Travelling for food is today a reality and food related tourism is certainly at an all-time high. After all discovering a place through its food is a fun way to learn about the local nuances of a destination. We speak to eight chefs across the country to tell us their favourite food memory when they travel abroad.
Chef Sanjeev Kapoor
Whenever I travel abroad, I like to find local food and that varies with each country I visit. In fact I usually never return to the same restaurant as I feel the concept of favorite restaurant is boring. With so much choice I believe you need to try out more. Any restaurant I go to for that day becomes my favourite. Little outside of Barcelona, there is a small village which has a restaurant called El Celler de Can Roca that takes bookings 6 months in advance and we sampled a 36 course meal each paired with wine. On a recent vacation in Stockholm, I bumped into a local chef who suggested we try a meal in Volt a single Michelin star restaurant but had fantastic local food as they interpreted it so that’s what I like.
Chef Prateek Sadhu, Founder and Executive Chef – Masque
When I am in Australia I like Lee ho fook an excellent modern Chinese culinary experience and they are renowned for their innovative take on this classic cuisine. Their flavourful signature dish crispy eggplant is a personal favourite. Likewise definitely one of the best restaurant in Singapore, Burnt Ends is a wonderful modern Australian style barbecue restaurant. Casual but classy an experience at Burnt ends leaves you wanting for more. I highly recommend you watch the chefs in action via the live kitchen action where the food is fired by an apple and almond wood in a four-tonne oven. I love their King Crab and Garlic the taste of the sauce was so intense and they have really done justice to their seafood delicacy. In London I like Smokestak is known for their fantastic skills in barbecuing and smoking all kinds of foods to perfection. Their brisket bun is most arguably the finest meat preparation between bread you can get in London. In Copenhagen I like Sanchez and Amass.
Chef Ajay Chopra
Whenever I’m traveling abroad I definitely want to go and dig into the local cuisines, so most of my travel happens in South East Asia and I resort to the streets because that is where you get the best food. Whenever you go to Hong Kong you look for the best dim sums, grills, sausages and meats and then you look out for the famous restaurants by obviously taking help from friends who are locals. The third would be looking out for famous restaurants and getting the experience of those, so that’s my travel food story”
Vinesh Johny, Celebrity Pastry Chef
I have been to many restaurants. Eating, as you know, is my hobby that I can never leave behind. I have been to places that have the stars and, even some places that make insane food which aren’t yet given the position for the stars. Having traveled so much, these two restaurants that has my heart- Pelegríni in Sibinek for the team is family to me and we cooked some mad dishes together. We innovate and go crazy while cooking! Second favorite would be Restoran Jin Xuan in Malaysia that makes incredible dimsums.
Ravishankar Sharma, Executive Chef, Novotel, Ahmedabad
I visited Fiji sometime back and it was an exhilarating experience visiting this tiny gem of an island. I stayed at Marriott Resort, Momi Bay and one of my most pleasant culinary experiences happened at Fishbar restaurant which had a large variety of local seafood and grilled meats on offer. Here, you could soak in the pictorial view of the sea while enjoying the finger-licking food. One such dish that captured my attention was Kokoda. Kokoda is a traditional Fijian dish made with fresh local fish. It is served as a starter and coconut is one of the integral ingredients of the dish. It is made with fresh fish soaked in lemon or lime juice, which ‘cooks’ the fish. Kokoda is usually served in a coconut shell, bamboo or even a pineapple. I relished this summer starter and many other delicacies amidst the picturesque island.
Chef Bruno Cerdan, Executive Chef, The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore
Dubai is my favorite destination of destinations as it is almost my home away from home. The Beach Bar & Grill is a resort restaurant and bar overlooking palm island, serving classic cuisine in elegant surrounds. My most favorite dish is the Warm Lobster Bisque with garlic butter with chives. As I have traveled all around the world, nothing can change how special Lorgues is for me as I lived there most of my life. Lorgues is a place which is a commune in the Var department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region in southeastern France that is located in the middle of wineries and fields of olive trees. It is in the center of the department of the Var between the Mediterranean Sea and the Gorges du Verdon. My most favorite dish was baked potatoes with fresh truffle.
Chef Anahita N. Dhondy, Chef Partner, SodaBottleOpenerWala Cyber Hub Gurgaon
A small little place in Sevilla Spain called Bodeguita Romero is my favourite. When Chefs travel, the agenda is pretty simple – food! So other than only checking out fine dining restaurants you need to visit local places as well. This one was recommended by a taxi driver for the best Tapas. I loved everything there but most importantly, loved the fact that they only used local Spanish ingredients and promoted them highly, the same philosophy is followed at SodaBottleOpenerWala. The best were croquettes and zucchini blossoms with honey. Bodeguita Romero is more than 70 years old and was first opened by Don Antonio Romero Hijón in 1939.
Garima Arora, Chef & Co-Owner, Gaa Bangkok
It has got to be Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark. I was there earlier this year with my husband for the seafood menu. I was especially blown away by the use of a lacto-fermented quince to squeeze over clams instead of lime. I know that they have been working on this for a very long time and the result was stunning and so incredibly clever. It is the level of thought they put into every dish that makes Noma so special. Not only that, every single thing in that restaurant is well thought out and considered, from the tableware to the service. This is somewhere you can keep coming back to and each time you leave feeling so happy.
This story first appeared in The Tribune dated Oct 26, 2019 here: