A Top Chef culinary workshop sounded amusing, but I could not help but wonder how one could pull that off at Godrej Nature’s Basket! The event was set in a cosy corner of its Koregaon Park outlet and started on time. I expected Chef Saransh Goila to be slightly haughty from the little background check I did (courtesy of Google). A successful food travelogue plus finding space in the Limca book of world records is no small feat. But to my surprise, that wasn’t the case! From a shared adoration towards Padma Lakshmi to chucklesome references of posting food photos onto Instagram, Chef Goila seemed like quite a rooted man.
After exchanging pleasantries and introducing the workshop to the audience, Chef Goila started prepping the Top Chef recipes selected for the day – Macarons with Guacamole, Quinoa Pasta and Jerk Halibut with Mango Slaw. We started off by channelizing our inner Parisians and learnt the process of whipping up Macarons. Chef told us about how a macaron was one food item that absolutely could not be prepared without egg and also that the sugar added to Macarons wasn’t actually meant to sweeten, but to aerate the egg whites. Next in line was learning the intricacies behind making Guacamole; this was my first hands-on experience with Guacamole, so I was pretty thrilled to learn how it was made. I learnt that Guacamole can vary in texture depending on the different mild tweaks made to its root recipe. After much anticipation and excitement, Chef gave the first dish the final touches by topping it up with pistachio and dust. It was finally ready! And boy, what a treat it was! The interesting blend of flavours and textures definitely were a definite win!
In the midst of the event, Chef shared anecdotes from the days at his alma mater, his thoughts on baking, and his experience with the culinary sphere of Pune!
The second dish for the evening was the Quinoa Pasta. Made with pine-nut gremolata and dashed with citrus zest, the key for this dish was its texture. Chef Goila drew Indian analogies to explain the addition of various ingredients he used for the process. Not only did that help the audience draw parallels, but also helped ease the mystery of uncommon names for ingredients, such as cornichons. I enjoyed the resultant burst of flavours!
It was finally time for the third dish of the evening, the Jerk Halibut with Mango Slaw! The Halibut was substituted with salmon due to lack of availability. However, the interesting mixture of tang and spice was what helped set this dish apart.
All in all, the Top Chef culinary workshop was interactive, enriching and tasteful. It brought together an interesting spectrum of enthusiasts. What I loved most about the event was the punctuality, the organisation, the handy and aware staff and the comfort the workshop brought along with it!