I’m grateful to all of you who read my blog and encouraged me to write/cook. I’m a tad late in posting this since did not have Internet at home for over 5 days.
The past year has been quite an enriching experience, with the learning curve being the steepest. Getting more serious to hone my skills, I have frenetically gone beyond my comfort zone to learn new techniques, all the while splurging heavily on new equipment and cookbooks, experimenting with new ingredients, cooking a lot more and, as fate would have it, had the chance to meet my culinary idols as well.
The icing on the cake had been the trip to Paris which is a dream come true for any gourmand.
Since my interest lies in baking, there couldn’t be anyplace better than Paris to savor the finest of the patisserie and desserts.
Apart from the sightseeing the beautiful city, I was most ecstatic about the gastronomic heaven I was about to delve into. I had a fantastic experience visiting the quaint little cafes on the park enroute to Louvre and savoring the best of the world at the oh-so-elegant Champs-Elysées.
One gastronomic memory that would stay with me forever would be the visit to the iconic Cafe Angelina and the heavenly macaroons from Les Marquis de Ladurée.
Galeries Lafaytte and Jeff De Bruges tempted me to splurge beyond my means, as I packed in gifts for co-workers and family (Damn the baggage allowance of airlines).
Having Amsterdam in transit was a blessing in disguise, as a world of artisan food awaited me. While the mindboggling variety of cheese from Dam Square had me go overboard, the hot chocolates and Stroopwafels ensured I come back to the beautiful city someday to savour more delights with the husband in tow.
Noteworthy of the stores I visited were the Old Cheese Shop and a small chocolate shop named Jamin.
My baking supplies for the next few months were taken care of thanks to the splurge in Amsterdam!
While Paris & Amsterdam might have introduced me to many new & unique gastronomic treats, the trip back home to India after few months taught me few more lessons in authentic cooking.
A road trip to Punjab was a rich condiment of heavy-duty food, making me realize that good food sometimes is very simple (as cooked in villages), and sometimes it’s quite technical like served at high end restaurants.
Another road trip to Neemrana Fort was an absolute delight, where the expansive Thali served is a food fit for nobility. The Rajasthani cuisine there is something to write home about.
Sitting at the upper deck of the centuries old fort, taking in the stellar views of the villages & fields and enjoying the sunset is an experience that goes beyond words could describe.
The year gone by was by far the luckiest for me, as I had the chance to meet many chefs whom I revere. To start with, I had a chance to meet my culinary idol Sanjeev Kapoor. I come from a household which watches his popular program Khana Khazana religiously and seeing him twice this year in person was a dream come true.
First at Dubai Food Carnival and later at the Independence Day dinner at his restaurant Options by Sanjeev Kapoor. Family back home hovered over the Whatsapp pictures I sent them from these events.
Interacting with him made me realize that whatever heights you reach in culinary stardom or whichever field you represent, being humble is the quality that never ceases to attract most. In just a few minutes, he taught me some life lessons, the best being: If you dream of doing something, then do take the risk and pursue the passion. Do not wait for the perfect timing and remain positive at all times!
Another personality I adore and met was Camellia Punjabi, as I attended her cooking demo session at the Emirates Literature Festival and was blown away on simple kitchen hacks that would sort out your weekly meals.
Sahil and I had a very candid chat with her as she signed her cookbook for us.
We had a great time discussing how she feels that true traditional fare is a rarity to find in restaurants these days and how average dishes get passed on as gourmet food. We asked her to write a new cookbook to which she gushed, while she found it amazing to see a young couple cooking together and bonding over food. She was brilliant!
Finally, after watching so many seasons of Masterchef Australia, I had the honor of attending a cooking demo by Chef George Calamboris himself, and relish his wonderful food. He is a magician and enthralled the crowd with his wit and humor.
The past year also saw me get busier with requests from friends to make mithais (sweets), cakes, granola bars and biscotti’s.
Their belief in my culinary skills was heartwarming, and I tried to do justice to that. Hosting get-together and parties helped me learn more about timing, multitasking and plating.
I had the pleasure of having my first ever article published in SALT back in April, a monthly e-magazine by the prestigious FBAI (Food Blogger’s Association of India).
I personally take the opportunity to thank Mr. Sameer Malkani, Founder FBAI and Mr. Elson Sequirera, Editor FBAI. At the time of writing this article, I have submitted another article which is due to be published in their upcoming issue.
All in all I feel happy looking back on each of the milestones.
So what are the key mantras for the year to come? I have prepared a mental list of sorts. That is one thing I am good at, making lists. However I need to follow them to the written word a lot more.
I am going to try not to wait for the perfect prose to go along with the blog posts. I will not look for perfection, but post as and when I cook. The fact is I cook much more in real life than I get to post about. I am going to not procrastinate further on sharing my kitchen diaries with everyone.
I humbly take this opportunity to thank everyone who made this journey of blogging such a joyride. Your each comment, social media mention, email, message and likes mean a lot to me. It makes me feel that I am doing something good out here.
Thank you once again and until next time happy cooking!
Like I said last year as well : A prayer in my heart, a song on my lips and spatula in my hand, I love my life! 🙂