Events

Sips and Suppers 2014

Sunday Night Suppers is a $600/- per head dinner organzied by Chef Alice Waters, Chef Jose Andres and cookbook author Joan Nathan to benefit the DC Central Kitchen  and Martha's table. The dinners are held in small groups of 20-25 in private homes around Washington DC. Each dinner is hosted by two chefs and about 25-30 dinners are held simultaneously. Chefs are invited from different parts of the country .

This year, I was once again honored to be invited to host one of these dinners along with Chef Daniel Asher from Linger and Root down restaurants, Denver, Colorado. A huge thanks to Maggie and Marcus Farley for opening up their home for us.

I am so glad to hear that this years events raised $500,000/- for the DCCK and Martha's table. Here are some pictures from the events and also the list of Chefs who participated in the event.

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  This is from the Sips event held on the 25th at the Newseum where guest paid $95/- per head to taste from the top restaurants of Washington DC.

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Our day started on Saturday morning with a trip to the White house. Chef Bill Yosses briefing the chefs.

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 Irrespective of the number of times that you have been to the White house it is always a great feeling!

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This is first lady Michelle Obama's kitchen garden during the peak of winter and here is a shot below of how it looks during summer! 

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 Inside the White House kitchen Chef Bill Yosses chatting with the chefs.

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Chef Bill Yosses came to greet and escort us. It is such a pleasure to know him. It is always very enlightening to spend some time with Bill.He is such a wealth of knowledge ; sometimes I wonder if he is a chef or a historian? 

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 Maryland Rockfish, lobster koftas, coconut - kokum sauce, microgreens- lemon grass vinaigrette.

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Chef Daniel Asher finishing the third course - Flight of Pickled and Fermented Edibles with Anchovy pear Kimchi, Calendula flower Sauerkraut, Pickled beets and kale, fax pumpkin seed crisps.

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Chef Bala and Daniel plating the 36 hour Braised Aspen Short Rib with Crispy Brussels, Butternut celeriac puree and poached pastured Egg.

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 With the gracious hostess Maggie Farley and Chef Daniel Asher of Denver, Colorado.IMG_7072

With chef Carla Hall at the after party.

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 with Alice Waters at the brunch hosted by Joan Nathan at her residence.

IMG_7025At Joan Nathan's residence with the renowned cook book Author Nathalie Dupree

Overall it was a great experience interacting with such knowledgeable chefs.It is really wonderful to know that that one of my favorite institutions DC Central Kitchen and Martha's Table will benefit from these charity events.On behalf of all the Chefs, would like to thank each one you who came and supported this great event. My special thanks to Chef Bala and my team at Indique. 

Thank you Jose Andres, Joan Nathan and Alice Waters! 

 


Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2013


     We are honored and humbled to be invited by the Smithsonian Institution again to take part in this year's Folklife Festival. It was in 1985 that I first came to this country from India to organize the Festival of India and it always brings back nostalgic memories. Since then my associates and I have been very fortunate to participate in several Folklife Festivals organized by the Smithsonian.

WHAT IS SMITHSONIAN'S FOLKLIFE FESTIVAL ?

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival is an international exposition of living cultural heritage annually produced outdoors on the National Mall of the United States in Washington, D.C., by the Smithsonian Institution's Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. Read more....

When : June 26 - June 30
July 3 - July 7, 2013
2013 Festival Programs:
Hungarian Heritage
Roots to Revival
One World, Many Voices :Endangered languages and cultural Heritage
The Will to Adorn :African
American Diversity, Style and Identity
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AHAAR - A TASTE OF INDIA - at the Smithsonian's Folklife Festival is brought to you by Indique and Indique Heights Restaurants. The Menu is limited to five items as per the recent national Park regulations. Chicken Tikka Makhani platter, Veg Combo consiting of Saag Makai and Alu Chole served with Basmati Rice pilaf. The two street snacks on the Menu are Papri Chaat and Jhal Muri from the eastern region of India. To beat the heat we are also serving chilled Kingfisher Beer, plenty of Mango Lassi and Nimbu Paani (lemonade)
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Above : Saba Rahman
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Above : Rathi Vinod 
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Above : Mrs. Nisha Vinod
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Left to Right : Ms. Nandita Madan, Mr. Surfy Rahman, Mrs. Nisha Vinod, Mrs. Madhavi Rahman
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Above : My Mom Mrs. Pushpavathy Narayanan and Executive Chef S.Balamurugan
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Some of the Hungarian exhihits at the Folklife Festival
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Yours truly
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At the Cooking demonstration pavillion - Folklife Festival
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At the dance studio - Folklife Festival 2013
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Various Exhibhitors 
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Basket weaving at the Folklife Festival
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My mom trying out one of the Hungarian Hats.
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Rolling pins galore!
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The dance studio at the national mall - Folklife festival 2013
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My mom checking out the Folklife Festival.....
Come back here, for more pictures when the festival reopens on July 3rd. Come and see us at the Festival. Bring your families and show the kids around. It is always very interesting to learn about different countrries, cultures etc. Till I post again Adios!
Photographs : K.N.Vinod
source : Smithsonian Institution.
twitter:@kvinod

South India delights with Chef Vinod


Get off the beaten path, explore in depth the rich culinary traditions of south India. Come, Join me as I take you on a culinary journey through South India.You will also have the opportunity to interact with and get culinary demonstrations from leading chefs immersed in the local culinary traditions.

