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Chef Amar Dwivedi, Executive Chef, Grand Mercure Gandhinagar GIFT City

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You will see a growing emphasis on farm-fresh ingredients and the emergent demand for hyper localised and unique flavours, opines Chef Amar Dwivedi, executive chef, Grand Mercure Gandhinagar GIFT City

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We are living in an era of social media wherein people relate, understand, land follow quickly if something is trending. The new hashtag floating around social media is #Vocalforlocal.

Go local, trust local and support competent and self-made India. Believe in Made-in-India and help the homegrown products and services grow. As an individual, you can put all your efforts and long-term plan for promoting swadeshi product and swadeshi companies which indirectly will boost the Indian economy.

For most youngsters, the first picture which comes to mind after hearing the word Swadeshi is Gandhi, Charkha, and Khadi. These three symbols, in today’s times, however, do not fully represent the spirit of Swadeshi. Just like Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011 mandatorily labels vegetarian food with a green dot and helps the customer to easily select vegetarian food. Similarly, we should have a swadeshi mark will allow easy distinction and selection of local products.

I want to take Make in India to an international level wherein Indian products are used in other parts of the world as well. I have realised the power and strength of our Indian heritage and culture.

Curating menus at Grand Mercure Gandhinagar GIFT City using local ingredients

India’s growth is seen not merely in big cities but also in smaller towns. There is tremendous growth across sectors, which has created deeper pockets. Initially, in hotels, guest wanted to try international cuisine, however, now they want more local flavours. Another factor playing a major role in the menus is the focus on seasonality of ingredients. As people travel and know more about different food and beverage dimensions, they insist on local ingredients. You will see a growing emphasis on farm-fresh ingredients and the emergent demand for hyper localised and unique flavours.

As we are located in Gandhinagar, Gujarat and surrounded by very fertile soil, it is very easy to get to farms and get fresh produce and thoughtfully set it in our own menus. I also believe in knowing our vendors, so we have the best opportunity in carefully serving our ingredients and products in the purest form possible.

All Day Dining Restaurant – Sangam

The one local ingredient your kitchen cannot do without

One ingredient that my kitchen cannot do without is Gujarati tuvar dal. It is a saying in Gujrat that ‘Jeni dal bagdi teno divas bagadyo’ (the day is ruined for one whose dal is ruined)- existence of such a phrase indicates the emphasis given to a flavourful dal. The morning aromas that linger out of a Gujarati kitchen can reveal whether the dal simmering on the stovetop is cooked perfectly or not because a good sense of smell will allow you to tell how good the dal is. As it is an everyday food in Gujrat, our kitchen always has this important ingredient. I had visited many local farms which produce Gujarati tuvar dal and also tasted their version of dal preparation. I was amazed with the aromatic flavours that they used. Starting from red sun-dried chillies to roasted peanut and from dried dated aka kharek in Gujarat to sweet jaggery- the flavour will captivate your taste buds.

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