NEW DELHI – Although a wide range of regional cuisine exists in India, two top chefs believe they don’t find a place in the metros because restaurants prefer to stay in the “comfort zone” when crafting their menus.
“We want to stay in a comfort zone. In restaurants also, most of the menus are played along with the dishes which are commonly accepted. More or less you will find Punjabi dishes given certain twists and turns in menu and presentation but the flavor remains same,” said Michelin star Chef Vikas Khanna, who runs his famous ‘Junoon’ restaurant in New York, at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit here on Thursday that was moderated by Chef Ritu Dalmia.
Chef Gaggan Anand, who has made a name for himself in the culinary world with his ‘Gaggan’ restaurant in Bangkok, said:” We are super domesticated and we do not know how to sell our regional food better like the US does.”
While talking about Indian dishes coming into prominence across the globe, the chefs believed that most efforts in this direction have been unrecognized.
“India has been a leading exporter of spices and ingredients. We’ve given everything that has made every other cuisine tastier and yet we are deprived,” added Chef Anand.
Asked about the government’s initiative in promoting Indian cuisine abroad, both chefs differed. While Chef Khanna praised the steps taken, Chef Anand expresses his disappointment with the government.
“Government, irrespective of political parties, has been supportive when it comes to promoting Indian delicacies. If you see the advertisements of Incredible India you will find images of food. Even in the Presidential dinners, now-a-days chefs are invited to prepare special dishes which was not happening earlier,” noted Chef Khanna.
Chef Anand pointed out that “government is not working hard enough to make the ingredients easily accessible abroad, they are not marketed well. It is easier to get US products in India but difficult to get Indian spices in other countries.”