Change in the only constant and there cannot be a better example of it than the food scene in India. For example, when I was young, after school snacks were in the form of piping hot samosas laid down on the table for us to gorge on. For my kids though it’s totally different – they raid the kitchen themselves – picking up whatever they fancy – a pinch of this, a dash of that and create a brand new dish each time or something that they are familiar with, but customized to their specifications.

Basically they are a lot more involved in the kitchen than any of us were and this is true for a chunk of the younger lot! The main reason for this transformation or revolution is that cooking is now glamorous, it is not just a chore which you do cause breakfast, lunch and dinner must be eaten it is a lot more!

Days where cooking at home is a woman’s job and eating out was reserved to birthdays and anniversaries are long gone. The current generation of foodies in our country is a very curious bunch and what they have on their side is something which wasn’t as prevalent say two decades ago – the internet. The World Wide Web and internet technology has exposed people to so many possibilities and options that people are becoming more experimental in their food endeavors. I mean how remarkable is it that you can put up queries online about where to eat a decent Chinese meal in South Mumbai and have hundreds of people replying with useful feedback. 

India’s economy too is headed in the right direction; people are earning more, they are traveling more and are being exposed to new, international cultures and cuisines with food being an integral part of the adventures. This boom in the economy has also made India, a hot spot for tourists. We see a lot of foreigners travelling to India both on business and pleasure and they carry back pleasant memories of Indian food, much more than fiery curries and spicy biryanis.   Only recently I had the pleasure of cooking for our PM, Mr. Narendra Modi and over breakfast we had a small chat about the role of food in assisting Indian tourism, not agriculture but food. So you can see and understand how important it has become.

Also there has been a very smart modernization of Indian cuisine over the past decade. When you have a culinary heritage as rich as ours, not much needs to be changed – just a little out of the box thinking. There is no dearth of chefs and even home cooks who are putting in their all to create new stylized versions of traditional fare. Futuristic cooking techniques like sous vide, compressing, cryogenic freezing, molecular gastronomy, pressure grilling and dehydrating are not just fancy but also have a lot of benefits attached to them. You can present a food in avatars you never imagined. Gaggan in Bangkok for one is a great example of how you can play with food – Indian food to be more precise.

The emergence of lesser known regional cuisines, fermented foods, degustation menus, herbal liqueurs and edible flowers are all emerging trends this season. Look out for this whole new category of wonder ingredients that have been on our menus since ancient times, make a comeback in the super food category. Besides, people are becoming more aware and interested in what they eat so we are going to see a lot of healthy fresh food, low-fat cooking techniques, smaller portions with emphasis on styling and presenting a good looking wholesome dish.

Another great opportunity for those who have a passion for food, but do not want to engage in the business full time lies in pop up restaurants. It gives you the liberty to do things your way and reach out more people through your food.  Anyone, right from professional chefs to home cooks passionate about their food, to high end restaurants wanting to test waters in a new market can be part of a pop up, mainly because the functionality of it is simple, nothing fancy needed.

Also internationally, vegetarianism is quite the emerging trend, with more people than ever turning vegetarian or even vegan and India being a predominantly vegetarian country we should totally capitalize on this. It is said that for every non vegetarian dish available across the globe, there is a vegetarian option prepared in our country and this is what I’d like to believe is going to be one of our biggest assets.
So when it comes to growth and opportunities, there really are plenty in the Indian food industry it is just about how you make the most of  it. Food and love are synonyms – find out what you love to do and dive into it steadfast. Don’t worry about ‘log kya kahenge’ or think about failure – Work hard in silence and let success do the talking and never stop believing in yourself. It is one of the most fulfilling things to do in life – sharing something that you’re passionate about with others and when that passion is food the joy just doubles up. Trust me!



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