A fresh take on food: Farm-to-table is the new gourmet in Delhi
It can’t get better than this for health-conscious gourmands! City chefs have sped up their efforts to popularise farm-to-fork gourmet. This practise involves production of seasonal ingredients at farms, without any chemicals or pesticides, and bringing diners fresh produce infused with local flavours.
“With the rise in the usage of synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers in farming, the produce is no longer healthy for consumption. To tackle this , a lot of emphasis is being laid on organic farming. We are going back to the organic way of growing and using produce to provide our diners with a healthier meal,” says Chef Ajay Anand, Hotel Pullman, Aerocity. After practising the concept in France, the chef introduced farm-to-table gourmet at the hotel’s restaurant - Pluck. “I learned the farm-to-table concept in France when I worked for Michelin starred Chef Georges Blanc. His idea of making his own kitchen garden influenced me. We offer the freshest ingredients in our seasonal menu that is fused with local flavours. We pick up the ingredients just before dishing out a meal. The satisfaction of cooking and serving what you have grown yourself is unmatched,” he says. Their menu boasts of Scallop Carpaccio with Truffle and Cauliflower; Parmesan Burnt Garlic with Oat Meal Streusel roll over Melba; Quinoa Broccoli Cake; Roasted Cod Candied Orange with Lentil Stew; Madeira Jus and Burnt Butter and Matcha; Green Tea Custard with Preserved Lychee and Jasmine Rice.
Caara Café uses ingredients from its farms.
Another eatery in the city practising this trend is Caara Café, Kasturba Gandhi Marg. “We believe in bringing cooking back to its origins. We take vegetables from our own chemical-free farms, plan menus around the seasons and create dishes that celebrate this produce. Fast food is so removed from fresh produce with the evolution of preservatives and additives. This is what we want to change. We have Superfood Salad (that has rocket, beetroot, pumpkin, pumkin seeds, raisins, pomegranate, broccoli and feta); Tomato, Mozzarella and Pesto Panini; Watermelon, Feta, Basil Salad with Balsamic Vignette, Zucchini Linguine with Pesto and Crushed Peanuts. We keep changing the ingredients to try and use as much of our own-grown veggies. Our new menu will have Spinach, Kale and Tomato Shakshouka; Mini Foccacia with Cherry, Tomato, Zucchini and Beans,” says Ambika Seth, co-owner.
Dusit Devrana produces seasonal crops at their farm.
Chef Nishant Choubey, Dusit Devarana, says gourmands love the idea of having their meals made of fresh, chemical-free ingredients. “Farm -to-table is a very interesting and evolving concept. Today, customers don’t just want to eat food that is just delicious or well-presented. They want something which is fresh and rich in nutrients. All our ingredients are locally grown in our farm. We want all our diners to taste these ingredients in their just-picked glory. I foresee that the concept of health bars, first-press juices, protein shakes and other high fibre food is really going to takeover in the future,” he says. You can try Organic Khichdi with Spiced Tofu and Salsify; steamed farmed Fish with Lime and Chilli; Organic Beetroot Salad with Quinoa, Poached Plum and Toasted Sesame and Andaman Tuna with Wasabi and Yuzu at the resort in Samalkha, NH-8.
The farm-to-table concept has gone online, too. InnerChef lets you order fresh food with just a click of your mouse. “We are actively pursuing farm-to-fork strategy across five cities ( Delhi NCR, Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai and Hyderabad). Our idea is to develop a network of local farms across India and source our fruits and vegetables directly from the local farms. In fact ,we are launching a new salad soon for which we are sourcing from a Delhi-based farm,” says Rajesh Sawhney, co-founder of the online platform.