Flavours of a global festival

Four year since The Park began participating in the global food festival conceived by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, its Six ‘O’ One has been dishing out a whole range of culinary delights

author_img Express News Service Published :  25th October 2021 03:49 PM   |   Published :   |  25th October 2021 03:49 PM
Flavours of a global festival

Flavours of a global festival

Any meal where you don’t have to pick between favourites from the world of fish, poultry and meat is extravagance indeed. Add French to the label and you have a whole new category of indulgence in your hands. Place said indulgence at The Park for its annual contribution to Goût de France, it’s a recipe for the perfect, sophisticated gastronomical fulfilment. Four years since the hotel began participating in the global food festival conceived by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, its Six ‘O’ One has been dishing out a whole range of culinary delights and this time was no different.

“Events like this give us a platform to do something unique, it helps us be creative and play with different ingredients,” begins executive chef Ashutosh Nerlekar. That spirit is evident throughout the meal — be it in the sprinkle of olive dust in the tuna niçoise amuse-bouche or the pan-seared polenta and delightful shaved fennel that accompanied the chicken confit.

Besides offering a vent to the chefs’ ingenuity, these dishes were designed to fit into the theme for this year — sustainability. “We consciously tried to not use any imported products; because when it comes to French cuisine, we end up relying on imported products. He — junior sous chef Wayne Timothy Clarke — spoke to a couple of suppliers and got the tuna from Kochi. Fabulous stuff. We were going to do duck but that again has to be imported. So Wayne suggested we do a confit with chicken instead,” elaborates Ashutosh.

The team also made an effort to stay away from the ‘traditional’ French fare of coq au vin or grilled salmon. For the main course, meat-eaters were met with a hearty serving of mustard and pepper-crusted lamb loin paired with a rich and creamy hazelnut boulangere and served with a dash of red pepper and mint coulis. The other side got to experience the ratatouille served up with boursin in a crepe and pumpkin veloute. Far from the typical, indeed.

Innovation also came in how the traditional elements were presented, points out Wayne. “The hazelnut baked potato (served with the lamb), I didn’t serve it the way it usually is. I cut it out and presented it. So I kept the base there and tried to find ways to innovate and bring out my creativity,” he says. But, we didn’t need him to spell it out; the passion fruit sorbet served in a hollowed-out passion fruit was proof enough.

The hearty meal was aptly accompanied by typical French wines. From the Kir Royale (sparkling wine with creme de casis) that was paired with an appetiser to the Chardonnay that came along with the main course, it offered the perfect foil to the structured menu. And the Martell V.S.O.P ushered in the dessert as the one drink to end them all, concluding the meal with a sweet punch.

And it’s in the dessert that the chefs brought out the best of the typical French cuisine. A vanilla bean floating island made with a meringue of whipped egg whites, on a bed of creamy custard and adorned with caramel cause was as close to heavenly as it could get for the night. Yet, it was the second dessert — the green apple tarte tatin served with a creme Chantilly and rosemary crumble — that was the chef favourite; for both Ashutosh and Wayne. Something about the crispy layers of pastry and the delicate addition of apple — elements that are quintessentially French — that appealed to both the men who put it together.

Even while rooting for the old school in the world of French food, Ashutosh would like people to know that there’s plenty of room for contemporary techniques and styles here. “Even with the same ingredients and processes, it can be made interesting and unique,” he says, adding that it’s certainly been the way at The Park. For Wayne, it’s the inherent simplicity of the cuisine that seems to have struck a chord; this provides the perfect base for him to channel his ideas and interests. All around the world, it’s with this very notion that over 35,000 chefs prepare to offer their version of passion-filled French food for this global festival.