Read the full article in CNBC by Deepali Nandwani
Chef Garima Arora, the chef who founded Michelin-star Gaa in Bangkok, is looking at creating a new narrative for Indian cuisine — one that is firmly rooted in traditions and yet, re-evaluates and reintroduces Indian cuisine to the world. She calls the not-for-profit initiative Food Forward India, and hopes to bring together the big stakeholders in the F&B industry to explore ways in which Indian food can be reimagined.
The first chapter of the initiative was launched in Mumbai in October, at a day-long session of conversations and good food. Chef Arora and her team ran an app that recorded conversations. The data, she says, will be leveraged to understand the road ahead for Food Forward India. “Across the world, Indian food is extremely misunderstood and underappreciated. The cuisine is full of ancient recipes, techniques and food philosophies that are relevant to modern cooks everywhere. With Food Forward India, we hope to create a platform for the brightest minds of the industry to bring back a sense of curiosity and a more intelligent outlook on Indian food,” says the chef who has been mentored by the two-Michelin star chef, Gaggan Anand.
When asked about regional cuisine and hyper local ingredients such as millets and local rice varieties, Chef Garima replied “Ingredients are an important part of how we shape a cuisine. However, attempts should go beyond identifying rarely used, hyper-local ingredients. If you want to make an ingredient mainstream, you need to carefully analyse its potential: who is producing and growing the ingredient? Millets are robust and easy to grow, but what about the other ingredients popular today? How much land do you need to grow them, how much water, do farmers make money from them, who is milling and husking them? More important, what is the nutrition value of the ingredients, particularly the ones we may stopped eating a few hundred years ago, like varieties of heritage rice? These are far more complex questions that need to be answered.”