The stage was set for the chroniclers to take over at the auditorium in Godrej One in Vikhroli, Mumbai on June 30, 2018. A transformed space by Godrej Interio led to some great conversations.
The welcome note by Sujit Patil, Vice President and Head - Corporate Communications, Godrej Industries Limited and Associate Companies (GILAC), was just the right thing to get the ball rolling. Speaking about the event, Sujit said, “Vikhroli Cucina is an initiative by Godrej to create an ecosystem where key influencers in the food space engage with each other, cross-pollinate ideas and discuss trends for the betterment of the industry.” He introduced the audience to the speakers at the event and also to the tongue twister of the day, “Culinary Chroniclers Conclave.”
“I conceived the Culinary Chroniclers Conclave as a common platform for all our modern chroniclers from various disciplines to connect with one another, share divergent perspectives and hopefully weave a wonderful new narrative around food. Personally, I can’t wait to see them all under one roof.” This was a powerful message that Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal, Culinary Expert, Writer and Consultant, addressed the audience with.
The Tree of Life installation by chocolatier Zeba Kohli perfectly captured the realities of the world through sculpted chocolate in the form of fishes, houses and guitars. Truly in every sense, the Cacao tree is the tree of life.
(From L-R): The stream champions for Art, Literature, Photography and Media were Rushina; Vikram Doctor, Editor, Special Features for Economic Times; Saba Gaziyani, Food Photographer and Food Stylist; and Ruchi Shrivastava, Co-founder, Greed Goddess Media. They spoke about a wide array of things ranging from doodling to journalism and recipe writing to food photography. They also emphasised on how food and media go hand in hand.
Nothing complements great food better than good music. The Culinary Chroniclers Conclave surely had all departments covered.
Dr. Mohsina Mukadam, Professor and Head of Department of History at Ramnarain Ruia College, Mumbai, spoke about unconventional methods of chronicling food stories such as manuscripts about Ayurveda. “It is important to know our ancestors' food habits and how it helped to chronicle our food,” she said.
Ruchi gave some valuable tips on how to shoot food videos. According to her, “Food is the beginning of communication and conversation.” Well, you can’t disagree with that now, can you?
(From L-R) Lalita Iyer, Author, Journalist and Columnist; Saee Koranne –Khandekar, Co-founder, Scrollific Content Studio and Author of Crumbs; and Shubra Chatterji, TV Producer; spoke about the various ways in which food recipes have been passed on for generations. Did you know folk songs and poems were one of the ways through which recipes were shared?
When industry veterans speak, you better be all ears. Vikram and columnist Marryam Reshii shed light on how to make a successful career as a food writer.
Sonal Ved, Food Writer and Cookbook Author, travelled the length and breadth of India to chronicle distinctive food habits in tiffins. With more than two years of research going into her book, there is bound to be interesting stuff in there.
Saba made chicken curry come alive, figuratively, in her masterclass. “The curry is the hero of your shoot, make it look like a hero,” she said.
(From L-R): Vikram, Saee, and filmmaker Jyotsna Shahane discussed how penning down a recipe is all about describing the process without making it look tedious.
Ankiet Gulabani, Founder and Editor of Belly Over Mind, explained what the best way to document a recipe is. What to include and what not to is what he stressed on. Not very different from Shakespeare’s to be or not to be, is it?
“If you have a pen and a paper, you can doodle the food you want. But it’s also important to have fun. If you aren’t having fun, tear up the page,” said Rushina during a session on food doodling.
Who would have thought food and romance could be blended together? Celebrity Chef Ranveer Brar said, “Just because right now there is a need for information, recipes, historical texts and research, do we want to lose the romance with food? I don’t think we should.”
(From L-R): Sourish Bhattacharyya, Columnist, Blogger and Co-founder of Tasting India Symposium; Antoine Lewis, Food and Wine Writer; and Anisha Rachel Oommen, Editor and Co-founder, The Goya Journal; discussed if the age of reviewing food is over.
Renowned journalist and columnist Vir Sanghvi spoke about how differently food is perceived around the world. “French cuisine is a collection of techniques while Italian and Indian cuisine is a collection of recipes,” he explained.
Ramesh Bhaskar, Head of YouTube Sales and Brand Advertising, India, listed his mantras to document food through digital videos.
Chef Varun Inamdar, Chocolatier and Host of The Bombay Chef, summed up what it takes to be a video star, “You need to start understanding what your audience is expecting of you.”
The power-packed day ended with the Culinary Chroniclers Hall of Fame. ArchaeoBroma, India’s first-ever nationwide conference on the archaeology, anthropology and sociology of food, was felicitated for its inspirational legacy of work. Rhea Mitra-Dalal collected the plaque from Sujit and Saee on behalf of the ArchaeoBroma team.
Vikram Doctor was felicitated by Varun and Marryam for his prolific inspirational work and continued commitment towards the art and craft of culinary chronicling.
Legendary chef Jiggs Kalra (who is also known as the Czar of Indian Cuisine) was felicitated with The Culinary Chroniclers Hall of Fame award.