MY 7000 MILE CULINARY JOURNEY
August 08, 2014
REFLECTIONS ON THE RECENT FOODIE MOVIE - THE HUNDRED -FOOT JOURNEY
The Hundred - Foot Journey
Producers: Juliet Blake, Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg
Director: Lasse Hallstrom”
Based on story : Richard Morais
Starring: Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal, Charlotte Le Bon
Music : AR Rahman
Photo : juliet Blake/facebook
Amazing cast and producers of the movie
Photo :Juliet Blake/facebook
Music director AR Rahman and producer Juliet Blake
I was honored to be invited by the Washington Post for the advanced prescreening of the movie - The Hundred - Foot Journey. In my opinion, this is an outstanding movie. Very entertaining, well researched and the food shots make your mouth salvitate. Having personally worked in both French and Indian kitchens, I felt it was a very good representation of both.
With Actor Om Puri at the National Geographic reception and advanced screening.
with the Producer Juliet Blake at the National Geogrpahic, Washington DC
This movie took me back to my days in New Delhi, as a fresh graduate of Hotel Management I joined the Ashok Hotel as chef trainee; I had an opportunity to work under the Master French Chef Roger Moncourt, who introduced French cuisine to India. In the year 1983, I had the proud privilege of opening a French Restaurant called Burgundy under the tutelage of Chef Moncourt .There are so many scenes in the movie that bring back fond memories; However, I do not want to go on to describe each one of them as many of you have not seen the movie yet.
With my mentor (late) Chef Roger Moncourt at Burgundy Restaurant, New Delhi
One classic test for a new cook in a French kitchen was to see how good of an omelette one could make. In this movie, the omelette looked delectable with the addition of green chilies and cilantro, making it a "masala omelette". I still can remember the emphasis given on making the omelette at the right temperature, right shape (half moon shape etc), how to beat the eggs with a fork in a circular motion and so on and so forth.... I think the movie has depicted these scenes very well. I understand that my friend Chef Floyd Cardoz played a big role ... Kudos to him.
Chef Floyd Cardoz at Indique in Cleveland Park, Washington DC
1985 - Festival of India - Smithsonian Institution - Washington DC
The Indian kitchen in the movie was also well shown with the 'Tandoors', 'Thalis' and display of the old spice boxes passed on from generations. This reminded me of my 7479 mile culinary journey from New Delhi to Washington DC in 1985 along with the 'Tandoors' (drum tandoors) that I brought with me to the Smithsonian Institution to organize the Festival of India.
In the movie actress Helen Mirren plays a fabuluos role as the proprietor of a michelin star french restaurant. One of the scenes that took me back many years was the making of the five basic mother sauces; particulary the making the mayonnaise from scratch. Believe it or not, we used to make it by hand - No kitchen aids or mixers, just bare hands. Yes you read it right - just bare hands. These were made in fairly large quantities, and needless to say - going to the gym was not required, as this was a very vigorous task.
Above: With the former First Lady of France, Madame Pompidou, when she visited India.
Now comparing the two cuisines - The French and Indian - French have their cooking techniques, standardized recipes, subtle sauces etc while Indian cooking is diverse, not standardized, and influenced by other cultures, regions, traditions that have swept across India over the centuries. I feel no clash or competition between these two great culinary traditions! Rather,I feel that knowledge of both cuisines enhances the talent base of the Chef and presents a richer more diverse offering to the foodie.Indeed at Indique we have offered variety of traditional indian dishes that are influenced by French techniques.
Flambéd 'Gulab Jamun' at Indique in Cleveland Park.
I would highly recommend that you see this movie! Bring back your movie stub to Indique and enjoy a Gulab Jamun Flambé on us with your dinner.Try a "Masala Omelette" at recently introduced "Bottomless Sunday Brunch at Indique.
BOTTOMLESS BRUNCH - EVERY SUNDAY - 11 AM TO 3 PM - $ 24.00