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Innovation the name of the game for these food, drink stylists



drink stylists

New Delhi, April21: Like bitters enhance cocktails, spices tickle the palette and a variety of additions raise desserts to an altogether new level, it is innovation and creativity that make for an overall fine-dining experience, stakeholders in the space say.

To this end, if the idea of the UN World Innovation and Creativity Week (WICW, April 15-21) is to remind and encourage people to use their creativity towards making the world a better place and make their place in the world better too — can the food and beverage industry be far behind?

But first, let’s talk drink. How about a Monkey Thandai, with the base being Monkey Shoulder, a free-spirited, fun-loving three-malt blend with an easygoing smooth, rich and mellow vanilla deliciousness?

It has, in fact, become quite faddish for the Indian summer drinker!

As for the main course, changes in the culinary landscape are widening the scope for chefs today in terms of what can be offered, says Arun Sundararaj, Executive Chef, The Taj Mahal Hotel in Delhi.

“Innovation in cuisine has no limitations, much like an artist who works on his imagination with no restrictions. For example, two of our star dishes at Varq, the signature Indian restaurant, are ‘Different Strokes’ — a trio of crisp ‘jalebi’ with saffron, passion fruit reduction, fennel and black pepper crust; and ‘Sweet Tooth of the Maharaja — layers of garlic ‘kheer’ and broken wheat porridge.

“Also, one of the other treasured culinary delicacies at the hotel is the ‘Khichdi rafat’, an innovative twist to the humble Indian comfort food. The unique recipe uses rice cooked with tender pieces of chicken, duck and lamb and is flavoured with aromatic spices and almonds,” Sundararaj told IANS.

“In the recent past, we have curated a series of specially-designed menus, to offer exquisite dining experiences to patrons. Each of the dishes across the hotel’s dining destinations is a craft in itself and combines the best ingredients from across the world to create memorable experiences,” he added.

Working on festive menus is another occasion to present exquisite offerings.

“Over the years,” Sundararaj said, “our team has created an array of contemporary dishes, each of which derives its base from traditional Indian desserts. During Ramadan, we created a unique take on the festive ‘Qubani ka meetha’ by presenting it in the form of a mille-feuille. We’ve reimagined the traditional delicacy and used puff pastries to give it a classic French twist.”

Chef Vineet Bhatia at Ziya (The Oberoi, Mumbai) has always followed a signature approach and, as a consequence, redefined the way Indian food is eaten.

For instance, Bhatia had, way back in 1993, invented the ‘chocomosa’, which redefined the ‘samosas’ and took it out from a very savoury genre into a sweet genre.

Until that point, ‘samosas’ could be stuffed with anything and more often than not, this would be minced meat or chicken or prawn.

“We take Indian ingredients that one normally see in everyday home cooking and treat them very differently in Ziya… so, for example, it could be a ‘gulab jamun’, but in Ziya, it takes the form of a ‘Gulab Jamun cheesecake’,” Bhatia told IANS.

“Hence, I would say that there is not one signature dish in Ziya — it’s a whole approach of having a multi-flavour experience.

“Another example is the ‘Dahi-Bhalla’ as an ice cream. It lasted for a long time on the menu and was so popular that we found it very difficult to take it out of the menu,” Bhatia added.

It’s homespun ingredients with progressive Eurasian flavours for Executive Sous Chef Abhishek Gupta at Gurugram’s The Leela Ambience.

The ambience of the Epic – Global restaurant adds to his delectable menu, enticing the five senses with soothing music, soulful aromas and nicely decorated table spread with a touch of luxury.

With intriguing dishes like pureed pumpkin with marigold flowers, potato starch petals, sambuca-infused sous vide beans, cherries and gooseberry cooked with mild butter sauce, farm leaves grilled with smoked butter and more, “a prism of culture, time, and place is created which builds a deeper appreciation of how regional characteristics have shaped global food”, Gupta told IANS.

Molecular food is the name of the game for Mahesh Kumar Sharma, Executive Chef at Dwarka’s Radisson Blu Hotel.

“I have done some Indian twists like ‘mishti doi’ — sweet curd molecular; mango sphere from mango pulp and ‘papdi chaat’ molecular. I made juices and yoghurt spheres that were my prime molecular innovation in the food industry. I have included these in a la carte orders and they are gaining popularity amongst guests,” Sharma told IANS.

“I have changed a lot in buffet presentation post my joining. I have introduced new cold meats, terrines and different kinds of salads in my coffee shop buffet. I have done a lot of work on the shooter and mixed-flavored juices.

“Since I belong to pink city Jaipur, I have introduced Rajasthan’s authentic cuisine in my banquet menu in Delhi,” he added.



Breastfeeding secrets every mom should know




New Delhi, Jan 23: Breastfeeding seems to be a most natural process, but to some, it may be a challenge. Be patient and feed often, say experts.

Mimansa Malhotra (PT), Lactation Consultant and Lamaze child birth educator on behalf of Philips, and Shilpi Srivastava, Lactation Consultant at Mamma Mia, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, list some tips to keep in mind:

* Try to nurse within the first hour after delivery. That’s when your breast produces colostrum, or first milk. It is packed with nutrients in a small amount. And a small amount is just what a newborn needs.

