In an exclusive interview to Restaurant India, Chef Ajit Bangera, Senior Executive Chef- ITC Grand Chola talks about food trends in India.
Playing with flavours
Evolvement in food is today a societal change. People are getting to taste new changes. As an experience in my hotel I always ask my chefs to give me something new. Authenticity changes with time. So, authentic food from old times is different from the authenticity we are talking now. Cuisines are developing rapidly. The very fun of this job is to be different. You don’t go to a restaurant today to just eat food but to have fun and a lot of other factors- you want to enjoy the nice ambiance, you want to be served, you want to have good time with friends and family and it’s not about good food anymore. So, we have to create good food along with some theatre along with food.
Healthy is Trendy
People are very health conscious these days and you have to look at that market as well especially at people who are travelling a lot, who always eat out and are very health conscious because they are travelling all the time and they can’t eat junk all the time. And, for them we do something which is very similar to ‘Ghar Ka Khaana’. So, we are evolving, we change the menu according to the need of our guests. We can’t force them to eat what we cook... we are there to listen to their demand and we continue to evolve. Evolving means also giving a new look to the food. Gone are the days when people used to eat just because they were hungry. Today they want their food to look good. One has to be creative, innovative with strong basics. Food has to be tasty and look good.
Introducing creativity in Food
The guy who succeeds need to be one step ahead and that’s why we are ahead of the time. People are demanding and we are not only satisfying them but we overwhelm them. Being creative in food is our foundation. I did a Biryani without any oil. You need to have good stock. You have to know your spices very well to cook the best food. Food in every home is different. What is authentic is different to everyone.
It’s all about Foodtainment
We are in the business of entertainment. We are not only cooks. When people come to our restaurant there is a show on. The way he comes in, being greeted, received and his overall experience at the restaurant matters. Today chefs themselves go to the table and talk about food is all theatre and nobody did those 10 years ago. What is god today is not good tomorrow and one needs to keep evolving all the time.
Bringing new Techniques in Food
We have travelled a lot and today we are in a position to use a lot of techniques in food. Using international techniques in our food is the most creative way. The French were leaders and Japanese were silent. But today there are lots of chefs who have combined French and Japanese style cooking together. Chefs have evolved today. Ours is a continuous evolvement, improvement and learning process. So, we have to keep learning and introducing new ideas. We are paid to have fun.