Hyderabad-based chefs discuss what goes into the making of a food festival
Here's what they have to say...
Food festivals are a rage and how! Every month, city-based restaurants and hotels are hosting these events with much pomp and joy. These menus are not just offering an assortment of food dishes, but are also introducing several new cuisines to the city. Be it Novotel’s Sri Lankan Festival or Mercure’s Parsi Food Festival, these events are retelling culture — in a way. We chat with four chefs from the city’s top hotels to find out why these food carnivals are getting so popular!
Chef Kailash Gundupalli
For the director of culinary, Kailash Gundupalli of Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre and Hyderabad International Convention Centre, food festivals are a way to provide a glimpse of a region and its culture — without actually visiting the place. The chef has hosted a plethora of these special menus and enjoys collaborating with chefs who visit Novotel, especially for these events. “We host local and international food festivals. For instance, the Sri Lankan Festival, Punjabi Festival, and Grand Trunk Road Trail are a few events that I worked on. We plan atleast three months ahead to offer the best of these cuisines,” he tells.
Chef Vijay Bhandari
The executive sous chef of Sheraton Hyderabad has been whipping up delicious food for about 14 years now. The chef enjoys cooking international dishes and shares about a recent food festival and cake-mixing event that he helmed at the hotel. “Since the Yuletide season is about to begin, we hosted a brunch festival, paired with a special cake-mixing event. It took us about two weeks to plan for this as we decided to mix 90 kgs of fruits and nuts for the event,” he shares. The chef also served some of his signature dishes for this event such as Truffle-infused Roast Chicken, Soy-glazed Braised Chicken and Tofu Bao, and Sacher Torte with Hazelnut Cream. Speaking about these food festivals, the chef adds that he enjoys them as much as the guests as he gets a chance to play around with these recipes. “People in Hyderabad love food and they are ever-ready to explore new destinations. I think that is exactly why it gets interesting,” he concludes.
Chef Thimma Reddy
The executive chef of The Park Hyderabad, Thimma Reddy is all for introducing new cuisines to food enthusiasts in the city. “We’ve held several food festivals and included cuisine like Moplah, Bengali, Kashmiri and Odia. I love the regional foods of the country and with the help of these feasts, I can offer interesting elements as well,” Thimma shares. He also happens to be a believer in sustainability and tells us that while a fancy food festival is all fun and games, it is necessary to watch our carbon footprint. To be a part of the solution, he says, “We promote seasonal and local ingredients by sourcing them locally.” He also informs us that with these food events, more guests are becoming regulars at the hotel. “Some memorable dining experiences we created have to be creating age-old Nizam recipes at Aish and serving picnic lunches in guest rooms,” he recalls
Chef Ganesh Gogoi
When the executive chef of Mercure Hyderabad KCP, Ganesh Gogoi witnessed the number of people who turned up at the hotel’s Bengali food festival, he was pleasantly surprised. “When you arrange a regional food festival, it encourages people from that community to step out and indulge in their favourite dishes. I’ve seen so many people befriending each other at these events. There is a sense of belonging one experiences and that is the true beauty of these festivals,” he tells us. He further adds that this allows people to explore and try out different cuisines. “You must do your research for these grand menus. People who know their food visit and you cannot disappoint them. Recently we hosted something for Durga Puja and involved a Bengali chef to help us curate the menu,” Ganesh shares.