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Description    

                        Join Chef Vinod on this 13 day culinary adventure to South India.  Guests will enjoy a range of delicious cuisines from Karnataka to Mughlai and Mappilla, with Chef Vinod on hand to divulge the history and secret recipes of the tempting dishes on offer.  Visit bustling local markets, enjoy a cooking class and join a local family for a traditional meal to learn more about the food and culture of this incredible region.  With plenty of time to explore the World Heritage Site of Mamallapuram, the historic city of Mysore, the beautiful Kerala backwaters and the stunning beaches of Kovalam, this tour is sure to appeal to devoted foodies, culture aficionados and interested travellers of all ages.                                                                                                                   

Tour Highlights

 

• Explore the UNESCO World Heritage site of Mamallapuram and indulge in a delicious South Indian Thali meal • See the sights of beautiful Mysore, including the bustling local market • See a traditional Kathkali dance performance and dine at the famed Malabar Junction restaurant • Experience a hands-on cooking demonstration and lunch at a local house in Cochin • Enjoy a traditional lunch as you cruise along the scenic backwaters of Kerala - See more at:

South India Delights With Chef Vinod  13 Days  

DAY 1

  16 OCT’2013 ARRIVAL IN CHENNAI & TRANSFER TO COVELONG   

                                                   On arrival at Chennai airport, your tour escort will meet you outside the customs gate and escort you in air-conditioned Indian made deluxe buses to Covelog (35km/approx 1hr drive). Overnight at Vivanta by Fisherman's Cove TaJ

DAY 2

17 OCT’2013 MAMALLAPURAM   EXCURSION

Start your morning with a trip to Mamallapuram - Its enviable position on the Coromandel Coast, facing the Bay of Bengal, guarantees that this is a popular place to stay. Spend time on the white-sand beach shaded by casuarina trees and hire a bike to pedal through the surrounding countryside but make sure you allow time to explore this wonderful open-air museum, much of which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Arjuna's Penance -Nothing can prepare you for the wonderful bas-reliefs covering two huge boulders. The exquisite detail, dating from the 7th century, depicts the flow of the Ganges down from the Himalayan mountains as well as scenes from Indian daily life. The Five Rathas You won't believe that these shrines are carved whole from an outcrop of rock. Each of the five temples is dedicated to heroes from the great epic of the Mahabharata. Spend time admiring the detail of the carvings which include gods, humans and elephants and wonder why the temples are incomplete and were never consecrated. Shore Temple Relish the delightful seaside location, overlooking the Bay of Bengal, and landscaped gardens surrounding the Shore Temple, a popular place for the locals to visit. Dedicated to both Vishnu and Shiva, the decorative beauty of the temple, built in Dravidian style, has suffered erosion by its proximity to the sea. Experience South Indian thali meals  is served in Banana leaf, it is a well balanced meal with dishes that include rice, dal, vegetables, flat breads, yoghurt, chutney, pickle, papad and a sweet dish. Chef Vinod may insists you try this by eating by your hand!!!!  Return to Hotel and relax. Evening Enjoy the fresh catch of the day cooked with Bay Spice - local peppers, coriander and tamarind. You'll relish the French seafood broth with shredded vegetable, diced seafood and a peg of tender coconut water. (B/L/ D)                                      

DAY 3

18 OCT’2013 MAMALLAPURAM – KANCHIPURAM  (65 KMS / 1.5 HRS) - KACHIPURAM – CHENNAI – BANGALORE (FLIGHT 9W 2309 1800/1835 HRS) -

Today we depart from Hotel and Drive to the impressive temple town of Kanchipuram covering a distance of 60kms in approx 1.5 hour.  Known as the Golden City of a Thousand Temples, it is one of the oldest towns in India. It is famous for both its temples and its hand-woven silks. Most of the temples are well preserved till date, which were built during 7th and 8th century AD. The prominent temples of Kanchipuram are Ekambareshwar Temple, Kamakshi Temple etc. Kanchipuram silk is famous all over the world. Visit the local homes of the weavers and watch them create magic out of silk thread into saris. Return to Chennai to catch a flight to Bangalore. Tonight Chef Vinod welcomes you to the Taj West End hotel to experience a well contemplated Anglo Indian Menu that draws inspiration from the British Raj. The fusion food that emerged during those day’s thus became a staple of the Country’s Anglo- Indian Population. Plunge back into time and indulge in a menu conceptualized with a colonial touch. (B/D)Overnight in Bangalore  -

DAY 4

19 OCT’2013 BANGALORE – MYSORE (140 KMS/3.5 HRS)

Begin with a visit to the botanical gardens at Lal Bagh conceived and laid out by Sultan Hyder Ali in 1760. His son, Tipu, expanded the gardens further planting exotic plants from Persia, Kabul, Turkey, and Mauritius (tropical and subtropical species) over 96 hectares (240 acres). Highlights include the Lawn Clock and the British-built glasshouse, structurally based on London's Crystal Palace and then drive to Mysore - You will be charmed by the faded grandeur of Mysore, the former capital of the much loved Wodeyars dynasty who reigned from the 16th century. A city rich in heritage, make sure you discover its royal palaces, sacred temples and majestic buildings but leave time to stroll through some of its many parks and gardens or along a wide leafy boulevard. Evening enjoy an exclusively designed menu by Chef Vinod that features traditional Karnataka cuisine, dinner will be a love of labor, full of nostalgic memories-a very special treat indeed!   Overnight in Mysore (B/D)   

DAY 5

Morning we visit Devaraj Market - Most colourful local market, Mysore Palace -You can't fail to be impressed by this vast palace, with its turrets, domes and arches and an opulent interior with intricately carved doors and ceilings. Wander through the luxuriously furnished rooms, once home to the royal family, and admire this treasure trove of works of art from all over the world. If you are in Mysore on a Sunday or national holiday don't miss the spectacle of the palace illuminated by thousands of light bulbs. Jaganmohan Palace -Spend time perusing the collection of 19th century paintings in this former palace. The skill of the Indian artists, using natural vegetable and mineral dyes, is extraordinary. Enjoy the traditional Mysore 'gold leaf' paintings which are on display here. Evening Head up Chamundi Hill for panoramic views of the city spread out below before exploring the exquisite hilltop temple dedicated to the goddess, Chamundi and dominated by a 40m-high gopuram (tower).  Make a short stop at the huge statue dedicated to Nandi, the bull of Lord Shiva, on the way down. This evening enjoy Mughlai food at Olive garden (windflower). Mughlai food is known for its richness. It is famous for the exotic use of spices, dried fruit and nuts. The Mughals did everything in style and splendor and Chef Vinod will explain the layering of the spices that gives each preparation an exotic taste and flavor. Taste Saffron, almonds, raisins, apricots and pistachios in the dishes prepared specially for you tonight. Overnight In Mysore (B/D)                                     

