Holiday Inn formally introduces Kochi to gastronomie Francaise
Do it like the French: eat, that is. Despite the Gallic traits of stuffing everything with butter, cream, cheese, and meat, people from the region are constantly envied for ‘staying fit/slim’. “It’s called the French Paradox,” explains chef Jitendra Nakhwa, trying to stifle his laughter as I point out other quirky practices—dipping croissants in coffee and pairing champagne with frog legs.
Holiday Inn’s newly-appointed executive chef continues, “I’ve been told they stay fit due to a combination of three ‘multi-course’ elaborate meals per-day, zero snacks, use of garden-fresh ingredients, small portion sizes, intelligent wine pairings, etc. I learned about gastronomie Francaise while working in a traditional
bistro in Memphis spearheaded by Michelin-starred José Gutierrez, named one of the ‘Best 100 Chefs of the Millennium’.”
While serving me an hors d’oeuvre in the form of a vol-au-vent, hollowed-out puff pastry filled with savoury chicken bits doused in cream and cheese, Jitendra agrees that it always helps when you learn from a ‘Master Chef’. Gutierrez himself was a student of France’s legendary Paul Bocuse—the world’s first celebrity chef; and the pedigree of tutelage is apparent in this 35-year-old’s approach to cooking.
“I’ve spent a few months learning about Kochi’s food scene,” shares the Mumbai native, “Now, I want to showcase to local gourmands what I’m capable of by hosting an event titled Night in Paris.” The three-day food festival features classics including fish meuniere (crispy fillet basted in butter, lemon and parsley sauce) and piperade (eggs scrambled with tomatoes and sweet peppers).
Tour de force
While the gala will primarily be centred around the buffet, for the full experience, I would recommend that connoisseurs pour a few glasses of Chardonnay or Sangiovese, and opt for their limited a la carte dinner options. Don’t miss on their delicious chicken cordon bleu, a thinly-pounded piece of chicken, stuffed with sliced ham and gooey cheese, then breaded and fried.
While the young chef’s tales from a 16-year-long career with stints in UK, USA, and various Hyatt properties across India are entertaining, what really impressed me is the fact that his culinary prowess isn’t limited to all things French. Be it a succulent osso buco with risotto Milanese or the fiery Malvani speciality kombadicha rassa with ghee bhaat.
From March 9-11