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Culinary explorers who tell stories

These men love food as much as they love sports and gadgets. And this love is what inspired them to start their own food blogs, to write and share their tales about eating and cooking. Svetlana Lasrado talks to three renowned bloggers about their delicious memories and favourite recipes.

Published: 23rd June 2014 08:06 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd June 2014 08:06 AM   |  A+A-

CULINARY

Kalyan Karmakar

Finelychopped.net

Kalyan is a full-time food writer who loves travelling to experience food.

How did you get an interest in cooking?

I have always loved food. When I grew up in Kolkata, my mother never let me into the kitchen. So it was only when I got married that I started cooking at home. It was more out of necessity as we couldn’t afford to eat out every day.

Your first dish?

The first dish was nothing fancy. I whipped up a simple dish of chicken curry using some ready-mix masala.

Your biggest influence?

My father. He was very famous for his cooking. He passed away when I was very young, but I always wanted to live up to him and his cooking.

Earliest food memory

When I was holidaying in England when I was around two-and-a-half or three years old, I came across a dish called the Black Pudding on a hotel menu. I was hesitant, but the waitress prodded me to taste it. And it was amazing.

How and when did you start your blog?

I started my blog seven years ago. As I said, I have always loved food. So I had a strong point of view on food, restaurant and recipes. Often, people used to ask me for recommendations or recipes. Given this, it was my wife who encouraged me to start the blog.

What do you like and dislike about food blogging?

I have met many people through my blog and have made some really good friends. The blog is also an outlet for me to express my views, so it is creatively fulfilling. The only grouse I have is that blogging has been commercialized. There are now people who invite you to attend events and once you attend them, you are ‘obligated’ to write good things. I do not like this marketisation of blogging.

Interesting anecdote

I interact with my readers through blog comments or on social media. The most interesting thing is when I travel to a new place, people from that city tweet, saying they would want to meet me. It s really heartening to know that people from different places read my blog.

Apart from blogging?

I recently quit my job to focus on food and travel writing. I write food columns for some publications and conduct my food walks called ‘Finely Chopped Food Walks’. The food walks started when I took two friends around Mumbai. My readers wrote in asking if I could arrange something like that even for them. This is how the idea was born.

Your favourite offbeat restaurants in the city..

Veena Stores for the much-recommended idli , vada and puliyogre. I also love the dosa you get here in Bangalore. For dosas, I like visiting MTR, Sri Krishna or CTR.

Advice for aspiring bloggers

Just remember, it is the sheer experience of writing and meeting people that should inspire you. If you have the passion, the blog will evolve over time.

What do you like to cook?

I love cooking Asian food like hakka noodles, rice, etc. I also enjoy grilled food and Bengali food.

Adarsh Munjal

thebigbhookad.blogspot.in

A Mumbai-based digital media professional, Adarsh juggles his work and his passion for food writing.

Earliest food memory?

As a child, I would wake up in the morning and ask my mother, “Aaj khane mein kya hai?” This was what I grew up saying and in memory of that, I have used this line in my blog as well.

My earliest memory is of my mother making Kanda poha. She used to spice it up and experiment with it. Sometimes, she used to add aloo and sometimes roasted peanuts.

How and when did you start your blog?

It was my wife, Snehsha who had actually recommended that I start a food blog, four years ago.  I used to always irritate her with my food talks.

But it was just an idea then. To test the waters, I wrote a short food piece and messaged 25 friends on Facebook and only if I received 20 replies, I would go ahead with the idea of starting the blog. To my surprise, all 25 replied and the response was very good.

This encouraged me to start the blog and over the years it has evolved a lot- from restaurant reviews, write-ups about cuisines and chefs to food walks.

What do you like and dislike about food blogging?

The blog gives me all the freedom to express my opinion and be as honest as I can. The only downside is that people don’t understand that food is very subjective. What I like, somebody may not.

An anecdote..

I use social media a lot to talk to my audience. On Twitter, I share place recommendations, I use Instagram to showcase food pictures and Facebook to give a glimpse into my personal and professional life.

I have engaged with a lot of people on these platforms. But the most interesting thing that happened to me was when a popular blogger, that I used to admire, walked up to me and said that

she was a big fan of my work and she wanted to work with me for projects. This was very encouraging.

Your favourite offbeat restaurants in the city

You cannot stay in Bangalore and not visit MTR. I also love visiting The Only Place. Apart from this, I love the ambience at Black Pearl. It has three levels and resembles a pirate bay with anchors, statues of pirates, etc.

Advice for aspiring

bloggers

Don’t be hesitant about starting your own food blog. Recognise your skills and be ambitious.

What do you like to cook?

I mostly enjoy cooking breakfasts. My favourite has to be the omelette. You can make it in so many different ways and stuff it with what you want, like cheese, ham and vegetables.

Nitin Kandhari

reviewofrestaurants.blogspot.in

Nitin is a part-time food blogger and full-time corporate professional based in Bangalore

Earliest food memory?

My father had introduced me to idli and mutton curry when I was in school. This is my fondest food memory.

How and when did you start your blog?

It was always on my mind as I wanted to document and share my food experiences. Even before

the blog went live in October

2012, I had written a few reviews.

What do you like and dislike about food blogging?

I love trying out new types of food and cuisines. Having a blog allows me to do that. It always pushes me to do new things. There is also a lot of learning involved as you get to meet hoteliers and other food bloggers.

I dislike plagiarism that is now very common. I recall certain instances where people copy text and pictures without giving due credit. 

Any interesting anecdote?

A reader had written to me asking for recommendations for breweries in Bangalore as a friend from abroad was visiting Bangalore for the first time.

So I wrote a piece on the best breweries in Bangalore. The reader then wrote to me saying that they had visited one of the breweries I suggested almost six times because they loved the place so much.

Your favourite offbeat

restaurants in the city

My favourite restaurant for Mutton Biryani is Al-Bek in Malleswaram. There is another small place in

the bylanes of Cubbonpet which sells Donne Biryani and Mutton Kheema Ball, which I like.

For street food, I love the food carts in Whitefield, which have everything from egg curry and chapatis to kababs.

Advice for aspiring bloggers

Your love for food should be evident in your writing.

Also, do not post half-eaten images on your blog and don’t indulge in plagiarism.

Do you cook?

I usually don’t cook. But I love Mexican food and would like to cook a full-fledged Mexican meal someday.

More from Bengaluru.

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