Celebrated chef and Living Foodz host Ranveer Brar wears many hats. He paints, sculpts, writes poetry…and of course he creates magic in the kitchen. However, of all the art forms, he believes that cooking has the most number of touch-points—as an art, it engages all the senses. And that’s one of the biggest reasons why it continues to be his first love. “Food is the ultimate form of expression. For me, it was love at first sight. As a chef, I flirt and tease the palate with my food, aiming to make endearing food. While it is serious business for me, I want my food to be playful,” says the chef whose relationship with food has been going strong for over 25 years now.
While whipping up a quick meal for the Living Foodz digital team in his soon-to-open café-cum-art gallery TAG-The Gourmart Kitchen (TAG stands for The Amateur Gallery), chef Ranveer looks quite at ease. He’s hyperactive in the kitchen and jokes about his ‘food ADHD’. “Cooking is therapeutic. When I am cooking, I am my best self because I am in my zone. When I am eating [my own food], I am my worst self because I tend to nitpick on what I could have done differently to improve my dish,” says the Living Foodz host. Luckily, this is not the case when he’s sampling food cooked by others. During season four of Masterchef India, Ranveer always gave the contestants constructive feedback: “When I taste some else’s food, I am happy because I see intent and value.”
Food Trend: Indian to the Core
In a country where the dialect changes every few kilometres, hyperlocal cuisine is here to stay, and it’s a trend that the celebrated chef welcomes and revels. “We are no longer looking at food broadly. People will not ask for Maharashtrian food, they will look for Malwani food or Konkani food—it’s getting that specific. Today, people are happy to talk about their culture and their food. And this is exactly what will define our food in the coming future.”
Clearly, the language of our food is local, hyperlocal, cultural, sub-cultural; and it’s robust. The accents of the language are what come and go. “Take molecular gastronomy—there was a time when it charged into the food space and every other restaurant was offering it. There was a phase when we were enamoured by what was happening on the international scene, but these are just accents, and they come and go. Make in India is big again, hence the way we look inwards will determine how food works. Hence, local is the future.”
While the flavours and cooking techniques of local Indian food stay constant, it’s the presentation that has got a revamp to be relevant to the times. “The food will be put in front of you in a form that it is relevant today, yet it is imbued with the cultures and sentiments of the past,” adds the chef.
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