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Startup 09 Jan 2018

How Local and Seasonal Produce has Become a Big Fad in Dining

In an exclusive interview with Restaurant India, Radhika Khandelwal shares everything about the dreamy place to eat in town.

By Charu Sharma Feature Writer

A spectacular rooftop restaurant with pretty plants all around is the best idea for a soul soothing brunch. Fig & Maple has a fancy and very well thought out menu. There are ice boxes at the center of each table for drinks to stay chilled. Apart from delicious food, the place is famous for its décor and hospitality. There is a book shelf in place which attracts people towards it and makes them sit down to read a little.

What inspired you to start a concept like this?

I started my culinary journey in 2008 in Melbourne, Australia. I started working in a restaurant and then moved to the kitchen and there has been no looking back. Fig & Maple was conceptualised because of my morals and a large part of it had to do with responsible living. I truly believe in using local and seasonal produce because they are going to be the future of Indian food industry representing our culture very well.

What is the unique element which makes Fig & Maple stand out?

We use the local produce which has been forgotten by most of the people. We are chasing western culture, forgetting the essence of our regional ingredients. We handle, cook and present the cuisine in traditional way using very modern techniques. The mixture of traditionalism and modernity makes us stand out in food industry.

What’s the story behind the name?

I have always loved Figs, and a large part of Fig & Maples menu is brunch oriented, hence the maple.

What are some of the experiences that you’re creating at Fig & Maples?

I am currently working on tasting the menu, other than that I largely focus on creating sharing tables. I love the fact that strangers can connect and share my food. It helps people to know each other on a food table which is quite astonishing.

Is the customer response up to your expectations?

I am truly over whelmed by the response and love that my guests have showered me with their love. As long as we are able to break the gimmicks and present our guests with honest and good food we are all going in the right direction.

What change do you see in Indian food culture?

I am extremely pleased to see more and more chefs getting inclined to use local and seasonal produce, there has been a very positive movement after the molecular gastronomy fad has passed. People are getting aware of the super foods grown in our homeland and making a conscious decision to use local over imported. It also pleases me that guests are now more aware and primary sources are now named on menus and websites. 

What are your marketing strategies?

I only believe in the word of mouth marketing.

What are your expansion plans? Are there any new projects coming up?

As and when an opportunity arises I will turn my focus to it. I am happy concentrating on each project as it comes. I am currently working on a new space focusing on forgotten cuisines of India. 

How do you think reduction in GDP will impact food service sector?

A lower GDP does directly impact the food service sector as it means lower spending thresholds amongst our consumers and guests. The hospitality sector acts as the third largest foreign revenue generator for our economy and has the potential to be a major driving force behind the country’s economic growth. Though I am very optimistic of the GDP catching momentum in the near future and the food service sector playing a major role in its growth. 

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