DAY 6

21 OCT’2013 MYSORE – CALICUT (210 KMS/5 HRS)

Drive to Calicut and visit Beypore, a prominent port and fishing harbour of ancient Kerala. Visit the fish markets with Chef Vinod who will point out the many varieties of seafood caught fresh daily off these shores and the special ways the locals prepare it for their families. Later venture into town and visit the Sweet Meat Street with many colourful shops. Visit the Boat yards in Beypore, which have been building vessels since early centuries for legendary seamen. The astounding feature is the way in which the boats are built wherein the skilled craftsmen build boats based on just experience-without any drawings or charts. You can also visit a century old tile factory founded by the Germans and later acquired by the British. The century old machinery and systems that are still in use to produce tiles and bricks make for a very interesting visit. Check in to you resort.  Tonight enjoy a special dinner featuring Moppilla Cuisine -The cuisine of Kerala Muslims, well known for its delicate blend of spiciness and subtle mix of ingredients that add a touch of the exotic! The Mappilas of Malabar love eating and cooking has developed into an art-form that is perfected by every girl by the time she gets married. Ask any Mappila man, and he will swear by his mom's 'Thalassery biriyani'. Mappila cuisine is one of the most exotic, and yet, one of the least known, of India's major cuisines.Like any regional cuisines, Mappilas have also developed a cuisine that makes the best use of locally available ingredients. As such, most dishes are made from various forms and combinations of rice, banana, coconut and egg, besides of course, meat. In addition, the Muslim tradition of using lots of dry fruits can be seen even here. Over night in Calicut (B/D) 

DAY 7

22 OCT’2013 CALICUT- COCHIN (220 KMS/5 HRS)

Today we drive to Cochin with its wealth of historical associations and its beautiful setting on a cluster of islands and narrow peninsulas; the fascinating city of Cochin perfectly reflects the eclecticism of Kerala. Cochin now renamed Kochi, boasts one of the finest natural harbors on the Arabian Sea coast and has been a port of call for foreign traders from very early times. Its cosmopolitan character is reflected in the many buildings and structures, which bear testimony to the different influences that the city has acquired from the world over. Cochin is a fascinating synthesis of old and new. This evening watch a performance of the Kathakali dance. The epic Ramayana comes to life at a Kathakali performance, the traditional Keralan dance, where characters use larger than life gestures, wear outrageous costumes and dramatic make up. Afterwards enjoy dinner at the Malabar Junction, a superb, open-sided restaurant in a garden. It is known throughout India for its exceptional food, probably the best pasta in India!. Overnight in Cochin  

DAY 8            

 23 OCT’2013 COCHIN  

   This morning take a Cooking Class at house of Nimmi Paul. Nimmy and Paul have been involved in 'At Home' hospitality for more than twelve years. Nimmy, a professional cookery instructor for more than twenty years offers food and hospitality to foreign guests. Nimmy conducts cookery classes. She teaches guests the nuances of traditional Kerala recipes. She is also a food consultant to writers, chefs and magazines. We will also arrange for Market trip –like visit vegetable market and spice market.Guests are also provided the opportunity to enjoy a meal with an Indian family whereby they can enjoy delicious food in homely ambience, interact with members of the host family and experience the nuances of a joint family system. The unique experience brings you in close touch with the traditions; values and cultural ethos of this enchanting land. Afternoon visit the Jewish Synagogue built in 1568. Scrolls of the Old Testament and a number of copper plates inscribed in Hebrew script are preserved here. Continue on to visit St. Francis Church, the oldest church constructed by the Europeans in India. Built by the Portuguese in 1510; it housed the remains of Vasco da Gama for 14 years before it was transferred to Lisbon. His tombstone can be seen inside the church. Also visit the Mattancherry Palace, built by the Portuguese in 1555. The Palace was presented to the Raja of Cochin as a gesture of goodwill. This was also known as the Dutch Palace, resulting from substantial renovation by the Dutch after 1663. The central hall was the Coronation Hall of the Rajas. Their dresses, turbans and palanquins and murals from Hindu mythology are all beautiful and worth seeing. Culminate the tour at Fort Kochi, which is said to be the oldest European settlement in India. This evening is free to explore a local restaurant in town or visit the famous beach with the Chinese fishing nets Overnight in Cochin (B/L)  

DAY 9

 24 OCT’2013 COCHIN – ALLEPPEY - KUMARAKOM (85 KMS/2 HRS) -

This Morning we  drive to Alleppey - Board a boat for a lazy few hours drifting along shimmering waterways passing coconut groves, a green patchwork of rice paddies and isolated villages where daily life is dominated by the rhythm of the waters. Pass boats laden down with cargo and fishermen throwing their nets from small rowing boats and watch small ferry boats busily crisscrossing the rivers   Enjoy your Traditional Lunch served on Boat.  Evening Disembark from House boat and further drive to Kumarakom - the enchanting backwater destination slumbers on the bank of the famous Vembanad Lake, which is a part of Kuttanad ('granary' of Kerala). The Vembanad Lake with its majestic canals, streams and distributaries along its banks weave an intricate and enchantingly beautiful web. Kumarakom is an unbelievable beautiful paradise!!The blue backwaters and the surface of Vembanad Lake reflect the azure sky. The amazing shades of green of the vegetation that include mangroves, coconut palms, and paddy fields cover the verdant countryside. The gorgeous green of the fringed palms ripple in the blue waters and blend into wavelets. Arrive in Kumarakom and check in to hotel where rooms will be pre-booked. Evening meal will be an informal feast with dishes chosen by Chef Vinod and specially prepared by the hotel chefs, perhaps Chef Vinod will prepare for you while you watch one of his signature dishes!  (Payment for this dinner will taken by clients at their own) Overnight in Kumarakom  (B/L)      

DAY 10

 25 OCT’2013 KUMARAKOM  

      Yoga enthusiasts will want to rise early for a morning session with a Yoga master in a serene setting at the hotel. Rest of the day will be at leisure for spa/ayurveda and independent activities. Overnight in Kumarakom (B)   

