YI’s unique Dining in the Dark fills us with empathy and urges to act for the visually challenged

In our 90-minute-of-life-in-darkness, we were served a perfectly prepared five-course menu that did heighten our olfactory senses and taste buds

author_img Farah Khatoon Published :  28th May 2022 11:56 AM   |   Published :   |  28th May 2022 11:56 AM
Dining in the Dark

Glimpse of the gourmet spread at Dining in the Dark at JW Marriott Kolkata

A deluge of emotions filled the room and dominated the dining space when we parked ourselves in JW Marriott Kolkata for a one-of-a-kind Dining in the Dark experience. Thrill and excitement of this novelty was quickly replaced by fear and anxiety as we made our way from a perfectly lit room to a pitched dark set up. The unique gastronomical experience that unfolded in front of us marked by zero visibility had an altruistic nature. It introduced us all diners to the world of physically challenged individuals whose life is engulfed in similar darkness.

Vaibhav Soni, Chair, Young Indians (YI), Kolkata Chapter remarks, “India shares 50 percent of the burden of blind population and surprisingly a large percentage is avoidable if medical intervention is provided at the right time.” Continuing the young leader who has embarked on a mission to give healthy eyesight to visually challenged in India says, “For YI it started out as a simple event but has now taken shape as a Mission Good Vision which is the focus of our health vertical this year. With this vertical we have already checked over 10,000 people, provided spectacles to more than 4000 people and operated 275 people for cataract free of cost in March ’22. We further aim at achieving 1 million tests this year.”

In our 90-minute-of-life-in-darkness, we were served a perfectly prepared five-course menu that did heighten our olfactory senses and taste buds. With the two dependable senses at our disposal we savoured the meal that started off with a Burrata salad topped with mangoes and avocado. While the appetizer was easy to guess, the other dishes that followed made us play the ‘guess what’s on your plate’ game. With its crispy yet soft texture and chocolaty flavour Valrhona Chocolate, potato muffins, chilli infused peanut butter blast had us confused. Pan seared semolina, Chimichurri Peru asparagus rocoto pepper and leek and scallion aspic scored big while the Italian delicacy Herb and parmesan dust venezolano risotto bar and glaze carrot and pea puree made us finish it off from plates. And while dining in pitch darkness, we struggled picking up cutlery and morsel from the plate, at times spilled food on ourselves and dreaded being seen as clumsy individuals. 

All these things and the inspiring and thoughtful speech by the special invitee Mohammed Asif Iqbal, a visually challenged man who rose above his limitations made the evening and the mission worthwhile. 

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