CLOSE ENCOUNTER: MASTERCHEF RANVEER BRAR
Celebrity chef Ranveer Brar feels that Assamese and Northeast Indian cuisine has immense potential to emerge as top-notch global cuisines and is in the “process of being discovered”. In an exclusive conversation with melange, the Masterchef, who runs a fleet of 17 eclectic restaurants across the world, said, “Assamese cuisine as well as north-eastern cuisine has a lot to offer to contemporary gastronomic senses. It's not long before it becomes part of the global menu.”
He explained, “For every cuisine to become famous, it has to pass through four phases. Firstly, it has to be discovered. Then it has to be eaten. Then comes the phase of modification where the food item is prepared to suit the global taste bud and then the fourth part comes in, which is that of marketing. Right now, the process of discovering has started as more and more people are getting acquainted with this rich cuisine of Northeast India. I feel this is a good beginning.” He added, “And the best part is that the entire cycle of discovery is being hastened up; more and more people are sampling north-eastern food which augurs very well for its potential growth story."
Chef Brar was in the city last week along with Master blender Caroline Martin of Scotland for hosting the Signature 'Tastings' event at the newly launched restaurant of Novotel Hotel in Guwahati last Friday. The Signature Tastings was a unique event which gave Guwahatians the chance to witness the art of pairing whisky and food. Taking the participants through the complex journey of blending whiskies, master blender Caroline Martin and Masterchef Ranveer Brar, unravelled the rich legacy and science behind whisky and daily food items and the unique food items that can be created by blending both.
The coming together of these Masters was a first opportunity for many Guwahatians. During the session, Caroline Martin, explained the nuances of creating different blends of whisky while chef Ranveer Brar elucidated the knowledge required in blending the right kind of food that would go well with premier whiskies. While on one hand there was a smooth operator like Caroline, on the other there was the versatile and eclectic celebrity chef and restaurateur Ranveer Brar, who is known for his knowledge of food history, expertise in regional and global cuisines, proficiency in food styling and an unmatched passion for food in all its concoctions. Brar had found a special place in the hearts of the people of the country during the fourth season of popular TV show Masterchef India.
This was Masterchef Ranveer Brar's second visit to the Northeast and he was highly excited about taking back home the famed black rice, which is cultivated in certain areas of the State and region. He said,"I was here earlier for a corporate launch event and was taken on a guided tour to sample the local cuisine. And my very first impression of Assamese cuisine was that of "amazing"!" He informed that he had used the unique flavour of the north-eastern black rice to create a unique dish which he serves in one of his restaurants abroad.
With a bestseller in his kitty, Ranveer Brar is a popular host and judge on television, mentor to culinary institutions and an artist both in and out of the kitchen.Talking further with melange, he said, "Writing, painting or cooking - for me, these are all forms of self-expression. I found cooking to be the way to express my thoughts and creativity. And thankfully, I was fortunate to find a lot of good people along the journey."
For someone who propounds the theory of cuisine as being an extension of culture, Chef Ranveer Brar strongly upholds the belief that travel makes a good chef better. He has even proposed his own theory on the taste of food which is based on Abraham Maslow's theory on Hierarchy of Needs. Dwelling on his theory, he says, "The eventual aim of Maslow's hierarchy of needs is self-actualisation. The journey of food can be compared in a similar manner because as chefs, we all try to create dishes that are able to attain self-actualisation."
In his 'Hierarchy of Taste', Chef Ranveer Brar breaks down the importance of five characteristics of food, namely Taste, Aroma, Flavour, Texture and Appearance for the Chef and the diner.
A man with an unmistakeable charm, Chef Ranveer Brar professes a lot of love for Northeast India, its people and cuisine. He looks forward to visiting the region again to sample some more ethnic dishes and use them in his own kitchen!