lewis and Lauren Gottlieb over lunch

Feb 14, 2017, 14:25 IST | Suprita Mitter

Dancer-choreographers Terence Lewis and Lauren Gottlieb sign up for this edition of Lunchbox at a seafood haven to sway between food and dance, need and greed

Lauren Gottlieb and Terence Lewis share laughs over a meal at Bastian, Bandra. Pics/Nimesh Dave
Lauren Gottlieb and Terence Lewis share laughs over a meal at Bastian, Bandra. Pics/Nimesh Dave

When we asked Lauren Gottlieb to pick her restaurant of choice for this edition of Lunchbox, her response was prompt. "Can we go to Bastian, please? It's my favourite." Joining her was popular choreographer Terence Lewis. While she left a successful career in LA for new beginnings here, he chose dance after a degree in hotel management. Next month, Lauren will judge a youth talent show while Terence will be part of the jury for the Septieme Lune Film Festival in France. Throughout lunch, their camaraderie is palpable and their passion for food and dance, infectious.

Lauren: Have you been here before?
Terence: Yes. I live next door. I also invite people here. The ambience isn't overwhelming. You don't need to dress up.
Lauren: I found friends, a support system and comfort zone at Bastian and with Kelvin (Cheung, chef-owner). He's from Canada and Chicago, both places common to us.

Lauren Gottlieb and Terence Lewis

(Tuna Poke and Burrata Salad arrive at the table)
Lauren: This is my breakfast.
I'm a foodie.
Terence: I love to try exotic dishes.
Lauren: Live to eat or eat to live?
Terence: Eat to live.
Lauren: I'm the opposite...
Terence: However, the culinary experience is important to me.
Lauren: That's why I have a big booty and you don't.
Terence: (laughs) I don't eat tuna. I used to be vegetarian at one point.
Lauren: Seafood is risky. I wouldn't eat it everywhere. I don't think there's anything I don't like except pickled veggies, maybe. I was in Gujarat recently, and we ate a thali. The food's sweet. American food is sweet and spicy.

Lauren Gottlieb

Suprita: Terence, how did you go back to being non-vegetarian?
Terence: I was on protein shakes to gain weight. Then I had a liver problem; it wasn't responding well to artificial protein. So, the doctor suggested I eat eggs and chicken. When I told him I didn't like how animals were raised and treated, he said, "Right now, it's your life or theirs." The switch was tough. I don't eat red meat.
Suprita: Do you cook?
Lauren: I don't. Maybe I should because one day, I'm going to need it. When I do, it is crap, and I wouldn't subject anyone else to it. I don't have a cook either. I order out every day. I get salads and juices.
Terence: I like simple food. No masala. I usually eat brown rice, broccoli, spinach and lentils, a piece of chicken or egg. I have cooked enough for a lifetime during my hotel management days.
Lauren: Did you dance during your management days?
Terence: I had no formal training. I would teach from house to house because it paid my fees, and gave me pocket money. I was 15 then; we lived in a slum for 30 years of my life. I had crazy energy and was hungry to learn.
Lauren: I began learning dance at seven. Back home, everyone starts at three, so I thought I lagged behind. I'd bawl and beg my mom to let me quit; she said that she had paid my fees for the year, so I had to finish the recital. At my first show, maybe it was the lights or the attention, but I found what I wanted to do in that moment.

Terence Lewis

(Animal Prawns, Salmon Jalapeño and Pan Seared Himachal Trout arrive. We use a knife and fork to try the prawns)
Lauren: Those are Animal Prawns. Eat them with your hands!
Terence: The prawns are delicious. The texture is so good.
Lauren: I forgot to tell you this. I was working on this television talent hunt for college kids; two kids were doing Modern dance. When I asked them where they learnt it, they mentioned your dance academy.
Terence: Very few know the difference between Modern and Contemporary dance. They came from different eras (tries a spoon of Kale Caesar Salad).

Suprita: Do you watch what you eat?
Lauren: I am an all-or-nothing person. I work out like a beast and then, ease off for some time.
Terence: I run on the beach before sunrise. There's need and greed, and I balance them.

Quick takes
Who would you like to work with?
Lauren: Hrithik Roshan
Terence: Madhuri Dixit
Acting or dancing?
Lauren: Dancing
Terence: Sensible cinema with dancing in it. It shouldn’t be too acrobatic.
A recent film you loved
Terence: Kapoor & Sons
Lauren: La La Land
Terence: I didn’t like it much.
Lauren: In this profession, there’s an audition every day. You experience the ‘I don’t know if I’m good enough’ phase. I was all waterworks while watching the character’s journey. I auditioned for Step Up 4, and my friend got the lead. I thought my life was over and then I got ABCD.
Terence: That I identify with.

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