The Mountain Series by Michael Swamy
A CHEFS place is in the kitchen or is it. To be a chef means to explore, the mountains of India hold a breath-taking beauty and an exotic cuisine. The HILLS of Kumaon and of the valleys at the base of the Himalayan range close to Nainital, encapture a myriad tales as one heads to Dhanachuli for it lies ensconced at the very top of those hills… a tiny little place with hamlets all around, the stone houses reminiscent of a different era. The winding hills of Kumaon and the Hills that hold the myriad towns (some still not featured on the map of India), are magical. This magic unfolds, the weather gets cooler and the air clearer and crisp with every passing mile. As you enjoy the smooth winding roads, pine forests, mountain birds, friendly people, and awe-inspiring scenery emerging through mist at every turn. The landscape changes from pine forests to apple and pear orchards and large cabbage patches attached to stone houses guarded by large mountain dogs.
RETURN TO THE MOUNTAINS is a discovery of the way people eat off the land. The food is rustic with a balance and simplicity of flavours that creates a nostalgic memory. Turning the food around to a new level is what the story is about. The MICHAEL SWAMY experience take you through the raptures of the mountains, the essence of THE SILVER FOREST, the magic of the river streams and culverts where the locals know of where water collects and is taken to the homes.
The Spa By Michael Swamy
A creation of EARTH GARDENS & SEA a menu called FOREST is different and experimental. the eurasian menu takes a modern twist to new age cooking. the style of the food is pushing the health conscious and the traveller to eat better when they travel. Local dishes in a new avtar. pushing the boundaries of a clientele that is used to a certain type of food, its a chefs duty to give them due value for money at the same time maintaining the health of the guest. the in-house organic farm is home to a series of vegetables and the sheer value of the nutrients is an added bonus to it all. The well manicured property stands out on the edge of the jungle and the many species of birds flitting about lend a certain tranquility to the place. Experince the cuisine designed by Chef Michael and his team of young chefs. A cuisine that fits even a Michelin styled restaurant and an experience that aims to deliver quality and flavour.
The Jungle Series
Earth Land & Forests Venues: Jim’s Jungle Retreat Corbett, The Riverwoods Forest Retreat Dooars, Sunderban Tiger
Chef Michaels particular passion for nature and wildlife has taken this chef out of kitchen confines and led him to creating a genre of food inspired by nature, one part of which is curating culinary experiences in the wild.
As someone who not only believes in the conservation of wildlife but also conservation of Indian regional cuisine and culture, Chef Michael’s curated culinary experiences take a loot at how food can be created in sync with nature without disturbing the subtle harmony. He not only demonstrates cooking techniques which are earthy and rustic but also explains concepts like foraging, which are the need in today’s day and age of rapid damage to nature.
Each experience is curated in the wilderness taking participants on a unique journey where they leave behind a busy tech world and enter the world of the jungle. The experience also incorporates culinary food festivals through dinners, Theme-based Food Festivals, Art & Cultural events
Set in the heart of South Delhi, NUEVA is a stand-alone fine dining restaurant, with a limited menu, infused with different flavours and techniques culled from the homely kitchens across the continent of South America. NUEVA is a reflection of regional cuisines from various countries like Chile, Peru, Argentina, Cuba seen through the eyes of a historian chef. The menu reflects not only the indigenous ingredients and foods consumed by the mighty Mayans, Aztecs and Incas but also the techniques, ingredients and dishes brought to the land by it’s many invaders and immigrants like the Spanish conquistadors, Dutch & Portuguese tea merchants, French coffee merchants, Arab traders, Asian & African slaves etc.
The beautifully crafted restaurant is designed to give three concepts within a single space – fine dining at an affordable price, food and service worthy of a Michelin Star restaurant and authentic flavours with a modern presentation with an emphasis on nature.
The unique bar menu draws inspiration from the Spanish concept of Tapas and is designed for people who want to eat or snack at the bar without wanting a full meal. The tapas are designed on seasonal and local produce. Strong notes on organic and fresh farm produce.
The Peppermill Bistro
The open air restaurant is unique and has a fine sense of design to it. Created by the owners Mr. Faizan the restaurant is quite forward thinking in its approach and the dynamism is seen in its entrepreneural owner.
The Bowl House
Created by Food Intellect, the concept of the Bowl house took off on the Asian concept of eating out of bowls. The journey of the Bowl house has since expanded from Pune to Vashi and Ghatkopar in Bombay. The food is purely Asian but had the distinct touch of the familiar and created with the concept of feeding everyone. It was a universal concept which is relatable to a wider audience
6th Street Cafe
The little 50 seater cafe was built in Koregaon park Pune. Smartly designed along the courtyard of the beverly Hills Hotel. The restaurant catered to the Gentry of Pune and the who’s who during its short span of a year. The food was French and designed to alleviate the subtle palates of the expat community in and around Pune.
Art Inspires Food – Masters Of Abstract Art with SAAG and Art Centrix
A food buff history wise, food tourism is usually seen through a realm of culture. For as a chef myself and one who travels a fair bit, I see that chefs have turned artists of a different kind over the years with many chefs even delving in the world of food styling. Chefs building up chefs by staying in the backend kitchens on food shows. Their art rarely coming into the forefront due to the hosts and channels refusal to give them credit. Its not about reinventing the wheel but all about being innovative.
It is all about showmanship at the end of the day.
