Chefs reimagining Indian food in foreign locales

From Paris to New York, Indian chefs are flying high across the globe and reinventing Indian cuisine in unique ways

27 Jan 2022

From ‘Rasta Sandwich’ to Malabari Chicken Biryani and Kathi Rolls, a slew of Indian chefs are sweeping the globe by dishing up regional and local cuisine. As palates get globalised, Indian chefs and restaurateurs are on a mission to push aside stereotypes associated with our desi food. Here’s looking at chefs who are firing a culinary storm with their innovative touches in foreign locations.

Chef Hari Nayak, Sona

Chef, restaurateur and author Hari Nayak is also a culinary consultant based in New York City with a host of restaurants like Masti, Bombay Bungalow and Moombai & Co. Hailing from Udupi in Karnataka, Nayak has fond memories of home cooking, especially classic coastal Indian food. As an Indian living in the USA and craving for home food, he slowly started to change the perception of desi food by making lighter versions of Indian dishes.

He recently teamed with actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas for his newest venture Sona in New York. Sona is a “refined, modern interpretation of a classic neighborhood French brasserie.” Inspired by the bustling seaside atmosphere of 1930s’ Bombay with Art Deco buildings, Sona’s eclectic menu consists of Golgappa Shots, Gunpowder Gobhi, Calcutta Mutton Cutlet, Octopus Ghee roast, Crab Puri, Kofta Korma, Gruyere Cheese Dosa and Malabar Chicken Biryani.

Chef Preeti Agarwal, Kricket Club, Seattle

After establishing Meesha in Fremont during the pandemic, Preeti Agarwal, an Indian chef born and raised in Uttar Pradesh, has opened Kricket Club, which is her tribute to India’s social clubs and exclusive hangouts. Whether it’s through unusual curries or complex marinades, Kricket Club aims to bring “authentic dishes mixing royal recipes from Maharaja Palaces with favourites from the humble Indian street food stalls.”

The menu spans cocktail-friendly bar snacks and larger family-style plates with detail-oriented dishes. The hot favourites in small plates include Gilafi Kebabs and Ceviche Tadka, Calcutta Khichdi and Kerala Macchi in large plates and Rajbhog kulfi in desserts.

Chef Manoj Sharma, Jugaad, Paris

Delhi-born Chef Manoj Sharma, who has previously worked at MG Road in Paris, breaks stereotypes about Indian food using local ingredients in his restaurant. From Cote de Pork Iberique to Malai Salmon to Tuna Bhel, and Gunpowder Calamari Fritters, Sharma’s food is a sensual journey with a riot of Indian flavours. His signature dishes are delicately dressed starring vegetables and fresh herbs with an interplay of colours.

Chef-partner Chintan Pandya and restaurateur Roni Mazumdar, Dhamaka, New York

Roni Mazumdar and Chintan Pandya choose to star ingredients in their inventive and innovative dishes. And their not-so-secret ingredient is the freshness. Most items on Dhamaka’s menu are cooked in traditional Indian vessels like clay pots and cast iron. The tagline of Dhamaka is “This is the other side of India, the forgotten side of India.” The ‘unapologetic Indian’ menu has Beguni, Ragda Pattice, Tabak Maaz, Rajasthani Khargosh, Goat Neck Dum Biryani and Ghee Bhat as signature dishes. The partners’ ultimate goal is to expand well beyond New York.

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Chef Hari Nayak Chef Chintan Pandya Roni Mazumdar Chef Preeti Agarwal Chef Manoj Sharma
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