DAY 11

26 OCT ’2013 KUMARAKOM – KOVALAM (195 KMS/6 HRS)

 

Drive to Kovalam beach covering a distance of 195 kms in approx 6 hours. Kovalam is a renowned beach destination. With three adjacent crescent beaches, it has been a favorite of tourists, especially Europeans, since the 1930s. A massive rocky promontory on the beach has created a beautiful bay of calm waters ideal for sea bathing. The leisure options at this beach are plenty and diverse. Sunbathing, swimming, herbal body toning massages, special cultural programmes and catamaran cruising are some of them. Life on the beach begins late in the day and carries on well into the night. The beach complex includes a string of budget cottages, Ayurvedic health resorts, and convention facilities, shopping zones, swimming pools, Yoga and Ayurvedic massage centre. Overnight in Kovalam (B)  

DAY 12

 27 OCT’2013 KOVALAM

 

      Day will be at leisure. Relax on the warm palm-fringed sands, rejuvenate your senses with some ayurvedic treatments, or wander along the headland. Standing at the old lighthouse you can watch the sky and waters burn as the sun sets over the Arabian Sea. Evening enjoy a sumptuous fare well dinner at residing hotel. Overnight in Kovalam (B/D) PLAN YOUR DAY AND CHOOSE FROM BELOW SUGGESTED OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:1. ORIENTATION CITY TOUR OF TRIVANDRUM. ALSO EXPERIENCE A RIDE ON LOCAL BUSES!Visit Napier Museum & Art Gallery (Closed on Monday & National holidays). Built in the 19th century, this Indo - Saracenic structure boasts a natural air conditioning system and houses a rare collection of archaeological and historic artefacts, bronze idols, ancient ornaments, a temple chariot and ivory carvings. Next visit Sree Chithra Art Gallery (Closed on Monday & Wednesday forenoons) - located near the Napier Museum, this art gallery displays select paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, Svetlova and Nicholas Roerich and exquisite works from the Rajput, Mughal and Tanjore schools of art in India. Further visit the Kanakakunnu Palace - the palace and its sprawling grounds are today the venue for many cultural meets and programmes and the University Observatory - located at the highest point in the city, near the Museum complex 60 meters above sea level, one can have a bird's eye view of the city from here. In order to give the guests a more authentic experience, we will arrange a short ride using local buses. An amazing sight to watch! These colorful buses are part of everyday life!

2. A SHORT MOVIE EXPERIENCE AT A LOCAL THEATREEnjoy the experience of an electrifying local Malayalam movie flick at a local theatre. Experience and watch the local people enjoying the dance, emotions of their favorite actress. 

DAY 13

28 OCT’2013 DEPART FROM TRIVANDRUM

After breakfast, our representative will escort you to Trivandrum International airport (30 min approx) for your flight to onward destination.                                     

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Chinese fishing nets in Kochi (Cochin), Kerala

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Houseboat on the backwaters of Kerala

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Aleppey fish curry cooked in an earthern ware pot with coconut milk & "Kodam puli" & curry leaves

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Kerala back waters

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Enjoying Breakfast at Mamallapuram - Vivanta by Taj  

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Mysore Palace, Mysore (Karnataka)

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Shallots galore! on the way to Calicut from Mysore

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 On the way to the Synagogue in Kochi ( Cochin), Kerala

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At Kanchi Kailasanathar temple in Kanchipuram, Tamilnadu - The oldest temple of Kanchipura

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At the Lalit Mahal Palace hotel, where we will be staying.

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With tea plantation workers on the way to Calicut from Mysore

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Devaraja Market in Mysore 

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At a small scale cashew processing plant in Kerala.

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spiced infused water at Taj West End - Banglaore - Fennugreek and "Ajwain"

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Masala Omelette at Taj West End, Bangalore, India

 

 TOUR DEPARTS OCTOBER 16, 2013 -   BOOK EARLY AND AVOID DISAPPOINTMENT.

FOR MORE INFO ON THE TOUR, TYPE OF HOTELS, PICTURE OF THE HOTEL , TO DOWNLOAD THE TOUR ITINERARY ETC VISIT -INDUS.TRAVELS

INDUS TRAVELS IS THE WINNER OF THE BEST TOUR OPERATOR TO INDIA FROM THE AMERICAS FOR THE LAST FOUR YEARS.

 


DC Central Kitchen's Sound Bites

SOUND BITES 


WHAT : DC CENTRAL KITCHEN'S FESTIVAL OF LOCAL MUSIC, FOOD AND CHANGE

WHEN : May 19th

WHERE : 9.30 CLUB

TIME : 1 PM

TICKETS : $ 40 INCLUDING FREE FOOD FROM 25 OF DC'S BEST RESTAURANTS +7 LOCAL BANDS +
                EPIC MIXOLOGY BATTLE OF 14TH STREET BARS
                SEE MORE AT :  http://www.soundbitesdc.com/#food

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Indique/Indique Heights will be there to support DC Central kitchen along with 24 other top restaurants.I hope to see you all there.

 

 

 


Culinary tour to India with Chef Vinod


 SOUTH INDIA DELIGHTS WITH CHEF VINOD

                        TOUR DEPARTS : JANUARY 31, 2013

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Get off the beaten path, explore in depth the rich culinary traditions of south India.Chef Vinod, who hails from Kerala and obtained culinary training from the institute of Hotel Management, Chennai will guide your culinary exploration every step of the way.In addition you will have the opportunity to interact with and get culinary demonstrations from leading chefs immersed in the local culinary traditions.
This 13 day culinary expedition around South India with renowned Chef Vinod begins on India's beautiful east coast with a day trip to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Mamallapuram. Guests will travel through bustling Bangalore to the historic city of Mysore to experience some traditional Karnataka cuisine and visit the lively local market. Chef Vinod will introduce travellers to the exotic tastes of 'Moppilla' cuisine in Calicut before arriving in Cochin on the Arabian Sea coast. After enjoying a cooking class and exploring the local market, guests will be whisked to charming Alleppey, for a charming backwaters cruise, and onto serene Kumarakom. The last stop on this gastronomic adventure is Kovalam, where Chef Vinod will organize a beachside BBQ and a sumptuous farewell feast.
This tour is being organized in collaboration with : Indus Travels.
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winner of the best tour operator award to India given by the Government of India.
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DAY 1
Day1 : JAN 31 ARRIVAL CHENNAI TRANSFER TO COVELONG 
On arrival at Chennai airport your Tour escort will meet you outside the customs gate and escort you in an air-conditioned Indian made deluxe bus to Covelo (35km/approx 1hr drive). Overnight in Vivanta by Taj Fisherman’s cove.

