New Delhi: Celebrity chef Maria Goretti says she is “happy to see that the world has finally woken up to Indian tastes”. She adds: “We are this melting pot of various cuisines, various tastes, and various flavours and the world has not yet seen all that India has to offer.”
IANSlife spoke to Goretti who recently collaborated with The Doers Club by Dewar’s to co-curate a gourmet food and drinks experience called ï¿½East India Bottle Masala and Double Aged Scotch’.
Tell us more about your collaboration with Dewar’s.
Goretti: I have been talking with Dewar’s about the dinner for quite some time. We started the conversation when I came back from Paris in 2018 but the entire year I was travelling, so somehow everything keeps getting postpone and I always feel that there is a perfect time for everything and everything does fall into place and I guess this was a perfect time and finally Dewar’s, me being the East Indian and my east Indian bottle masala found a place to cook for The Doers Club at the sidecar. So me and my team – the travelling chefs, we had the most amazing time being part of this association.
What are you looking forward to with this project?
Goretti: I am looking forward to introducing my East Indian cuisine to the people of Delhi blending it with The Dewar’s Double scotch for double flavour. East Indian cuisine belongs to only Bombay, we are a small Catholic community that lives on the coast- mostly farmers, landowners and fisher folks.
Our cuisine is an old cuisine that if not promoted and not introduced to others, it will probably die and I am really happy that I got this opportunity with the Doers club to bring my palette out to introduce it to a lot more people and I am really excited about doing this little more often.
How did you get into cooking?
Goretti: I never thought I would be doing what I am doing right now because I had to feed my kids (laughs) so I had to learn how to cook. As people say that necessity is the mother of all invention. I had to learn from basic how-to boil rice, how to make roti, a French toast, perfectly boiled eggs along with many other things and somewhere down the line, I found cooking so interesting that in 2010 I joined Sapphires and did 1 year of baking with them. Then I joined Tante Marie Working in London, I studied boulangï¿½re cuisine and bakery. I spent a complete year in travelling from Bombay to Paris and Bombay to London.
I am a certified pastry chef from Le Cordon Bleu, Paris and London because I broke my journey and went to two places. I have been cooking since 2011. Earlier, I did it slowly because of my kids who were much younger but I think now I am ready to go out and do this a little more often and I am very excited about it.
How would you define your love for cooking?
Goretti: It’s passionï¿½ pure passion!
What are the three ingredients that are a must in your kitchen?
Goretti: Three ingredients must in the kitchen are garlic, butter and my East Indian bottle masala.
What’s your favourite food/dish?
Goretti: My favourite cuisines are Kerala cuisine, Bengali cuisine, Kashmiri food, Thai, Ethiopian cuisine Hungarian. So basically, I love food because it’s very difficult to choose.
How do you manage to combine nutrition and taste in a dish?
Goretti: It’s difficult to combine nutrition and taste in a dish with kids, but most of the time I am very clear what I want to eat. I am not somebody who eats terribly unhealthy. I keep my food very simple as I have a big sweet tooth, if I am eating sweets, then I try to eat simple food nothing heavy.
My food is the combination of my skill set which is French and my taste which is Indian and East Indian. I try to be healthy and try to strike a good balance between healthy and everyday normal.
How do you see the future of the Indian F&B industry?
Goretti: I am happy to see that the world has finally woken up to Indian tastes and curry is now the most famous word in the world. I am happy about that, I think India has as many cuisines as it has languages, ethnicities and people. We are this melting pot of various cuisines, various tastes, and various flavours and the world has not yet seen all that India has to offer.
I believe this is a good time for us as Indians as world look towards us as a place of flavour, place of excitements, robustness and we have just touched the tip of the iceberg, they have not seen what India is capable of and I know we have a lot to offer.
Cooking as a profession — how do you think people’s perception has changed over time?
Goretti: I think we are living in a beautiful time, like when I was younger, everyone was getting into banking, becoming a model, actor, there were very few who were saying they want to go to the moon but today I hear a lot more people who say I want to grow up and become a chef.
I think one of the main reasons will be all the TV shows that we have makes it look more glamorous and everybody wants to be a chef but it’s a lot of hard work and a lot of sweat and blood goes behind that one tiny dish a chef makes and then somebody makes faces while eating itï¿½ It’s like ouch, hurts badly. But I am pretty happy about the change.
What food trends do you see in 2020?
Goretti: It will be very difficult for me to answer because I don’t know what food trends are but what I see is getting a little healthier, people are more conscious about ketogenic, gluten-free, vegan food. People are going towards vegetarianism which I think is lovely, having said that I am not vegetarian at all but do find it a healthier way to live.
At home, I do eat a lot more vegetarian food that I eat out. When I step out of the house, I remind myself that the world is the oysterï½ you have to taste everything. But I think the world is moving toward a place where there is a lower carbon footprint, localised food yet we all know food has no boundaries as such so food trends according to me would be veering towards a healthier lifestyle.
March 17 (IANS)