In an exclusive interview to Restaurant India, Vimal Verma, Director of Food & Beverage- AnnaMaya talks about the whole idea of the food hall.
Generally when people go to a dining place and ask themselves why they are here? There is no answer to it. AnnaMaya as a concept has all the answers to one’s query. Designed as a European food hall which is inspired by the vibrancy and flavours of India, it is one stop for every socially active customer and foodie. We were brainstorming and found that we want to inspire the socially conscious minds to true stories, artisanal products and experiential education because our motto is eat mindful, shop artisanal and raise awareness and this is how AnnaMaya came into existence.
Bringing Europe to India
India and Europe is very diverse in their own cooking. Whether we take Indian products and do it with western combinations of sauces or the dish so that it can get the flavouring of India or take European product and cook in may be Tandoor for eg: we are cooking duck in Tandoor which is generally not cooked liked this. Now, these combinations are where we try to connect both nations.
Healthy is the new green
We are doing lots of micro green products which is already very popular in western world though it was all Indian products which people used to be conscious about. Today, these products are a big hit in Europe and we are trying to bring that thing together to people here to enjoy. India has to look back to what they were doing. When I was doing this research for six months I was surprised to know that India has so much to do. People from outside know more about our ingredients than we Indians. I never used to eat Aloevera but here we are serving aloevera sandwich with western dressing of orange and micro greens along with aloevera and that’s how we are trying to connect this.
Getting the best ingredients delivered
It was quite a bit of hard work. We are trying to maintain the consistency because we have reached those end users. We are trying to make this more streamline for us. Now that farmers, community is very close to us there is very fine balance now. The hard work is not about finding the product but the hard work is about finding the right source of the product. We found the place of its origin. We travelled to Ranikhet, went to that house where it is made, Rajasthan for that matter. So, I am not talking to an agency who is supplying it but I am reaching to the personal end user going there myself looking at it and that’s how we do. We are so much restricted in Cosmo world that we do not want to go beyond boundaries of Delhi and the problem starts.
Introducing life to design
Design is a very food hall like place. Every section has a food, retail touch. There is an art which is done by Rajiv Sethi of seven different Indian flowers that is used in eating to bring out the eating values. If you see at the tables they are clutter free table as you feel at home, the service is designed in such a way that you are welcoming a guest at home.
Keeping ‘Value for money’ in mind
Pricing is done keeping in mind social responsibility. Retail is priced at the same price we buy those products or are priced 10-20 per cent high for the logistic charge. However, the menu design is done in such a way that the food ranges from anywhere between Rs 300 to Rs 800. Pricing is kept as a Standalone thought. We are not here to huge profits but to the society back.
We are targeting people who are socially conscious and who have moved into health.