DAY 2
Day2 : FEB 01 MAMALLAPURAM EXCURSION (B/L/ D) 
Start your morning with a trip to Mamallapuram - Its enviable position on the Coromandel Coast, facing the Bay of Bengal, guarantees that this is a popular place to visit. Spend time on the white-sand beach shaded by casuarina trees and hire a bike to pedal through the surrounding countryside but make sure you allow time to explore this wonderful open-air museum, much of which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Some of the sightseeing highlights include Arjuna’s Penance a wonderful bas-relief covering two huge boulders. The exquisite detail dating from the 7th century depicts the flow of the Ganges down from the Himalayan mountains as well as scenes from Indian daily life, The Five Rathas - these shrines are carved whole from an outcrop of rock. Each of the five temples is dedicated to heroes from the great epic of the Mahabharata. Spend time admiring the detail of the carvings which include gods, humans and elephants. Visit the Shore Temple by the seaside overlooking the Bay of Bengal with landscaped gardens surrounding it is dedicated to both Vishnu and Shiva. Today’s most memorable experience will be a South Indian thali meal which is served on Banana leaf! This is a well balanced meal with dishes that include rice, dal, vegetables, flat breads, yoghurt, chutney, pickle, papad and a sweet dish. Chef Vinod may insist you try eating this like the locals-without the use of a knife or fork!!!!! Return to Hotel and relax. Evening Enjoy the fresh catch of the day cooked with Bay Spice - local peppers, coriander and tamarind. You'll relish the seafood broth with shredded vegetable, diced seafood and a peg of tender coconut water. 
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DAY 3
Day3 : FEB 02 MAMALLAPURAM – KANCHIPURAM –BANGALORE
Today we depart from Hotel and Drive to the impressive temple town of Kanchipuram covering a distance of 60kms in approx 1.5 hour. Known as the Golden City of a Thousand Temples, it is one of the oldest towns in India. It is famous for both its temples and its hand-woven silks. Most of the temples which were built during 7th and 8th century AD are well preserved. The prominent temples of Kanchipuram are Ekambareshwar Temple, Kamakshi Temple etc. Kanchipuram silk is famous all over the world. Visit the local homes of the weavers and watch them create magic out of silk thread into saris. Return to Mamallapuram to catch a flight to Bangalore. Tonight Chef Vinod welcomes you to the Taj West End hotel to experience a well contemplated Anglo Indian Menu that draws inspiration from the British Raj. The fusion food that emerged during those day’s thus became a staple of the Country’s Anglo- Indian Population. Plunge back into time and indulge in a menu conceptualized with a colonial touch. Overnight in Bangalore 
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DAY 4
Day4 : FEB 03 BANGALORE – MYSORE (140km/3.5h) (B/D)
Begin with a visit to the botanical gardens at Lal Bagh conceived and laid out by Sultan Hyder Ali in 1760. His son, Tipu, expanded the gardens further planting exotic plants from Persia, Kabul, Turkey, and Mauritius (tropical and subtropical species) over 96 hectares (240 acres). Highlights include the Lawn Clock and the British-built glasshouse, structurally based on London's Crystal Palace and then drive to Mysore - You will be charmed by the faded grandeur of Mysore, the former capital of the much loved Wodeyars dynasty who reigned from the 16th century. We will visit the Royal palaces, sacred temples and majestic buildings but leave enough time to stroll through some of the city’s many parks, gardens and wide leafy boulevards. Evening enjoy an exclusively designed menu by Chef Vinod that features traditional Karnataka cuisine, dinner will be a love of labor, full of nostalgic memories-a very special treat indeed! Overnight in Mysore 
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DAY 5
Day5 : FEB 04 MYSORE (B/D)
Morning we visit Devaraj Market – A most colourful local market, Chef Vinod is on hand to explain the spices, fruits and vegetables, the home made sauces and pastes, pickles and the many varieties grains, rice and lentils sold here. Pick up some to bring home and impress your guests at your next Indian dinner party! Chef Vinod will give you special tips and recipes too! Next visit the Mysore Palace - once home to the royal family. Admire this treasure trove of works of art from all over the world. If you are in Mysore on a Sunday or national holiday don't miss the spectacle of the palace illuminated by thousands of light bulbs. Jaganmohan Palace houses a collection of 19th century paintings by skilled Indian artists who used natural vegetable and mineral dyes. Enjoy the traditional Mysore 'gold leaf' paintings which are on display here. Evening Head up Chamundi Hill for panoramic views of the city spread out below before exploring the exquisite hilltop temple dedicated to the goddess, Chamundi and dominated by a 40m-high gopuram (tower). Make a short stop at the huge statue dedicated to Nandi, the bull of Lord Shiva, on the way down. This evening enjoy Mughlai food at Olive garden (windflower). Mughlai food is known for its richness. It is famous for the exotic use of spices, dried fruit and nuts. The Mughals did everything in style and splendor and Chef Vinod will explain the layering of the spices that gives each preparation an exotic taste and flavor. Taste Saffron, almonds, raisins, apricots and pistachios in the dishes prepared specially for you tonight. Overnight In Mysore 
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DAY 6
Day6 : FEB 05 MYSORE – CALICUT (210km/5h) (B/D)
Drive to Calicut and visit Beypore, a prominent port and fishing harbour of ancient Kerala. Visit the fish markets with Chef Vinod who will point out the many varieties of seafood caught fresh daily off these shores and the special ways the locals prepare it for their families. Later venture into town and visit the Sweet Meat Street with many colourful shops. Visit the Boat yards in Beypore, which have been building vessels since early centuries for legendary seamen. The astounding feature is the way in which the boats are built wherein the skilled craftsmen build boats based on just experience-without any drawings or charts. You can also visit a century old tile factory founded by the Germans and later acquired by the British. The century old machinery and systems that are still in use to produce tiles and bricks make for a very interesting visit. Check in to you resort. Tonight enjoy a special dinner featuring Moppilla Cuisine -The cuisine of Kerala Muslims, well known for its delicate blend of spiciness and subtle mix of ingredients that add a touch of the exotic! The Mappilas of Malabar love eating and cooking has developed into an art-form that is perfected by every girl by the time she gets married. Ask any Mappila man, and he will swear by his mom's 'Thalassery biriyani'. Mappila cuisine is one of the most exotic, and yet, one of the least known, of India's major cuisines.
Like any regional cuisines, Mappilas have also developed a cuisine that makes the best use of locally available ingredients. As such, most dishes are made from various forms and combinations of rice, banana, coconut and egg, besides of course, meat. In addition, the Muslim tradition of using lots of dry fruits can be seen even here. Over night in Calicut 
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DAY 7
Day7 : FEB 06 CALICUT- COCHIN (B/ D)
Today we drive to Cochin -Kochi- with its wealth of historical associations and its beautiful setting on a cluster of islands and narrow peninsulas, the fascinating city of Cochin perfectly reflects the eclecticism of Kerala. Cochin now renamed Kochi, boasts of one of the finest natural harbors on the Arabian Sea coast and has been a port of call for foreign traders from very early times. Its cosmopolitan character is reflected in the many buildings and structures, which bear testimony to the different influences that the city has acquired from the world over. Cochin is a fascinating synthesis of old and new. This evening we go to the theatre for a Kathakali dance show - the epic Ramayana comes to life at a Kathakali performance, traditional Keralan dance, where the characters use larger than life gestures, wear outrageous costumes and dramatic make up. Enjoy your Dinner at The Malabar Junction – A superb, open-sided restaurant in the garden. It is known throughout India for its exceptional food (probably the best pasta in India!). Overnight in Cochin 