* Feed often to increase supply. The rule is simple. The lesser you nurse, the lesser milk your body will produce. Ensure you are eating well and getting enough rest. You will need both as your body converts your calories to milk.

* Ensure that when your baby is latched, his/her mouth should take in as much of the dark part of your breast, the areola, as possible. The baby squeezes the milk ducts beneath that area to draw the breast milk out. If your baby is only sucking on the nipple, it will pinch and hurt you. Also, the baby won’t be able to get as much milk.

* Don’t be in a hurry to offer the second breast. It is perfectly alright to leave your baby on the first breast until he/she comes off on his/her own and then offer the second breast. Many babies take one breast at some feedings and both breasts at some. Don’t be rigid and don’t be scared.

* As the experts say breastfeeding is a learning process in which both the counterparts are learning, hence it needs a lot of patience and it may take a few days to weeks to master it.

* During the first week, the baby seems hungry all the time as the baby is trying to cope with the new environment and frequent breast feeds will not only help him in adjusting but also help your body to make more milk to meet baby’s demand.

* Breastfeeding is easier with the right help. It is always advisable to seek help from an expert if you are facing difficulty in breastfeeding, because getting the right help at the right time will make lot of difference to your breastfeeding experience.

* Breastfeeding is an art. Lactation consultant or the healthcare provider will guide you about the technique of latching and holding the baby to make breastfeeding more comfortable for you and for your baby.

* Breastfeeding helps in bonding. It promotes skin to skin contact and lets you spend a lot of time with your new born, helping in understanding his cues and requirements.


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Don’t overdo stress or make-up on wedding day



Wedding Makeup

New Delhi, Jan 22: Don’t go overboard by giving your eyes and lips a dramatic makeover and preferably choose a balance look. Also, ensure you remain stress-free to look your best, suggest experts.

Nalin Verma, Co-Founder, Euro Chroma Institute of Cosmetolgy and Puniti, Beauty Expert at 7 Shades by Puniti Unisex Salon, have shared tips:

* The main idea of a perfect bridal make-up look is to accentuate the best features, and at the same time, keep the overall look simple, yet gorgeous. As it is, Indian brides are loaded with jewellery and heavy dresses. So, it is best to keep the make-up natural.

* If you want a classic bridal look, opt for vermillion red, coral red, deep red and pink red lip colours. Ditch pastel or nude shades.

* Highlight eyes or lips, not both. Fresh and effortless make-up styles are dominating the modern bridal trend. Lips could be kept moist or matte depending on the event.

* For blushing cheeks, shades of pink, red and orange are the colours of choice for most brides.

* Mascara is a good option to give a neat look to the eye lashes.

* In order to obtain a long-lasting look, start by cleansing your face well and then patting it dry to ensure that there are no traces of dirt or oil on the face.

* Indian brides love gold eye make-up since it goes well with their red, fuchsia, or green lehengas, ghagras, or heavy saris. So, if you want to play it safe, this is the color to go with.

Paint the eyelids with a gold or peachy pink shade, and use some charcoal shadow on the exterior lid contours to give a subtle, smoky effect. You can achieve this by using a brown shade on the inner crease area.

You can also use golden eye shadow instead of silver for the brow bones.

* If you are hiring a make-up artist, make sure you explain what you need clearly. Explaining things in advance will help you get the look you want. If the make-up artist is new, then it is always recommended to get a trial session before your wedding day.

* Ward off stress hormones: You need to relax and shun off all the stress. It is difficult to practice but stress can take a toll on your skin, making it look worse.

* Take care of puffy eyes: Use chamomile tea bags over the eyes to make them appear less puffy. Using normal tea bags may stain your skin.


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Why mothers’ response to baby’s babbling is important



mother babbling baby

New York, Jan 21: Do not stop your little ones when they are babbling. According to new research, babies tend to listen to mothers’ verbal languages that further helps them in learning language skills.

Babies organise mothers’ verbal responses, which promotes more effective language instruction and infant babbling is the key, the research said.

Published in the journal Developmental Science, the study maintained that babies modify their sounds to become more speech-like in response to feedback from their caregivers and that they learn things have names by caregivers naming objects.

Researchers recorded and recombined the vocalisations of 40 nine-month-olds and their mothers, using a “playback paradigm”, to assess how specific forms of sounds and actions by infants influenced parental behaviour.

“We expected that mothers would respond more often when babbling was more mature and they did. The increased rate of response meant more language-learning opportunities for the baby,” said Michael Goldstein, Associate Professor of Psychology at Cornell University.

“The mothers’ speech was also more likely to contain simplified, learnable information about linguistic structure and the objects around the baby. Thus, by varying the form and context of their vocalisations, infants influence maternal behaviour and create social interactions that facilitate learning,” Goldstein said.

The researchers also found that mothers responded more often and more informatively to vocalisations directed at objects than those that were undirected.

“We suspected this would be the case because the object the baby is looking at creates an opportunity for the mother to label it, so she’s more likely to respond with specific information than when a baby is babbling at nothing,” said Rachel Albert, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Lebanon Valley College.

“These results contribute to a growing understanding of the role of social feedback in infant vocal learning, which stands in contrast to the historical view of prelinguistic vocalisations in which babbling was assumed to be motor practice, with no function in the development of communication and language,” Albert added.


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