ET Awards 2019 a gastronomic gala: Chestnuts in paneer masala, lotus root in tadka dal, asparagus-edamame combo a hit
The guests satiated all their food cravings.
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There was food in plenty at the awards, but for those who came too late to catch the pre-event snacks, that meant waiting till the extended award ceremony was over. But when the food finally came, it was worth it. Chief Suprakash Tripathi of the Trident, stepping into the role performed for many years by Chef Joy Bhattacharya, served up a memorable meal.
It was, as always with ET event, entirely vegetarian. Chef Tripathi explained that Mumbai is possibly the one city where the business elite trends strongly vegetarian: “Most of the banquets we organise for this kind of event will be vegetarian – or even vegan and gluten free.”
Sure enough, while talking to the guests, one corporate executive revealed he had just gone vegan, and was thinking of starting a listing of vegan products. Catering to allergies is another issue – a quick glimpse of the chef’s note for the evening showed one direction scrawled at the bottom: No Rock Salt. “It’s never a problem if we know in advance,” said Chef Tripathi.
What makes creating such options easier is that at a luxury hotel like the Trident, chefs enjoy two advantages. They can call on the best ingredients from around the world, like the burrata, cheese filled with a creamy core, or the frozen raspberries that featured on the menu. And they can also call on their deep knowledge of Indian vegetarian food, the most developed vegetarian cuisine in the world, to help create the final dishes.
In the past, ET awards banquets have ranged across the world, taking inspiration from Mediterranean or Southeast Asian or other cuisines. This year, perhaps in keeping with the national focus of the government ministers who were the chief guests, the focus was primarily Indian, though with exotic touches. So paneer masala had added water chestnuts for crunch, tadka dal had lotus root for a variation in texture and instead of the usual vegetables, like potatoes and brinjals, cooked on a kadai, it was asparagus and edamame.
This was probably made easier because, unlike some senior Indian hotel chefs who are primarily fascinated by foreign flavours, Chef Tripathi said he loved cooking Indian food. In fact, he revealed, one of his best memories was of the banquet he had created of the food of his native state of Odisha, for an event organised by that state’s tourism department.
“There is so much variety of food in Odisha, but people don’t realise it, even within the state,” said Chef Tripathi.