Friday, March 27, 2015


On a family vacation in Singapore we went in for a slow food cooking class at Tott...Lto R Akanksha Dean ( daughter pursuing culinary Arts at IHM Aurangabad, Chef Bakshish Dean ( husband) & Chef Jimmy Chok
Slow food as a concept is a relatively new trend, but it is worldwide and growing. That said, it is as old as time. Well, at least the time that the first human figured out how to gather food or grow it. I became exceedingly passionate about Slow Food after I read Carlo Petrini’s book ‘Slow Food’ introduced to me by my Chef hubby and found that it resonated with me on many levels. Since then Slowness in cooking has come to play a major role in my life so much so that on our vacations I try and sign up for a slow-food cookery lessons one such being at ToTT, Singapore with celebrity chef Jimmy chok which was rather interesting. For those who do not know Chef Jimmy is the former owner of a restaurant called Salt and I would say he sure is an extremely talented young Chef.
Rome’s most inventive Italian Chef Fabio Antonini of Pianeta Terra
So when I heard GreenHouse on the Ridge at Olive Qutub was hosting a warm chefs table with Italian chef Fabio Antonini and Chef Sujan Sarkar ‎with a menu motivated by the slow food movement, I simply had to go! 
Myself, Chef Manjit Gill & Chef Bakshish Dean
Chef Manjit Gill who is a great believer in Slow Food philosophy and preaches and practices the same in all the ITC Welcomgroup hotels operations kick-started the dinner with a beautiful chat on Slow Food and I just loved the way he spoke, my favourite line being, ‘Slow food is the opposite of fast, we do not hate fast food or negate it , the Slow Food movement aims to preserve cultural cuisine and in so doing to preserve the food plants and seeds, domestic animals and farming within an Eco region’. This, I think, is the secret outcome of the Slow Food lifestyle. When everything is locally grown using traditional techniques, you get a backdrop of small farms, hidden groves, and open pastures, an appeal of eating that actually enhances the world around you.
Pallavi Mithika & Chef Manjit Gill
When I sat down at the table, I discovered a feast beyond my imagining, a nine course adventure through the most delectable fresh and organic ingredients. This was no ordinary tasting: Bra is ground zero for the Slow Food movement and houses the University of Gastronomic Sciences, the official culinary school of this international initiative focused on local ingredients, traditional cooking techniques, and the pleasures of leisurely meals and Pallavi Mithika a student of Culinary Arts at IHM Aurangabad who later pursued a course from here, must add has done a good job in promoting this movement out here.

Tortelli, confit local duck leg, orange , parsmip
My fellow table mates and I took full advantage of the leisurely ‘Slow Food’ pace, relishing lively conversations and local wines (read Grover Zampa) as the stewards brought out each course like a new chapter in an epic book as we sampled local produce over the nine courses Everything was fresh, organic, and delicious. With highlights being Tortelli (confit local duck, orange & parsnip), Best of ‘The Green Bean’ farm (wheatgrass, fermented black garlic, nasturtium) and a dessert of Jaya rice, chocolate, coconut, burnt butter; it’s a meal I will remember for the rest of my life. The food was extremely fresh, local, and prepared with care. There was nothing overly ornate; the chefs allowed each ingredient to speak for itself. And given a chance to shine, they spoke volumes; it really struck home for me. 
Best of ‘The Green Bean’ farm ,wheat grass, fermented black garlic, nasturtium
As the chefs revealed their craft to us, I was struck again by the sustainable philosophy ‘ take care of what you have, respect it, nurture it, harvest it, use all of it, return to the earth what you are not able to use, and pass this on to those that follow you’.  Could there a simpler recipe than this? Trust me, at a time when organic and fresh are the words on every foodie’s lips, slow food cooking never seemed more modern the way Chef Fabio & Chef Sujan Sarkar dished out the food, in spite of most popular cooking techniques being centuries old.
'Dilli ka khaana Queen' Gunjan Goela in a conversation with super star chef Sujan Sarkar of Olive
GreenHouse On The Ridge
Olive at the Qutub, One Style Mile, Kalka Daas Marg, Mehrauli, New Delhi-110030.
For Reservations call: 011 29574444 / 9810235472
GreenHouse on the Ridge at the Olive Qutub is a little secret tucked inside the style mile of the capital. Casually elegant, with a dollop of gracious hospitality, it is a charming space that offers an intimate experience and feel of a country home.
In AD’s words, ‘Delhi is slowly realizing and appreciating the intimacy of very small restaurants. Similar experiences are found across Europe and Australia where great chefs open restaurants with just a couple of tables. They can then focus painstakingly on ingredients and every dish that goes out’. The Greenhouse on the Ridge puts a spotlight on such experiences every season. A chefs’ playground, it brings forth bespoke experiences where guests can enjoy gleaning culinary secrets from them directly. From blind tastings with chef de cuisine Sujan S.(where without the sense of sight, your other senses are intensified, allowing a new perception of reality) onto chefs cooking hands-on in an open kitchen right in front of you presenting customized menus, GreenHouse on the Ridge endeavors to presents a tight collection of taste sensations.