Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Where Culinary Art Meets Perfection

Food is usually not our Tuesday feature, but when we are starting your fave series " Women at Their culinary Best" who really cares what day of the week it really is. After all, some yum preparation, by someone who is a President awardee is more than enough to revive you from your Tuesday tasks at your workstation!
Chef Veena Arora Adding the Final Touch...
Now, without any further delay, we introduce our first woman in this interesting series... Chef Veena Arora, Chef de Cuisine, The Spice Route at The Imperial hotel in the capital. Looking at her designation itself, one can make out that she must have mastered this art to it's perfection. But, to your surprise, she is not a trained chef, or has any international degree in F&B, but has spent a major part of her life in Thailand. A country where culinary art is passed from one generation to another, and where most women dream to be a chef. We landed up at The Spice Route one fine afternoon to know more about her story, and to taste some of her delicacies.
" I was born and brought up in Thailand. Right from childhood days I had enjoyed the street food thetr. And, since I myself was a foodie, I did not mind experimenting.Post my marriage, I shifted to India, and that to in Delhi in early 80's. That was the time when eating out in India was going through changes. Chinese and Thai were the new flavours then. In fact, Thai was known to just a few, who had been to Thailand."
Before we could hear her complete story, we realized that her assistants had set her table, as she was going to cook a couple of dishes for ALLWHATSHEWANTS readers. As you can see in the pictures how tempting these dishes must have been (although, we tried a different set of her menu at the restaurant), the other side of them was they were aptly healthy too!
So, first in the line was Yum Mamuang. We will simplify it for you, it's a quick mango salad for summer season. Quick for Arora, not for a laywoman, we guess. When you see Arora at work, you realize why culinary art is a gift, and how this art transforms an ordinary-looking mango, onion, lettuce, and peanuts in a dish that looks so mouth-watering!
Before we proceed to the second dish, we once again spoke to Arora to connect to the journey that got left in-between. " I joined The Lalit during that time as a Thai food consultant but soon left, to join The Imperial. This restaurant was yet to be opened, so you can see that it been a long journey. I somehow feel that for women, F&B at any given day is a challenge. It's a male dominating world here too. Harsh language, leg-pulling are a few things that can disappoint a woman right in the beginning of her career. Additional, for women each dish must go out on the table with perfection. While, for some men, they don't mind topping a dish with a mint leaf that is dried from one end. but, then at the end of the day, your hard work pays," said Arora. Yes, of course! After all, how many restaurants fall in the best categories globally, like this one, and how many chefs do actually make it to the President's award?
Now, was the turn of a hot dish, named Ga Xao Hot Dieu. Quite an exercise to utter the name of this dish. But, trust us, Arora made the cooking look so easy. This one was a non-veg dish that was all about chicken (breast), capsicum, black and coral mushrooms, spring onion, tomatoes, cashew-nuts, and of course, ripped mango.
She shared an interesting fact while she was preparing this dish. " I don't compromise on the ingredients, but at the same time, I don't even go to extreme to not to settle on anything less. Like, for this dish I have used mango that is available in market at present," told Arora.
That's called smart cooking, and don't you think that can come only from a 'She' chef? Yes, what else!

Later, we had a look at the restaurant where we had our lunch with their PR head. It was interesting to know that the restaurant took good seven years in getting ready. Don't wonder because you see the reflection of the hard work, and above all the beautiful concept - Thai and Oriental food, in each corner. And, guess what? You are after all in good hands, as Chef Arora is there to satiate your taste buds!!

Wish to see her cooking? Then, don't forget to check out her Exclusive video in the coming week, which is all about her cooking style, and her journey in her own words... keep watching this space, or connect with us on Youtube...

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