Today I wish to talk about two interesting happenings in the gastronomy kingdom: one which aimed to dispel darkness and create awareness while the other which thrived in (and due to) its anonymity.
The first was a culinary feast of kingly proportions organised by the ITC Group of hotels to unite the princely cuisines of India under one roof. So think of a royal family, one which has preserved its culinary secrets. I was proud to see the cuisine of the kingdom of Akheraj represented by Chef (and prince) Akshraj Jodha, a man so humble and gentle that you wouldn’t know he had royal blood. This feast was the most variety in mutton that I have ever seen cooked and presented in one meal.
The festival is on, so check out which princely state is being showcased when, and reserve a table for truly a regal meal.
The other happening relates to the very successful Delhi Secret Supper Club (DSSC). Almost two years ago, some of us around the capital received a mail from a certain ‘Stevie’ who invited us for a meal, the venue and other invitees of which weren’t known. Only upon agreeing would the rest be divulged. The mails were smartly worded and did a fab job of targeting the right people. In a city like Delhi, where the mind is starved for intelligent interactions, DSSC put together some much-talked about dinners and evenings without letting out who was organising them.
I was curious and wanted to go, and coming from me who has an invite to a new place almost daily, this was a healthy interest to evoke. Sadly, in the two years of its secret existence, not once did I manage to make their events. But each time people I knew ended up there and spoke of the fun they had had. The food and drink element was important, but the place, ambience, company and even the music can make a difference. They had it all down pat and today, the online group is massive portal for all things gastronomic. The anonymity also lent it exclusivity—people vied for a spot at their events but couldn’t use their ‘contacts’ to get one; you were either in or just weren’t cool enough.
Recently, a certain Shreya Soni revealed her identity as the person behind Stevie (always a woman behind a man’s success). Some knew her, but now many knew of her. I was impressed with what she’d managed to pull off—secrecy in a field where every online blogger or writer is craving recognition either by insulting a restaurant or by throwing their weight on every visit. The discipline and demeanour required for DSSC’s silent endeavour is laudable.
Also, it’s hard enough to organise events in the city, but to have to do it through your team (many of who didn’t know who they were working for) and then achieve flawless execution would require precision and direction at par with an Mi5 undertaking. Stevie, I mean Shreya, has won my thunderous applause. It took me a few months to meet her (I am yet to attend a DSSC evening) but for now, her success precedes her, one which stemmed forth from anonymity. The writer is a sommelier. firstname.lastname@example.org