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DAY 8
Day8 : FEB 07 COCHIN (B/L)
This morning take a Cooking Class at house of Nimmi Paul. Nimmy and Paul have been involved in 'At Home' hospitality for more than twelve years. 
Nimmy, a professional cookery instructor for more than twenty years offers food and hospitality to foreign guests. Nimmy and her husband Paul belong to traditional Syrian Christian community in Kerala. In keeping with the tradition of their families they enjoy having guests and serving good food. 
Nimmy conducts cookery classes. She teaches guests the nuances of traditional Kerala recipes. She is also a food consultant to writers, chefs and magazines. Articles by her and about her have appeared in magazines and newspapers

We will also arrange for Market trip –like visit vegetable market and spice market. Guests are also provided the opportunity to enjoy a meal with an Indian family whereby they can enjoy delicious food in homely ambience and get an opportunity to interact with members of the host family on a personal level and experience the nuances of a joint family system. The unique experience brings tourists in close touch with the traditions; values and cultural ethos of this enchanting land. Afternoon visit the Jewish Synagogue built in 1568. Scrolls of the Old Testament and a number of copper plates inscribed in Hebrew script are preserved here. The building was destroyed by the Portuguese in 1662 and rebuilt by the Dutch two years later. Continue on to visit St. Francis Church, the oldest church constructed by the Europeans in India. Built by the Portuguese in 1510; it housed the remains of Vasco de Gama for 14 years before it was transferred to Lisbon. His tombstone can be seen inside the church. Also visit the Mattancherry Palace, built by the Portuguese in 1555. The Palace was presented to the Raja of Cochin as a gesture of goodwill. This was also known as the Dutch Palace, resulting from substantial renovation by the Dutch after 1663. The central hall was the Coronation Hall of the Rajas. 
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DAY 9
Day9 : FEB 08 COCHIN – ALLEPPEY – KUMARAKOM (85km/2h) (B/L)
This Morning we drive to Alleppey - Board a boat for a lazy few hours drifting along shimmering waterways passing coconut groves, a green patchwork of rice paddies and isolated villages where daily life is dominated by the rhythm of the waters. Pass boats laden down with cargo and fishermen throwing their nets from small rowing boats and watch small ferry boats busily crisscrossing the rivers Enjoy your Traditional Lunch served on Boat. Evening Disembark from House boat and further drive to Kumarakom - the enchanting backwater destination slumbers on the bank of the famous Vembanad Lake, which is a part of Kuttanad ('granary' of Kerala). The Vembanad Lake with its majestic canals, streams and distributaries along its banks weave an intricate and enchantingly beautiful web. Kumarakom is an unbelievable beautiful paradise!! The amazing shades of green of the vegetation that include mangroves, coconut palms, and paddy fields cover the verdant countryside. Arrive in Kumarakom and check in to hotel. Evening meal will be an informal feast with dishes chosen by Chef Vinod and specially prepared by the hotel chefs, perhaps Chef Vinod will prepare for you while you watch one of his signature dishes! where rooms will be pre-booked. Overnight in Kumarakom.
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DAY 10
Day10 : FEB 09 KUMARAKOM (B)
Yoga enthusiasts will want to rise early for a morning session with a Yoga master in a serene setting at the hotel. Rest of the day will be at leisure for spa/ayurveda and independent activities. There are no planned activities today, just relax and enjoy your surroundings. Overnight in Kumarakom

