A practicing chef, an ambitious businessman, travel enthusiast, Vikram Udaygiri has travelled across world exploring finest ingredients and recipe. Talking to Restaurant India he exposes the culinary perspective of his experiences.
It was in 2013 when I went on a trip to Europe and was staying up in people’s houses. I eventually landed up in France and stayed with a French chef for about a week. As everyone was planning their sightseeing, I was very excited to stay back since it was a Michelin star restaurant and I have the opportunity to live with somebody like that. Therefore, instead of exploring France for the week I planned to stay back in that kitchen. That’s where my experience comes from.
It was all started to bring a new aspect in Bengaluru dining circle as there was no French restaurant in city in that point in time. We started small at a high street in Bengaluru growing rapidly. We further did large format restaurants realising that there was great potential for the scalable business in the city. I was always inspired to create a product and brand that was scalable and something that has honesty in product offering, create great value for money and was accessible to most people.
Promoting Indian cuisine
In 2007 I got associated with various institutions where I saw that they wanted to promote Indian cuisine outside India. We figured that 80-90 per cent of Indian restaurants abroad have the perfection of being oily food, extremely hot food and at some level there was decision from group of people who wanted to promote Indian food that has innovated from wherever. There is progression in food. If you look at five years ago people do not care what fat they have, what they consume but today they are aware of everything. Globally Indian food is stuck in time and there is no progression. I have been promoting Indian food around the world under the Ministry of External banner we do several food festivals promoting fashionable Indian food. We stick to traditional practices, traditional recipe depending the region we focus on. We focus on the elements of the cuisine being very authentic but when we present it there is lots of innovation. So, it’s an eye opener for global diaspora.
There is lots of awareness that is coming back to the country in terms of food and its origins. We are all looking at better options. Lost in time ingredients like millet used for daily meal in South India are coming back where people are eating Ragi or millet so I think we are going back to that time fixing our food habits. People are looking for ragi dosa, red rice dosa and I think whatever is happening is for better. There is lots of education and happening in this space largely because of Social Media and general information on health. We are going back into the well balanced meal along with a healthy mix of ingredients. I always believe in consuming what is sustainable.
About Food Sense
As part of the Food sense business we have something called outsource executive chef program where we have a small team. We figured that a lot of midsized restaurants, bars and wellness centre require an executive chef but if they would hire they would have to pay a few lakhs of rupees and productivity of that person ability is only 5-10 per cent. So, we created this program amongst midsized restaurant which is about 40 to 200 cover where I including few chefs do the job of an executive chef spending 2 hours at a restaurant and for them it is feasible as they need to pay Rs 40000-45000 a month. We have about 8 clients on that program.
I would want to open a restaurant in the future. Restaurant business is an asset heavy business. I have concept that I would like to introduce and I am speaking to few investment banks and funds. And, in a year food sense will have businesses that will be a sustainable food business. We are trying to create a responsible retail experience with produce that are organic, sustainable. Coffee and teas from around the country that have grown organically will be showcased. My wife and I are creating a brand called Earthistiq which will have jams, pickles and marmalade. We are opening in about month time. It is going to be the product which will change our consumers. It will be multi brand retail.