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3 Bengalureans on global list of food educators

They are pushing the scene of pastry arts and conversations on the future of Indian food
Last Updated : 08 July 2022, 04:55 IST
Last Updated : 08 July 2022, 04:55 IST
Last Updated : 08 July 2022, 04:55 IST
Last Updated : 08 July 2022, 04:55 IST

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Anusha Murthy, Elizabeth Yorke and Vinesh Johny from Bengaluru have been named under the ‘Empowering Educators’ category on the ‘50 Next: Class of 2022’ list made public recently.

The list recognises people shaping the future of gastronomy and has been curated for the first time by 50 Best, the UK group known for ranking the world’s 50 best restaurants and bars annually.

Food for thought

Anusha Murthy, 30, and Elizabeth Yorke, 29, run Edible Issues. It is a collective to foster conversations around the Indian food system through an online newsletter, meetups, workshops and even cook-alongs, zines and playlists.

“The food we eat today is mostly standardised and far away from the biodiverse food culture we have. Take bananas, for instance. Robusta is the most common variety eaten but it is now on the verge of extinction,” Anusha illustrates why we must talk about food diversity.

Or, this: “During a meetup, we reverse-engineered a common menu of a cloud kitchen on a food delivery app only to find that 14 vegetables contributed to 80 dishes!”

Topics of discussion are sometimes focused (such as coffee, edible oils, seaweed and sambar) and sometimes, broad (think nutrition, circular economy, and caste and food). “We encourage inter-community and inter-industry conversations that can nudge us, stakeholders, towards more mindful food behaviours,” she explains.

An underrated tool to shape a sustainable food culture is “developing the confidence to cook more at home,” she says.

Anusha is an engineer, and Elizabeth a trained chef. They met in Italy at the Future Food Institute’s Food Innovation Program in 2018 and founded Edible Issues. Today, Anusha is part of a company that’s building a cooking robot. And, Elizabeth is upcycling spent grain from breweries in Bengaluru to make flour.

Mastering the pastry

Vinesh Johny is no stranger to accolades. He is the co-founder and executive pastry chef of Lavonne Academy of Baking Science & Pastry Arts in Domlur, India's first specialised institute in the field. He was on the Forbes ‘30 Under 30 Asia’ list in 2016. He was the official mentor for Team India that won our first silver medal in patisserie at World Skills, 2017, and is now their chief expert (pastry).

Making it to the world’s 50 Next list was “surreal” for Vinesh who started a world-class baking academy in India just 10 years ago so aspirants did not have to go outside. “We had three students in our first batch in 2012. Now, 160 students take our flagship programmes every year,” the 33-year-old shares. Big names in the pastry world like Nina Tarasova and Frank Haasnoot have hosted classes here.

He feels India is at par with its global peers when it comes to the quality of pastry schools, shops, chefs and innovation. “Pastry arts is a global language. Even though the techniques are European, everybody is adding their spin,” he says.

Where do specialised academies stand in the age when people are learning to bake from vlogs and reels? Vinesh says, “It depends on what you want to achieve. If you are keen on starting a small business online, you can learn a recipe and become good at it. But if you want to enter the industry, you can’t put a one-off online tutorial in your resume. You need certification and nuance.”

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Published 07 July 2022, 18:11 IST

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