THIS Monday, the otherwise staid auditorium of the Dr. Ambedkar Institute of Hotel Management Catering and Nutrition, housed in Sector 42, not less than a television studio. If you haven’t visited a set, especially those shooting for culinary shows, this was the perfect place to catch the action. Thick pots stood on multiple burners with liquids bubbling away in them, the flavors floating around everywhere as multiple hands sifted, sifted, chopped and sliced an array of ingredients. A camera captured close-ups of the dishes and projected them onto a large screen.
Directing this kind of food orchestra was a man who literally towered over them. Meet Chef Manav Suri. The well-traveled and experienced chef, who has previously worked with hotel chains such as the Taj, ITC Group and Marriott, gave a special demonstration on the art of food plating and styling for the institute’s students. While he owns and manages the popular Gusto Café and Restaurant that serves a mouth-watering mix of Mediterranean dishes, the chef chose Italian cuisine for this presentation.
“I wanted to show a five-course menu and show that Italian dishes are more than just pasta,” said the chef whose menu for the day included gourmet dishes such as marinated mushrooms with balsamic glaze, parmesan crackers, ossobucco alla milanese (lamb shank) with risotto, basil pesto, arancini balls and banana panna cotta. “I think taste buds everywhere have evolved now and as chefs you are always adapting menus and the latest dish. I wanted to demonstrate an essential technique for Italian cooking today,” said Suri.
As he prepared the dishes, the chef patiently explained each step as eager students scribbled notes in their diaries. From what kinds of cuts go with vegetables in Italian dishes to teaching the art of making a chicken roulade, the chef guided the students through each dish.
“It’s very important to practice and also to improve your skills,” said the chief whose demonstration lasted six hours. Emphasizing the need to familiarize yourself with different ingredients, the chef introduced the class to mascarpone cheese, kosher salt, and arborio rice. The latter is Italian short grain rice that makes for a luscious risotto that the chef is also rustling. “Be sure to put butter in the risotto when the burner is off,” he said, peppering his dish with helpful tips.
Bharti Tyagi, director of the institute, said: “Such workshops provide students with a unique out-of-the-box exposure that helps raise their awareness about the latest trends in modern gastronomy.”