EXCLUSIVE GALA MOCK INDIAN WEDDING WITH KERALA FEAST: Traditional Ceremony: Maintaining the chastity of the sacramental institute of marriage the traditional ceremony mainly involves three events. Beginning the traditional ceremony the Jaimala (exchange of garlands) takes place and therefore takes each other as husband and wife. The bridegroom thereafter takes the seven steps together known as Pheras taking oaths of loyalty and love to each other. Finally the Kanyadaan (giving away the bride) takes place when the bride's father or an elder brother gives away the bride to the groom with all the trust. The Indian wedding is all about colors, joy, rituals and fun. 
The evening will also include: 
1. Live performance of classical music of Kerala 
2. Lavish buffet spread with live cooking
3. Stewards dressed in typical village style
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DAY 11
Day11 : FEB 10 KUMARAKOM – KOVALAM (B)
Drive to Kovalam beach covering a distance of 195 kms in approx 6 hours. Kovalam is a renowned beach destination. With three adjacent crescent beaches, it has been a favorite of tourists, especially Europeans, since the 1930s. A massive rocky promontory on the beach has created a beautiful bay of calm waters ideal for sea bathing. The leisure options at this beach are plenty and diverse. Sunbathing, swimming, herbal body toning massages, special cultural programmes and catamaran cruising are some of them. Life on the beach begins late in the day and carries on well into the night. Tonight enjoy a beachside BBQ organized by Chef Vinod and meet some of the local chefs, fellow travelers and lovers of Indian cuisine! Overnight in Kovalam 
DAY 12
Day12 : FEB 11 KOVALAM (B/D) 
Day will be at leisure. Relax on the warm palm-fringed sands, rejuvenate your senses with some ayurvedic treatments, or wander along the headland. Standing at the old lighthouse you can watch the sky and waters burn as the sun sets over the Arabian Sea. Evening enjoy a sumptuous fare well dinner at your hotel; meet the executive resident chef and other staff who have worked so hard to create an unforgettable feast for you. Overnight in Kovalam 

PLAN YOUR DAY AND CHOOSE FROM THE SUGGESTED OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:
1. ORIENTATION CITY TOUR OF TRIVANDRUM. ALSO EXPERIENCE A RIDE ON LOCAL BUSES!
Visit Napier Museum & Art Gallery (Closed on Monday & National holidays). Built in the 19th century, this Indo - Saracenic structure boasts a natural air conditioning system and houses a rare collection of archaeological and historic artifacts, bronze idols, ancient ornaments, a temple chariot and ivory carvings. Next visit Sree Chithra Art Gallery (Closed on Monday & Wednesday forenoons) - located near the Napier Museum, this art gallery displays select paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, Svetlova and Nicholas Roerich and exquisite works from the Rajput, Mughal and Tanjore schools of art in India. Further visit the Kanakakunnu Palace - the palace and its sprawling grounds are today the venue for many cultural meets and programmes and the University Observatory - located at the highest point in the city, near the Museum complex 60 meters above sea level, one can have a bird's eye view of the city from here. 
In order to give the guests a more authentic experience, we will arrange a short ride using local buses. An amazing sight to watch! These colorful buses are part of every day life!
2. A SHORT MOVIE EXPERIENCE AT A LOCAL THEATRE
Enjoy the experience of an electrifying local Malayalam movie flick at a local theatre just as the locals do! 

DAY 13
Day13 : FEB 12 DEPART FROM TRIVANDRUM (B)
After breakfast, our representative will escort you to Trivandrum International airport (30 min approx) for your flight to onward destination.
Hotel Check out time 11.00am

 From US $ 4995/- for more information please e mail - Raju@indus.travel or call toll free :
 Toll Free (USA & Canada) +1 866­ 978 2997 
  For more detaisl click here
  

Inspired by India: A Family Celebration

 Celebrate the art and culture of the Indian subcontinent with a free all-day

family event. Watch classical kathak dancing, listen to traditional Indian flute

music, and make a rakhi bracelet. Watch artists create Indian rangoli (rice

powder) paintings, and join exhibition tours of Worlds within Worlds: Imperial

Paintings from India and Iran. Finish the evening with a screening of the

Bollywood classic film Mughal-e-Azamat 5:30 pm (185 min.)

http://goo.gl/0urau

 Wear a Bindi and Henna

10:30 am–5 pm

Sackler ground level

Create your own henna design with stamps and pick up a bindi to wear throughout

the day.

Indique/ Indique Heights will be at the North entrance of the Freer Gallery of Art. Come and say hello.

(11 am–3 pm, outside Freer north entrance)

  Indique Heights

 


Culinary Tour of South India with Chef Vinod - January 2013

TOUR DEPARTS - JANUARY 31, 2013

 

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MAMALAPURAM - BANGALORE - MYSORE - CALICUT - COCHIN - KUMARAKOM - KOVALAM
 

Get off the beaten path, explore in depth the rich culinary traditions of South India. Come and join me on January 31, 2013 on a 13 day tour to the South of India. I am happy to join hands with Indus Travels, recognized as the Best Tour operator to India by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, three times in the last four years.

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   PLACE                                        NIGHTS                            LUXURY HOTELS

 MAMALAPURAM                                  02     VIVANTA BY TAJ - FISHERMAN'S COVE

 BANGALORE                                       01                       TAJ WESTEND

 MYSORE                                            02                        LALIT MAHAL PALACE

 CALICUT                                           01                        KADAVU RESORT

 COCHIN                                            02                        LE MERIDIEN

 KUMARAKOM                                     02                        ZURI KUMARAKOM

 KOVALAM                                          02       VIVANTA BY TAJ - GREEN COVE

      Tour Package includes :

  • Accommodation on twin sharing room with breakfast at all listed hotels or equivalent
  • Tours and excursions by one AC Chauffeur driven large coach.
  • Daily bottle of mineral water on board coach
  • Entrance fee of Monuments as per programs
  • Service of English speaking Tour Manager throughout the tour
  • Welcome Dinner at Taj Fisherman's cove (day)2
  • Traditional south Indian lunch (Mamalapuram)
  • Dinner at Lalit Mahal Palace - Food Corner Karnataka's cuisine
  • Mughlai cuisine at Olive garden (wind flower mysore)
  • Day cruises at houseboat with traditional lunch
  • Special Mappila cuisine dinner at Kadavu Resorts (Calicut)
  • Special authentic Dinner at Malabar junction (Cochin)
  • Cooking demo & hand practice with lunch at Nalini Verma house
  • Farewell dinner at Kovalam
  • All applicable taxes

For detailed itinerary and additional information please inquire online -   raju@indus.travel or call        1-866-978-2997 

A portion of every individual tour payment is donated to the project -Street Children of India. This project helps create an environment conducive to the holistic development of disadvantaged children to enable them to become a part of the mainsteam society.

