Adding punch to Indian food... #AddaWithKalyan

With Michael Swamy & Anirudhya Roy

Think of the times when you made plans to go out on a special occasion when someone suggested and Indian restaurant and you responded saying 'but that's just Indian food!""

Restaurateurs in India have a real tough task to upsell Indian food and to take it to the rarefied realms of modern fine dining. Indian diners are loath in most cases to pay top dollar for Indian food. Most of us don't find it special enough for that.

However, there are people in India and in markets such as London who are making an effort to present Indian food in a more modern context and giving it a sense of grandeur.

In this week's #AddaWithKalyan I speak to three people who have been doing seminal work in this area.

Le Cordon Bleau trained Michael Swamy who is one of the earliest food stylists in India. Anirudhya Roy, executive chef of Taj Land's end who is trying to bring alive heritage Indian recipes in his Masala Bay. And chef Manish Mehrotra of the very exciting Indian Accent of Delhi which is now heading to New York.

You can watch the video below:

Please write in the comment section below or mail me at on what you would like to see next here and whom you would like us to invite to the adda.


suvro said…
1) There is 7+ blank space in the beginning. That should be edited out.
2) Images of Michael Swamy's stylized food photos should be absolutely necessary.
3) Obviously the technical kinks need to be ironed out.
Kalyan Karmakar said…
We had edited that out. Let me see which version has gone up. Seems to be multiple files uploaded
Kalyan Karmakar said…
have updated and put the edited one up Suvro, thanks for pointing out
Hi Kalyan, nice discussion, you did an excellent job. It's reassuring to hear from such eloquent restaurant owners that tradition and nostalgia will always be the usp of Indian food.
Would love to see some discussion regarding molecular gastronomy as many chefs in India have embraced it for years now. Especially things like chaat and golgappa or kulfi are such obvious items to have caught the fancy of molecuar gastronomy chefs.
Kalyan Karmakar said…
thank you Smi. Very kind of you. Yes, molecular is one area which would be interesting to see from the point of view of creators and diners. very good idea. noted
suvro said…
I think there is another reason why Indians in India may not yet be ready to spend big bucks on Indian food.
If you look at the cultures in Spain, or HongKong or China - the availability of local food at cheap prices in the major cities has been woven into the culture for a long time. Spaniards go out bar hopping from 8pm to well after midnight. Similarly the food culture in many Southeast Asian cities (and I will add Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Seoul, Tokyo to this list) has been to eat out often starting from breakfast, all the way to past-midnight food to tame the alcohol!
In contrast the Indian food culture had not developed sufficient outside sources, and cheap sources, for eating out often. In Kolkata the Bengali cuisine was restricted to home cooking. Only in the last 10-20 years has it shown up in places like Aheli, Bhojohori Manna, 6 Ballygunj Place, Kewpies.
So when people think about spending extra money for food, they naturally don't think about going out somewhere special for Bengali/Indian food.
However, things that you don't make at home - say phuchka, chaats, rolls, etc. - cheap street food - I see most Indians wanting to go out and eat that, rather than make at home.
The food culture is changing, but it will take time.