Saturday, April 25, 2015


As I walked in I was literally tempted to walk through all the sections of the restaurant. In addition to the drama, the sections ensure that the space doesn’t get overwhelming, since it’s broken into both large and intimate dining sections. What caught my fancy were its three interactive kitchens with searing which inspire a close interaction with the chefs thus permitting one to enjoy the experience of watching their meals being set according to their individual preferences. 

It also reminds one of smells and sounds of Asian street food places; Chef Vaibhav Bhargava has tailored traditional, regional spirit to the modern gourmet and has created dishes with a creative twist using ingredients like edible flowers with a strong emphasis on seasonal and fresh produce. 

‘Renowned, credible Asian restaurants in the capital are helping willing consumers understand the diversity of Japanese cuisine and techniques; we are using the thrill of adventure and novelty via the comfort and safety of the familiar’, shares the brand new Executive Sous Chef Vaibhav at the ITC Sheraton Saket.
The Salmon Tataki salad for example is the one to come back for. The desserts here are not your usual crispy noodles with honey or coconut-based served at most Asian restaurants but extremely creative. Pan Asian is about drama, sure. But what got me more excited about is the fact that it’s about joyful dining. Thumbs up!

‘For spring summer 2015, menu is focused on modern interpretive cuisine where tried and trusted recipes are given a new twist in imaginative ways with an emphasis on fresh, wholesome, seasonal ingredients. The visual appeal created by micro greens, edible flowers lures you to try these dishes. Keeping the food intake in this weather in mind, we have paid special attention to light salads, soups, even in main course options of few cold noodle dishes like Soba etc’ chef Vaibhav Bhargava
Vaibhav Bhargava, Executive Sous Chef, Sheraton New Delhi
Sheraton New Delhi
District Centre Saket - 110017
Tel: 011 42661122

published in Statesman

Friday, April 24, 2015


'Being crowned India’s First ProBaker Icon is a mark of utmost thanksgiving and gratitude to the all mighty. I am ever so thankful to the jury, KitchenAid and chef Peachy to provide this honourable platform to me. I hope I justify their choice in the times to come'…says Nupur Kanudia

Nupur: I started baking at the age of eight and knew it right then that, this was my calling. I used to look up books and TV channels to get whatever most I could learn from them, had to convince my mom to buy me an electronic hand mixer as it was a must for my baking. She flattered me with my own baking cupboard among three sisters. Anyone who wanted to buy me gifts was around the baking parameters. I continued my baking interests after marriage too and was ecstatic that I could now experiment with eggs in my desserts which were a taboo in my mums place. A very encouraging husband in Raghu and his family never let my fire die. I was the official dessert provider for all family dos and festive distributions alike. I named my work frame as Mochamania. As I moved to Gurgaon, my sisters and nieces encouraged me to continue baking and get commercial too. After a couple of workshops here and there and endless hours on the net just browsing techniques, recipes etc, I finally bagged my first order, followed by some more from friends and family. My community, Laburnum really encouraged me too by ordering their birthday cakes from me and continue to do so.

Nupur: Raghu pulled out an advert from The Good Food magazine and insisted I enrolled for it, after toiling around the idea and setting my preconceived notions aside, I sent them my original recipe of Thandai cupcakes with saffron buttercream. As luck would have it, it got selected by the eminent jury and I was invited to the Regional round of Delhi. I was super excited to receive the Artisan for a week; it was a real dream to own it even for that much time.
Left to Right Chef Thomas Blanchard, Chef  Bakshish Dean , Mohit Jain & Chef Avijit Ghosh -The Finale at Academy of Pastry Arts, Plot no 64, Phase 4 , Udyog Vihar, Gurgaon
The generous Jury selected me as one of the Elite 8. My happiness knew no bounds as not only could I now keep my dream machine for good but was also awarded by an intensive 5 day sugar craft workshop by none other than the famous Chef Peachy Juban from Manila.
The most amazing workshop at Academy of Pastry arts India #PeachyJuban #KitchenAidIndia
KitchenAid had organised the best possible workshop and schedule for us, really like a kid in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, I was going crazy. Zero tiredness even after standing for straight 6 hours every day. We ate yummy lunches and dinners every day, hosted by KitchenAid. The evenings were hosted in the choicest of locations like Kingdom Of Dreams, Farzi Cafe, Bernardos and Johnny Rockets (itinerary planned by Rupali Dean) Nikita and Kanika were our buddies even before we knew. As for the course content, Chef Peachy taught us over 20 techniques, even out of her schedule. She was so patient, humble and concerned about each contestant’s progress, a true guru and guide, along with an amazing sense of humour to lighten our tiredness. I loved every moment of her class. I feel I can now do so much more with my cakes for which I would otherwise have to spend through my hat to learn such techniques. I just Love Chef Peachy and KitchenAid for that and Look forward to many more opportunities to learn from the Maestros.