This is being done in close collaboration with the SALAAM BAALAK TRUST which runs five 24 hour full care shelters for children, one devoted to solely girls. These shelters provide children with security, a sense of home and an oportunity to enjoy their childhood. Their aim is to restore the childhood in children as well as instilling values of independence to become mature, caring and responsible members of their society. If you are interested in being a sponsor please let us know. 



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Pictures from Saveur Magazine's third annual BBQ

It was an honor to join hands with the some of the top chefs in the country at Saveur Magazine's third annual  global bbq event at the boat basin in New York. We would like to thank Mrs. Sujata Thakur, regional director, department of tourism, government of India for inviting us to represent - "Incredible India"

 We served Masala Lamb chops on a bed of chickpea pancakes-"khandvi" along with spiced mango salsa and mint chutney.

Here are some pictures from the event:

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Above: R to L : Surfy Rahman and K.N.Vinod

Our team : R to L : S.Balamurugan, Abraham Varghese, Surfy Rahman and K.N.Vinod


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Above:In conversation with Mr.James Oseland, editor-in-chief of Saveur Magazine.


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With Mr.James Oseland, editor-in-chief of Saveur Magazine and Ms. Sujata Thakur, regional director of India tourism, govt of India. 
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L to R : Mr. Surfy Rahman, Chef/owner Susan Feniger and K.N.Vinod
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 With my colleagues, Executive Chefs- Sivaraman Balamurugan and Abraham Varghese.
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Lto R: Ms.Dawn Drew, CEO & Founder the & M.O.S.T.E, Ms.Sujata Thakur and Mr. Rahul Vinod
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 Chef/owner Aaron Sanchez of Centrico and Tacombi in NY 


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 Getting the plates ready, while the lamb chops are being grilled.

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Posing for a group photo with editor in chief and assistant editor of the Saveur.
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 With my teammates, Executive Chefs- S.Balamurugan and Abraham Varghese.


Crab Papad Rolls from Indique - A big hit at the Varli Food Festival NYC

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 Our Chefs getting the crab papad cones ready.

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Varli Singh and the chefs at the Varli Food Festival in NYC

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L to R: Chef Vikas Khanna, Padma lakshmi, Chef Sanjeev Kapoor and Varli Singh. Hmm..Not sure what the joke was, Vikas is laughing away.

 

The Varli Food Festival, an Indian culinary and chef showcase, concluded about three weeks ago on April 5th, 2012 in New York City. I must say that the Varli Festival was very well organized and flawlessly executed. Padma Lakshmi, host of the show Top Chef, and Sanjeev Kapoor, celebrated chef from India, were joined by several other celebrity chefs from around the world. 

It was such a delight to see so many Indian restaurateurs and chefs come under one roof to showcase the cuisine of India. There was wide media coverage for the event from various television channels and newspapers such as The New York Times.

Our crab papad rolls from Indique/Indique Heights turned out to be such a big hit that they were featured in The New York Times, in "Outlook India" and above all Padma loved it... Padma Lakshmi loved it...

The photo below was featured in The New York Times - Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi enjoying the crab papad roll from Indique.

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See what "Outlook India" magazine had to say about Indique's crab papad roll at the Varli Food Festival.

"CRAB APPLES - Not that it requries any great skills to catch crab in Manhattan, but curing the meat is a lesson best learned from experience. Masters in the art descended on NYC from the US northeastern seaboard to showcase their skills at the Varli Food Festival. Of those partaking, Padma Laksmi played the bait." - Outlook India

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Welcoming Padma Lakshmi

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Surfy Rahman greeting Padma Lakshmi 

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In conversation with Padma Lakshmi

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Being introduced to Executive Chef S.Balamurugan

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 Being introduced to Executive Chef Abraham Varghese

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Padma Lakshmi enjoying her crab papad roll

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She goes in for seconds!

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At Junoon restaurant - Surfy Rahman, K.N.Vinod, Walter Rozario, Prasad Chirnomula, & Rajesh Bhardwaj

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With Chef /Restaurateur Vikram Vij of Vij's in Vancouver, Canada

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With Chefs Maneet Chauhan, Vikram Vij, Jehangir Mehta, K.N.Vinod, and Shipra Khanna.

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Ready to get in to the Limousine - for the ride with fellow chefs 

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Restaurateur Surfy Rahman at the Red Carpet walk

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L to R : Chef K.N.Vinod, Chef S.Balaurugan,Chef Vikas Khanna, and Chef Abraham Varghese

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L to R: Restaurateur Rajesh Bhardwaj, Chef Hemant Mathur, Chef K.N.Vinod, and Restaurateur Surfy Rahman

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With Chef Floyd Cardoz and Surfy Rahman

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With Chef Maneet Chauhan

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 With  Chef Walter d" Rozario

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With Chef Aliya Leekong  

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 With Sant Chatwal at the Varli festival.

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L to R: Chefs K.N.Vinod, Ajay Chopra, Kunal Kapoor, Vicky Ratnani, Shipra Khanna, Varli Singh, Peter Beck, Prasad Chirnomula, Saransh Goila,Romy Hardeep Gill,and Harpal singh Sokhi.

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Restaurateur Surfy Rahman and Chef Vicky Ratnani at the Varli festival.

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 L to R : Chefs Vikram Vij, Vicky Ratnani, Kunal Kapoor, Ajay Chopra, and Hari Nayak

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L to R : chefs K.N.Vinod, Ajay Chopra, and Kunal Kapoor

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With a Correspondent from TV Asia, Chefs Prasad Chirnomula, Kunal Kapoor, Ajay Chopra,Sanjeev Kapoor and K.N.Vinod

Some of the photographs - courtesy - Varli food festival