Cuisine is deeply rooted in culture: Chef AnurudhKhanna
By Siddhi Jain
Respecting the sanctity of any cuisine is important because it is deeply rooted in culture, says Chef AnurudhKhanna, Executive Multi-Property Chef at Westin Gurgaon, New Delhi. After hosting a food festival that brings culinary treasures from the Tamil city of Tiruchirapalli to the city, Chef Khanna points out that there are many misconceptions about cooking. from the southern Indian states, which in themselves constitute a rich culinary bouquet.
Chef Khanna speaks to IANSlife on the sidelines of the “Treaures of Trichy” Food Festival, which takes place at Westin Gurgaon, New Delhi until September 15th. Excerpts:
Can you tell me about the inspiration behind ‘Treasures of Trichy’?
Khanna: When planning a food festival, we were just thinking about the cuisine and Indian state to tap into. We’ve looked at the resources of our culinary team at Westin – here someone is from Uttarakhand, Nepal, Southern States, Rajasthan, Bengal – so it’s quite varied. Our South Indian resident chef, Chef Vijaykumar is from Tiruchirapalli, who has been with us since 2019. This is where we thought to put this cuisine to the fore, and make him the main chef of the festival. gastronomic.
There are many variations of what is singularly called “South Indian cuisine”. As a chef, what do you have to say about this?
Khanna: I also discovered this, during my last mission in Bangalore where I traveled to Mangalore, Kerala and Andhra. While traveling, I realized that the cuisine was changing. Dishes even ‘sambhar’ and ‘rasam change. Andhra style sambhar is very spicy in some places and a little sweet in others. Not only does the palate change from state to state, but the ‘sambhar’ breakfast is different from the ‘sambhar’ which lasts all day. The level of spices matters a lot. For example, Kannada cuisine is not so spicy, Mangalore cuisine is rich in spices, Andhra cuisine is rich in chili peppers but Kerala cuisine is very fragrant.
On the stereotype, yes, there are a lot of misconceptions about food among people who are not from the southern states of India or who haven’t traveled much. They believe that South Indian cuisine is mostly “idli, sambhar, dosa, vada”, and that there are many varieties of dosa. But in reality, the cuisine of South India is immense.
Chefs are experimenting with fusion styles, for example, something like a dosa burger. Opinions ?
Khanna: As a chef, I would say this shouldn’t be done. A small change to the recipe is okay, but changing the recipe backwards is not. Food is very much a part of the culture. You can just be around the culture a little bit, adapt, but the complete 180 degree changes and mergers are not my food philosophy. Let’s keep the sacredness of the kitchen as it is. It’s different from making multigrain dosa or ragidosa, even variations of stuffing are possible.
What’s next for food festivals at the Westin?
Khanna: Then it would also be regional. I would first discover other regional talents on my team. Maybe I could do a Uttar Pradesh travel stream and bring out the regional variations among UP dishes. (IANSlife)