In the midst of a food revolution taking place in terms of food shows on television, facebook groups on cooking, various food blogs, a live interactive cooking show will always hold a special place. When Pawan Soni of Indian Food Freak asked me to cover the Woman’s Day Culinary Session held at Imperial Hotel organised by The Imperial Culinary Club, as a tribute to the International Women’s day, I was very curious to find out what it was all about.
I walked into Daniel’s Tavern at the Imperial Hotel to find it abuzz with the sounds of wok and ladle and full of women from all walks life and cutting across all age groups, watching a live cooking demonstration of simple “Super Easy One Pot Recipes”.
The dishes being taught that day were Ratatouille Lasagne , Mushroom Fricassee Pie , Shepherd’s Pie , Burmese Laksa Soup, Watermelon Salad with citrus vinaigrette and mixed greens, Vanilla Creme Caramel, a melange of edible delights delicious enough to make anyone hungry.
What was even more surprising was to see the Senior Executive VP and GM of The Imperial Hotel Mr Vijay Wanchoo, donned in the chef’s jacket, for this unique interactive live cooking session. He along with Chef Alok Verma, was conducting the demonstration while discussing “the finer culinary nuances recipe by recipe ” and also sharing the little “secrets” which go into the making of a great dish. They had the audience totally enthralled while demonstrating their skills, be it the most basic, like making a balsamic reduction, a lasagne from scratch, a simple white sauce, how to make the perfect mashed potatoes, a pie crust and how to caramelize sugar, to the little more complicated ones.
I was curious to know a little bit about this Culinary Club and asked the hotel personnel, who told me that The Imperial Culinary Club is actually the brain child of Mr Wanchoo, who started it four years back when he joined this oldest luxury hotel in the country in 2009. He wanted a forum where their patrons and in house guests who were passionate about food could get lessons from “in -house chefs “about the epicurean treasures of the hotel. This Club soon gained popularity and till date has had Imperial Chefs teach European, Lebanese, Thai, Italian, Kashmiri, Goan, Mediterranean dishes along with special classes on Pastries and Tarts and Pizzas. The philosophy behind the club is to teach “authentic recipes” in an easy manner with ingredients which are easy to find.
It was nice to see the women asking questions and having lively discussions about the techniques and ingredients and I met some young enthusiastic members like Simran Kocchar Dhingra who is a part of this club and who uses the nuances that she they picks up from these sessions , which are often not mentioned in the recipe. The exciting part is that at the end of each session, there is a lavish buffet featuring all the recipes and even a lucky draw and a chance to win meals at the different restaurants in Imperial.
What a fun way to celebrate Women’s day indeed.
– Lavina Kharkwal