Rupali Dean ( that's me ) & Nupur Kanudia

Friday, April 17, 2015

Rum and cigars both have long traditions in Guatemala and the Leela Ambience Gurgaon played host to an event that celebrated two premier examples of these cultural icons along with some decadent Guatemalan cuisine

The Elitaire Lounge at the Leela Ambience Gurgaon took on a distinct Latin American feel when it teamed up with The Guatemalan Embassy for an evening billed Zacapa & Cigars under the Stars on 16th April 2015. The venue was originally SkyDeck but owing to some traces of rain was shifted to the Elitaire lounge…but no one’s complaining as this lounge too is one of its kind …against a backdrop of warm discretion and elegance! 
Similar in format to a restaurant’s harvest dinners, guests met in first for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres to begin. The event featured rums of Ron Zacapa Centenario, an award-winning distillery in Guatemala. Upon arrival, guests were welcomed with Classic Mojitos and Daiquiri cocktails and while they mingled in the lounge they were served four hors d’oeuvres –Fried Plantain with frijol and cotija cured cheese, ‘Dobladitas de queso’ aka Guatemalan quesadillas, ‘Taquitos de pollo with sour cream and crispy chicharron with tomato salsa. 

Before sitting down, the dynamic Michel Koopman, General Manager – The Leela Ambience Gurgaon said, ‘We are extremely happy to have Fiesta Latina again in our hotel, an opportunity for our guests experience the cuisine, culture and heritage of Latin American countries.
Tonight we are celebrating Guatemalan cuisine and I would also like to thank our esteemed partners and embassy, who have done so much to bring tonight’s dinner to life’. The ambassador spoke a few words on the culture and cuisine and without much ado announced the dinner open.           

