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New categories and evolving parameters at Living Foodz Epicurean Guild Awards 2019 sets a precedent for the exciting future of food and restaurants awards in India!

Living Foodz Epicurean Guild Awards (LFEGA) 2019 declares India’s best restaurants this evening in Mumbai. It's the culmination of a year-long process of research, background checks, jury meetings, anonymous dining have all resulted in adjudging the winners. The journey has been exhilarating for everyone involved.

LFEGA categories have been segregated in three segments of cuisines, experiences and people. It has been a conscious effort to recognise exceptional work done by restaurants across the country.

Within the Cuisine section, there are legendary restaurants as well as new kids on the block, competing neck-to-neck. These innovations cannot be captured in categories that are strait jacketed and have no imagination. Hence, the Indian cuisine awards were segregated into three: Traditional Indian for restaurants who have stayed true to the heritage and provenance of the cuisine; the award for best Progressive Indian restaurant was created for restaurants such as Indian Accent and The Bombay Canteen who have unequivocally pushed the envelope of the cuisine by their contemporary interpretations. Finally, Emerging Indian is a category that will encourage restaurateurs to invest in research of hyper-local produce and cuisines, showcase lesser known regional cuisines and lead the evolution of the Indian dining.

A new category has been dedicated to Seafood. With more than 7,500 km of coastline in India, how can one not focus on seafood? The winner in this category looked at aspects such variety, freshness of seafood, treatment of produce and cooking techniques, amongst others. A crucial aspect was to ensure that sustainable practices form an integral part of the restaurants’ entire operations.

This year international cuisines were re-categorised into Chinese, Italian, Multi-Asian. It is a consolidation of categories compared to LFEGA 2018—restaurant business is a risky and fickle one, what works today may not work tomorrow, but Chinese and Italian have held on. As a matter of fact, they’ve evolved leaps and bounds where there is no longer the need to ‘Indianise’ a dish. True and authentic flavours have become second nature to these cuisines making their hard work recognition-worthy.

Who do you think will win? Check out the finalists here, and tell us who you are betting for in the comments section. 

The Experiences section includes awards for lounges and nightclubs under the Nightlife Category, as well as awards for the best Indian Wine and Indian Craft Beer. This year, LFEGA launches The Oyster Club—a recognition to the lesser-known quaint restaurants that are quietly making waves with innovation and exceptional food, in different cities and towns across the country. From Kareema in Srinagar, that offers from traditional Kashmiri Wazwan and Adaminde Chayakkada in Kozhikode that is popularising Mappila cuisine, the award will recognize five hidden gems of Indian food.

Among the people who will be recognised, look out for the Chef of the Year award—the award goes to a chef who has scripted a unique story in the Indian food landscape. Apart from building successful restaurants, values such as ethical sourcing of ingredients and promoting lesser-known cuisines and being at the forefront of change, are considered. Another new award that has been introduced this year is The Changemaker award that recognises the work of individuals, institutions, social bodies, or even state governments that have initiated and executed work that is making a significantly positive impact on food production, consumption, it’s impact on the environment and society.

Watch this space for more on LFEGA 2019, and read about the people scripting the food stories of India.

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