Varli Singh is ready to set the flames along with the Master chef Sanjeev Kapoor in upcoming event Varli Food Festival in New Jersey on September 10. Sanjeev Kapoor reveals the secrets of cooking in an interview with Urban Asian.
Varli Singh, Founder of the VARLI Brand launched Varli Food Festival in 2011 with a sold-out event in New York City. Since then, she continues to discover new and innovative ways to promote Indian food to the community. She also introduced an exclusive kid only festival in 2013. This year Varli Food Festival 2017 will be featuring over 40 restaurants catering to the foodie market in the tri-state area.
“I’m so excited to invite people to this year’s Varli Food Festival as it’s the first time we are doing it outside. It’s an honor to host such renowned chefs and entrepreneurs under our brand name. It’s a dream to have created the Varli Food Festival as each event gets me closer to my vision for changing the landscape of Indian Food” says VARLI Brand Founder, Varli Singh.
This year’s Varli Food Festival will feature over 40 Indian restaurants, celebrities, and chefs from around the world. Tasting stations will showcase food demonstrations, cooking techniques as well as food samples, wine, and desserts. Masterchef Sanjeev Kapoor known for his popular TV show Khana Khazana will have his own Cooking station at the event. Kapoor along with Chef KN Vinod will be judging the Varli Cook Off competition where chefs race against time to create the most delicious cuisine.
“Foods of India cannot have better platform than USA as it continues to lead the world in many ways. Varli has been consistently at the forefront of giving Indian food and its chefs a place of pride at global level” says Masterchef Sanjeev Kapoor.
The Varli Food Festival will also celebrate the launch of Ricky’s Nationwide – Food Service Distribution.
Tickets to the Food Festival range from $20 – $45. More information on Varli Food Festival and ticket purchase options can be found on: http://www.varlifoodfestival.com/
About VARLI Brand: Varli’s mission is to serve as the ultimate guide to great Indian dining, and to significantly raise people’s awareness and appreciation for Indian cuisine around the world. Sanjeev Kapoor reveals the secrets of cooking in an interview with Urban Asian.
How do you feel about Indian cuisine being so popular in the western world?
Indian food is very well accepted in the world today and that obviously makes me very happy, but there is still a long way to go before people across the globe realize exactly how fabulous Indian food is. My dream is to make it the number 1. cuisine in the world.
Where does the inspiration come from when you cook?
I have an open mind, travel and observe a lot, taste everything on my way, am ready to learn from anyone and can never be bound by scripted recipes – so inspiration for me comes from anything. Nature and fresh ingredients never fail to inspire and create the urge to experiment in the kitchen.
If you would have to cook for the first date, what would you cook?
Indian of course!
Spice was not as popular in the western world as it is today. Do you think there is a co-relation between the food, culture, and vegetation?
Spices don’t mean just chilli and heat. Different spices have different flavours and aromas which people are learning to appreciate and enjoy the right way.
As for the relation between food, culture and vegetation – they have had a super strong bond since the times of evolution. The vegetation, climatic condition and availability of resources for food literally shape the culture of a place and this reflects brilliantly in Indian cuisine. Travel across the length and breadth of the country and you will encounter a distinct diversity of tastes and spices. While wheat is a staple in the northern, western and central states, rice predominates in the south and east. Heady aromas of saffron and anise welcome you to Kashmir, a whiff of curry leaves tempered in coconut oil makes you feel at home in Kerala. If a diverse preparation of pulses interests you in Rajasthan, the magnificent variety of fish in the Bengal will enthrall you. Geography has any impact on the development of a people’s food, India has surely benefitted from this, as it has come up with one of the richest and most diverse cuisines in the world.
Dining out was not popular 20 years ago in India. Give us your favorite experience as a today’s diner in India and abroad.
The dining out experience in India is evolving by the minute, even as we talk. 20 years ago eating out was limited to special occasions and celebrations. Today it is a part of your weekly routine. The purchasing power of people in major metros and tier II cities has increased, as has the exposure and willingness to experiment. This change in attitude and lifestyle coupled with the availability of concepts like pop ups, restaurant weeks and degustation menus makes it possible for people to enjoy the fine dining experience without burning a large hole in their pockets. There is so much that is being offered, it is but natural for people to go out and experience it!
The most popular street food is Kulcha Chola. Why is the recipe for that bread has never been shared by any of the well know chefs? Or is it almost impossible to get the recipe for it?
No recipe is impossible to get. There is a fair bit of technique that goes into making authentic kulche, but will find great kulcha recipes on sanjeevkapoor.com and my youtube channel – sanjeevkapoorkhazana. Take a look.
What is the difference between Fusion Indian food and Innovative Indian food?
Fusion food is bringing together influences and flavors from two or more different cuisines to create a whole new dish together – which is what ‘New World Cuisine’ really is. Fusion is something that has been created as a result of culinary globalization and increased cultural interaction through media and travel. As for innovative Indian food, it simply means serving classic Indian food in a new avatar – the flavors remain true to how it was originally meant to be, cooking technique and presentation might change. It’s Indian food in a contemporary avatar.
What do you crave for when you are abroad?
I love sampling local cuisines of the places I visit, so there really are no cravings as such.
What are some of your favorite herbs that you would feel the dish is incomplete without them?
Depends upon what dish is being cooked.
“Healthy eating” doesn’t really seemed to fit with Indian Cuisine and lot of chef’s focus on taste and plating style. Why so?
People have several misconceptions regarding what’s healthy for your system and what’s not – breaking such food myths is the best thing we as chefs can do give our cuisine its due. It is a myth that Indian food isn’t healthy, in fact, it is one of the most well balanced and nutritious cuisines in the world. Taste, plating, and nutrition are the most important criteria for a good meal. What is healthy doesn’t have to be bland or boring and vice versa. Food you eat should nourish and satisfy all your senses, rather than just one or two of them.
You will be judging at Varli Food Festival. Is there any tips for the contestants?
Believe in what you are doing. Cook with all your heart and don’t forget to have a good time while you are at it!