The second edition of Chefs World Tour was hosted by Together At 12th, Gurgaon, on 24 and 25 July. The event brought seven internationally renowned chefs from different parts of the world together, to curate a unique meal made of global flavours.
All the culinary experts who participated in the event are the alumni of Noma, a two Michelin-starred restaurant in Copenhagen, Denmark, which has won many “Best Restaurant” awards. While these chefs went on to lead the best of kitchens around the world after their time at Noma, they have decided to conduct Chefs World Tour annually in different countries, so that more people can taste their specialties.
The first edition of Chefs World Tour was held at Hotel De Kaserne, Don Bosch in the Netherlands, and it received much acclaim from the industry. It was then that Chef Vanshika Bhatia, who was representing India at that event, decided to host the next edition in India. She wanted the chefs to share their experience, knowledge and understanding of the culinary arts with Indian diners. She said, “At that time I didn’t even have a restaurant. I just thought that not everyone has the opportunity to travel to various countries and eat at the best restaurants. So I wanted to bring these globally celebrated chefs here.”
Today, Bhatia co-owns Together At 12th, with the bar consultant, Nitin Tewari. About organising the event, he said, “The idea was to serve a meal that people understood and could connect to. Everything is indigenous here and we wanted to expand that concept with these dishes presented by international chefs.”
Held over a span of two days, the event was attended by an international delegation of chefs: Julian Fort from District Winery in Washington, D.C.; Rahul Sharma from Masque in Mumbai; Tom Brokmeijer from the two Michelin-starred restaurant t’ Nonnetje in the Netherlands; Sahil Sethi from Rooh in Chicago; Marten Verelst from Pollevie in the Netherlands; Severi Laitanen from Wilderness Guide in Finland; and the host, Vanshika Bhatia from Together At 12th in Gurgaon. The guests were served a nine-course meal for lunch and dinner at the event, and each chef served a course inspired by his or her home country.
Having worked at Noma together, the chefs were familiar with each other’s style. So in order to make the event more interesting, the chefs were asked to source the ingredients for the dishes they would prepare from an organic farm near Delhi. It was also mandatory for them to use at least one Indian ingredient. Chef Bhatia told us that most of the chefs here were initially taken aback by the high quality of Indian produce. She pointed out, “For them, it is very hot here. They didn’t think we have such nice and varied produce. When they went to the farm, they were shocked to see that everything grows here. They got almost all of the ingredients they needed.”
Being used to supermarket food, the Western chefs were delighted to find fresh produce in India. Chef Severi Laitanen from Finland said, “I have used dates in the course I have prepared. It’s common to have dates in supermarkets all over the world. We always find them dried. So, to actually be able to use fresh ones is amazing.”
Not only did these chefs find what they were looking for at the farm, they also came across new things. For instance, Chef Saveri found black chicken, which he decided to incorporate in his dish. “The main ingredient of my dish is now the black chicken, which I hadn’t even seen before. The meat and bones are all black. It’s quite fascinating.”
Saveri told us that the chefs are already planning the next edition of Chefs World Tour with this same crew.
Another chef at the event, Julian Fort from Washington, D.C., spoke to us about how the dishes he decided to serve at the event were inspired by India. He said, “I used local duck eggs for the traditional American dish, Eggs Benedict. Since my course was inspired by India, I made the Johnny Cake as a flat bread, which I found is a popular form of bread here. Keeping the vegetarian guests in mind, I also used mushrooms in a dish instead of ham, which is conventionally used in my country.”
Chef Sahil Sethi, whose Chicago restaurant, Rooh, has become famous for its progressive Indian offerings, replicated the same philosophy at the event. He mixed Burrata, the Italian dish, with the Indian comfort food Missi Roti.
The event was not only aimed at providing one of the best global food experiences, but was also focused on sustainability. The chefs utilised all the ingredients they had sourced in one form or another. For example, Chef Rahul Sharma from Mumbai did not even discard the fish bones. He said, “Fish is the main ingredient in my dish, but I didn’t want the bones to go to waste. So I cooked them and used them in the bread. It’s a Fish Bone Parantha served along with condiments because we Indians love to have that along with our meals.
These courses were well complemented by the drinks menu served at the event, which also had Indian influences and ingredients. The organisers had paid special attention to the non-alcoholic menu as well. Chef Vanshika Bhatia served the final course of the meal, which included Kheer, Beetroot Kombucha, Berry ice-cream and Bombay Sapphire gel.