'Vicky Goes Veg' The book launch with the chef himself at The Corner Courtyard1:35 PM
I am totally not a cookbook person. The recipes in a book, accompanied by beautiful clicks always make me restless, forces me to lift my bottom and enter the kitchen to create something similar. That urge is so overwhelming that nowadays, I completely have stopped entering the cookbook aisle in any bookshop. So when Chef Vicky Ratnani's book launch invite came along I was a little skeptical as I was sure that the chef with his infectious energy will have the same effect on me...and I was not wrong.
If you have watched his shows on NDTV then you know his passion for food. He not only innovates, cooks, creates dishes but constantly talks about it...he mixes, stirs, chops, blends and do n number of things all at same time yet makes it look so easy. So on the designated day I set out to meet the chef and his first book that is making the round for sometime.
The program was hosted by The Corner Courtyard, A boutique hotel on Hazra road. The hotel, with its beautifully curated 100 year old Colonial style building, in itself is quite impressive and I have heard rave reviews of its food from my fellow bloggers in Kolkata.
Before the function started We were given a copy of the book to go through and Boy did I like it. I had no intention to buy another cookbook but the book with its simple recipes, World class plating, styling and photography just stole my heart. The best part of this book is how it has incorporated local vegetables in World cuisine. i was not prepared to see a salad with cucumber ribbons and ivy gourd (kundru/kundli) or a pancake with raw mangoes. Truly delightful.
As you read on you get to experience an incredible journey, a beautiful vision with which this book was created. You can feel that energy, that passion with which he cooks. The colourful pictures not only creates interest but also shows his trips to the local markets, his camaraderie with the local vendors, lush and fresh local produce that encourage you to Think Global, eat local and go seasonal.
The book is divided in five sections. Tossed (salads), 'Blend n blitz' (soups), Party starters, One pot meals and sweet tooth (desserts). The Salad part is a delight to the eyes and the appetite. The vibrant beet and orange salad is like a beautiful artwork whereas the minted chickpeas n crispy okra salad is like a well balanced symphony of flavour and textures. The Party starters has varied recipes from across the World. The very Western Sweet potato fry got a nice Indian touch with Amla aioli or a Roesti made with yam and paired with zuchini relish. The one Pot meals are innovation at its best. Braised plantain with Thai spices, Eggplant and Bokchoy in Sambal, Hing roasted Pumkin or Red rice, root and bean burger are to name a few. I was little disappointed with very few dessert recipes but the lemon and basil pannacotta is in my to do list for sure.
The USP of this book is how it encourages you to innovate. Its a showcase of how a little tweak here a little tweak there can create such delightful dishes...It makes you sit up, take note and think out of the box. It has dishes from every continent and wherever possible the Chef has substituted the ingredients with locally available ones. The icing on the top is the numerous tips and tricks that the Chef has shared with the recipes. As Farhan Akhtar (the Star who relied on Vicky for his lean look for the movie Bhag Milkha bhag') most appropriately points out that 'Going green has never been more deliciously exciting!.."
Though I was little disheartened for not being able to see the Chef in action but was satisfied with the appetisers that the Kitchen served based on Vicky's recipes. The rocket, melon and radish salad was as refreshing as a breath of fresh air on hot summer days. The zingy Radish ribbons, peppery rocket leaves were so well balanced with sweet melon balls. The roasted pepper salad was out of the World delicious so were all the other dishazes that the in house Chefs prepared for this event.
At home we have been gawking at a number of dishes and the hubby and kid already have their list of favourites. I made the vegetable shephard's pie and Baked eggplant with plum tomato sauce. Both the times the dish was over before I could even think to take a decent picture. Will post a recipe from this book very soon.
Disclaimer: I was invited to the book launch event but bought the book myself. All the views are my own and no way influenced monetarily or otherwise.