Foreign chefs love curry leaves, turmeric

Foreign chefs love curry leaves, turmeric

The food culture of Bengaluru is to die for, chefs at the two-day Young Chef Olympiad (YCO) say. John Wood, internationally renowned Michelin-star executive chef, is no stranger to Indian food. If there's one dish he really can't get enough of it is black dal."It is a simple dish, and if cooked right with the right amount of spices, nothing can match up to it," he says. John believes a combination of Indian spices can change the dynamics of a dish. "Arriving at the perfect blend is a challenge in itself," he says.

Scott Baechler, who has worked as executive chef at The Four Seasons Whistler, Canada, is currently a culinary instructor at the Canadian Food and Wine Institute, Niagara College. He thinks Indian dishes have multiple layers that can be deciphered only by those with multiple skills. "The young generation is more informed, with a diverse palette. They look at Indian cooking and Indian food as an art form that requires a lot of thought, imagination and dedication," reasons Scott. He feels his cooking is incomplete without curry leaves.

Scott is also an admirer of black dal, especially with naan. "This is the first dish that I ordered when I got off the plane and landed in India a few years ago," he says.The food scene in India is alive and vibrant because of the presence of smaller restaurants, Scott believes. Andreas Muller, program director at the International Culinary Institute (ICI) of the Vocational Training Council (VTC) in Hong Kong, is in Bengaluru for the first time.

"Indian food is popular in Hong Kong. We have a mix of pocket-friendly and posh Indian restaurants there," he says. He describes north Indian food as heavy, spicy and robust when compared to what is served in the south. "There's really no Indian dish that I haven't tried. Every dish has a unique flavour," he adds. He loves turmeric for its medicinal value.

"Also, it enhances the flavour and keeps cholesterol in check. I add a pinch of turmeric to all dishes," he says. He confesses he is floored by the open and authentic food culture of India, and Bengaluru in particular.

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