Executive Chef Ramon Salto offered an extremely authentic Guatemalan meal which came in four courses, paired with some amazing Rums. The first course included Guatemalan prawn ceviche ‘panza verde’ with avocado and crispy tortillas. I opted for the mushroom ceviche as I am allergic to prawns…this was absolutely divine simple, fresh flavours! For those who do not know Escabeche, which is more often referred to as escoveitch involves covering the fish with a vinegar sauce that includes onions, scotch bonnet peppers and sometimes other thinly sliced vegetables.
The second course included Red Chicken tamal in banana leaf which married brilliantly with recado sauce and fresh salsa….unique and tasty. 
The third course was Braised pork adobado with a black bean stew and cardamom cocoa sauce… this was refined, bursting with flavour and respectful of the product….need I say more? Another highlight of the night came when guests were able to light-up cigars while drinking super premium Zacapa and enjoying a Dessert extravaganza buffet of rum-inspired desserts prepared by Executive Pastry Chef Pablo Moralis. The bittersweet chocolate rum mousse and the Rum truffles were disappearing from the counter like hot cakes.
Guatemalan Zacapa & Cigars dinner was a delightful variation of the standard wine dinner, one which certainly made cigar and rum aficionados happy.  
·       The rum was first created to celebrate the town of Zacapa’s centenary year in 1976.
·       Unlike most rum, Zacapa is not made from molasses, but from the first pressing of sugar cane juice, something that the rum apart from the start and makes Zacapa a bit smoother and sweeter than other rums.
·       Geography also plays a part in Zacapa’s unique body and flavour. It’s barrels are stored in the Guatemalan mountains at an altitude of 7,544 feet, making the storage facility called “The House Above the Clouds” one of the highest ageing facilities in the world. The thinner mountain air and lower atmospheric pressure help infuse the rum with the barrel flavours, as does the climate. The temperature stays a cool 62 degrees Fahrenheit all year round which slows ageing down and intensifies the taste of the rum.
·       Zacapa uses a maturation process called the Solera system, which was initially developed more than five centuries ago in Spain as a way of ageing sherry.  
·       Using the Solera system, different age rum is blended in barrels that had previously been used to age various wines or spirits such as bourbon, sherry and sweet wines to allow the rum to pick up a complexity of flavours. Every drop goes through the three different kinds of casks.
·       The number on a Zacapa bottle, such as the 15 in Zacapa 15, means that the oldest rum in the bottle is 15 years old. The youngest rum varies. In Zacapa 15, the youngest rum is 5 years old; in Zacapa 23, the youngest rum is 6 years old. However, because of the way the Solera system works, rums in between the youngest and oldest also become part of the blends. 
Additionally, the Fiesta Latina brought together various other events, starting with Mexican tequila dinner on 10th April, 2015, where one got to experience unique tequila based cocktails paired with Mexican dishes, a cooking class to learn more about the diverse and distinctive Latin cuisine from Peru, Peruvian cooking classes with the celebrity chefs being held at Zanotta, the Italian specialty restaurant, on 11th April, 2015. Really exciting rums paired with authentic Guatemala cuisine on 16th April, 2015.
And if you have missed the’s never too late
Wine connoisseurs can enjoy wines from Chile, over signature-styled Chilean wine dinner prepared by the celebrity chef on 17th April, 2015.
And the ‘The Bathrobe Club’ on Sunday 19th April, 2015; 4pm until 8pm (The package starts at INR 3,500 plus taxes per person)
The Leela ambience Gurgaon hotel & residences
Ambience Island, National Highway-8, Gurgaon
Tel: 91 (0) 124 4771234

Monday, April 6, 2015

Goa More Than Just Beaches on EatStayChill

Rupali Dean Started this Channel with friend Sailesh Ghelani (Editor of renowned web magazine Minority Review )

Eat Stay Chill with Rupali & Sailesh (India's first show on YouTube for travel/food/leisure video reviews) will continue to bring you our unique reviews of hotels, restaurants, leisure spots and interviews with celebrity chefs and more on our journeys of ESCape.  

Friday, April 3, 2015


In an all new avatar India’s first B-Bar is an enthralling experience as it infuses the skilfully and imaginatively curated menu for a truly first-hand culinary journey. 
Chef B. Richard & Chef Vadim Shin showcase the new wave of Pacific-rim cuisine with an amalgam of fresh produce and delicate flavours where Japanese, Chinese, Thai and Eastern unite with Western tastes and influences. Apart from hot sellers like Devil Chicken with angry sauce; Gochujang Australian lamp chops; Asian style artichoke pizza etc, the menu also sees exciting add-ons such as Beans Yacai; Garlic Butter Prawns; Misoyaki Black Cod; Crispy Sesame Tofu dressed with Ginger, Sesame & Soya, to name a few. As for me the star of the show was the interactive Teppanyaki section, wherein Chef Shin left me spellbound with an experience of a lifetime.
The captivating bar offers a great collection of wines as well as fascinating concoctions like Devil Wears Prada, Kiwi Kukama, b-thirsty among other sparkling cocktails handcrafted by their international mixologist. All in all at this outlet in Select City Mall Saket, the food, design, music and the lighting come together to generate a raised gourmet experience. With all new sections for Teppanyaki and Robatayaki, they also have an amazing line up of events and experiences in store for …yet another reason for me to go back for more.

Where?  4th Floor, Select Citywalk, Saket, New Delhi 
Reservations? 011 33105814

published in Statesman