Girls in the kitchen

A.T.E in Delhi challenges the status quo and boasts an all-women team.
Anukriti Anand
Anukriti Anand

Anukriti Anand baked her first batch of chocolate chip muffins when she was 11 years old. It has been a love affair with chocolate ever since. The pastry kitchen is her comfort zone. Watching Nigella Lawson, Anthony Bourdain, Gordon Ramsey and Rachel Khoo inspired her on to create her own food lab-of-sorts. And Altogether Experimental or A.T.E was born.

Here avant garde food meets contemporary sustainable architecture and newfangled fashion. But what most sets A.T.E apart is its all-girls kitchen.

Led by Anand, Head Chef and Owner, the team at A.T.E wanted to challenge the status quo of girls not being in commercial kitchens. “The idea was to lead and create a fun community of talented women chefs so they could demonstrate their exemplary culinary skills without being restricted in any form. Together we create seasonal menus with locally sourced ingredients, bursting with modern flavours and textures,” says Anand.

One would think it might have been difficult to put together an all-women team. But Anand, who calls herself ‘a true gastronome at heart’, begs to differ.

“I was actually surprised how happy girls were to apply for an all-girls kitchen. I guess the notion of working in a group of similarly minded people worked out great for us and has become quite the exciting factor for girls to proactively get in touch with us,” she says.

A craft coffee bar, a scratch kitchen and a modern patisserie, A.T.E aims to create unforgettable experiences over ambrosial meals.

The café combines a carefully considered selection of in-season and locally sourced ingredients with an array of flavours and ensures that everything in the café is repurposed to be used in another dish/drink/utility.

A hideout in the middle of a busy path in Saket, Delhi, Vicky Mandal, Director and Founder at A.T.E, wanted to create a nouvelle platform that brings like-minded people together on a table, over flavourful meals and countless memories.

“Days and nights spent in our kitchen/coffee lab and research and development have yielded the most palatable slow food and dessert delights. And if that doesn’t get you, the experimental coffee menu will,” he promises.

Korean fried chicken burger
Korean fried chicken burger

Also, Anand and her team are committed to running a minimal waste kitchen and bar. For instance, used coffee grounds are not just used as compost but also utilised to make Coffee Barbeque Sauce.

Onion peels are converted into onion salt and so on. The packaging used for delivery/takeaways is made from biodegradable and compostable material that helps control carbon footprint.

“The food at our café is a step towards living a sustainable, low-impact life. We believe that a happy planet leads to a happy us and this is our tiny effort towards making the effort. In the end, what goes around comes around,” says Anand, who aims at dishing out the unexpected.

The eatery next wants to explore the discerning Gurugram palate. The lockdown was a difficult phase—given that the brand had newly opened—but Mandal and his team are not afraid to plan ahead.

“After an entire year of sailing in uncharted waters, getting a new brand back on its feet was a challenge but our kind patrons have come back and have shown their full support. We’re really confident about the potential of this brand and are sure that expanding our base is the only way to move forward. So many more experiences and never done before concepts are coming up this year,” he says.

It’s not just the all-women team or minimal-waste kitchen that is winning brownie points for this eatery. The other equally fascinating branch is the café’s collaborative approach.

Mandal elaborates, “Our aim is to weave hospitality, F&B, various areas of retail lifestyle and the entertainment industry together. All these make A.T.E stand apart from any other in the industry. For instance, we did a couple of experiential pop-ups pre-pandemic and we’re open to doing more of those this year, when times get better. We also plan on getting sustainable brands to retail at A.T.E.” Do you need any more reasons to visit?

Instagram: @altogetherexperimental 

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The New Indian Express