Kolkata-based chef Urvika Kanoi's culinary workshops are cooking up a storm

Acclaimed chef Urvika Kanoi hosts practical culinary workshops at The Food Studio, with a view to shake things up in the city’s gastro scene
Chocolate Souffle by The Food Studio
Chocolate Souffle by The Food Studio

If you’re a gourmand residing in Kolkata, you must have come across The Food Studios’ useful workshops. From bread making to wok cooking and even baking high tea treats, acclaimed chef and Cordon Bleu graduate Urvika Kanoi’s luxury gourmet catering company has been hosting some fantastically curated workshops to help folks become more evolved gastronomes.

“We are the only catering company to feature 30 different kinds of cuisines. Back in 2014, when I first started off, people weren’t exactly very open to newer concepts. Their palette was not limited, of course, so I wanted to see how a gourmet catering business would do. How we would fare at a farmer’s market, and how the masses will respond. And we now see that they are very open to exploring,” says Urvika, who has worked all over the world, from London to Mumbai.

<em>A bakery workshop hosted by The Food Studio</em>
A bakery workshop hosted by The Food Studio

Urvika, whose other brainchild was the Park Street gastropub Bodega Cantina-Y-Bar, tells us that the crowds of people showing up for her food workshops have been massively diverse. “We have had teenagers, adults, homemakers, lawyers, doctors, people from different industries... People who wanted to cook for their partners, or for their kids,” the chef tells us. The most thoughtful of The Food Studio’s workshops are definitely the College Cooking 101 sessions, which are aimed at college kids, who are leaving home for the first time.

<em>A tiered chocolate cake at The Food Studio</em>
A tiered chocolate cake at The Food Studio

“I studied abroad, and I know exactly how hard it gets. We don’t want to spend money on groceries, and we don’t want anything that needs more than 10 minutes of our time. Those classes have been really fun, teaching our students how to make a basic fried rice, or how to use things that are lying in the fridge,” says Urvika, who dropped out of film school when she realised her passion for food, and decided to join Le Cordon Bleu, London.

<em>Asian cooking workshop the food studio</em>
Asian cooking workshop the food studio

The chef also walked us through the process of her workshops, held at the AJC Bose Road studio. The Food Studio hosts two different kinds of sessions — there are daylong demo classes, and then there are hands-on workshops, which can go on for two to three days. “In the workshops, whatever we teach, you make at your station as well. It’s very interactive, and people take home what they make. For breads and dim sums, for instance, you need to practice in front of me, or I will not be able to help,” she adds.

<em>Assorted baos from The Food Studio</em>
Assorted baos from The Food Studio

Urvika also tells us that she really wants Kolkata to catch up on the farm-to-table trend, which is an improvement to the healthy eating movement, where eateries serve locally sourced food directly acquired from the producer or the farm. “Millennials are minimal people, and the hipster food scene is yet to really take wing in the city. Sienna and 8th Day Cafe (both South Kolkata joints) are doing a great job, and this city really understands sustainable and organic eating. So, I hope this grows, because we have really messed up the planet,” Urvika signs off.

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