Styling the plate and even restaurants these days is sometimes all around the chef. While food styling is a highly specialised field, it relies heavily on ones knowledge of food but with and artistic touch. A great deal of patience and making the food speak for itself.
The trend of minimalistic and where less is more, One of the new elements of late is the use of micro greens and traces of edible flowers. These final touches lighten a plate and give a different aspect to food. Its not so much aping or replicating its taking an idea and building on it is what counts. Food and culture go hand in hand and while culture may hold certain things back certainly there is nothing that can hold ones creativity and sometimes necessity is often the mother of invention. And while the invention is taking place it is important for a chef to know his basics and the origins of a cuisine.
The other visual art is the change of dynamics in the crockery being used. Large plates hold a minuscule portion while black tile accentuates the food. Nouvelle styles serving ware , fine crystal, you name it chefs are investing in it to make a style statement.
LE CREUSET, world’s leading cookware brand famous for its cast-iron products, hosted a live cookout session with the renowned celebrity Chef Michael Swamy showcasing the best of world cuisine in the all new collection from Le Creuset at their newly launched Flagship store in Infinity Mall, Mumbai.
Chef Michael Swamy prepared cuisines consisting of some of his personal favorites such as “Curried Corn Soup”,“Spiced Salad with Cider Vinegar Reduction and Asian spice” and “Mixed Berries with Flavored Cream”. These tantalizing and scrumptious dishes were cooked live inside the Le Creuset store, prepared and served in Le Creuset products. Guests were able to interact with the chef throughout the cookout to recreate the magic at home.
“It is a complete honour to associate with a brand like Le Creuset for a cookout session since such sessions are creative, fun and interactive and where you meet like minded people wanting to share the same experience; and what better experience than cooking in a beautiful cookware brand like Le Creuset”.
Established in 1925, Le Creuset, the iconic French cookware brand, is among the top three-cookware brands of the world. The brand that has glamourized and redefined kitchens all over the world for over 90 years is now all set to wow the Mumbai audience with their entire range of cookware; the brand also has 4 Exclusive Brand Stores across Delhi NCR.
Ankur Damani, Head – India and SAARC, Le Creuset said “We at Le Creuset are excited to associate with Chef Michael Swamy for this event to showcase the essence of Le Creuset products for an exquisite culinary experience”.
While Le Creuset produces world’s best cookware and accessories for a quintessential kitchen, it stands out in its design, vibrant and distinct colors as well as versatility, meant for preparing, cooking and serving, in Le Creuset style. Le Creuset aims at not just being a cookware brand but a lifestyle.
YPO (Young Professionals Organisation
The annual YPO event at the HYATT Goa was a grand success, Chef Michael and team curated 11 stalls serving various Goan cuisines from famous eateries around Goa. From Chef Martins to stalls from Antares and the Mandovi Hotel the food was enjoyed by all and it was full of fun and laughter and some great champagne and a humungous bar.
One can go down in history, but for me it takes me down memory lane… to the many teas at the Taj’s café in my youth… to the grown up days of high tea at the Tea Centre… to a formal tea setting of damask and lace at my aunt’s place in Nairobi. It’s a culture that the British have left us with and it’s still the one that has a sense of elegance. ‘That’ cup of tea brings people together in a way that one cannot even imagine.
The sounds of the familiar clink of porcelain or bone china, as one walks into a room with tea cups on a tray, laden with food, a scene all together familiar in an Indian home. A routine ritual you might call it, and its even more fun when it’s the monsoon or when one has unexpected guests come over.
I sometimes dream a dream of the not so distant past. A world of youth when dreams were real and one could conquer the world. A world where “Nana” would sometimes take out the silver tea set, the leaves would be spooned into the tea pot and hot water poured over and allowed to simmer. The tea set of blue and lilac would be taken out on special occasions (read birthdays and anniversaries). The damask napkins and tiny cutlery was polished and wiped cleaner than clean.
Bring back the days when we were young! The memories come cascading down around the ‘cuppa’. The words “High tea” conjure up images of the Mad Hatter’s Party and Alice sitting at the table covered with silly foods.
Indian Cultural Festival Miami
Miami Calling: Travelling to Miami and doing a culinary workshop is everyones dream destination. The different kinds of food and the visit to a Daniel Bulud restaurant was a bargain deal. Meeting and interacting with international chefs and to top it all cooking for the whos who in Miami.
A culinary charity dinner for 100 of Miami’s esteemed doctors and socialites curated by Avani Patel and Her Brother Ankur Patel the President of the Indian Association in Miami. tThe second day catered to a 3,000 strong crowd who came for a cultural event and for the food. Chef Michaels stall was helped assisted by International chefs who came and helped at the event. It was an enormous gathering and the food was a sell out.
Te Aroha (Kumaon Literature Festival) A Himalayan Repast with 18 year old Glenfiddich
A trip through Ireland for uisce beatha “water of life.”
When you look at Scotch you wont be surprised that the highest sale of it is in India. What makes scotch so special is something that beats me. For there is something magical about single malts and good old whiskey. It wasn’t till I was in my thirty’s that I took a liking to this golden beverage.
But moving on one should take on the challenge of moving away from the 32 blends that make up India’s favourite a Johnnie Walker. Glenfiddich is a scotch that blends well easily with Indian food. It is a good single malt that comes from a single distillery from Scotland and is aged for years in wooden casks which give it its distinct “oakey” and slightly oily feel. Good malt must be drunk from a glass that tapers at the mouth, trapping the aromas and sending them straight to your nose as you sip. You never down it in one gulp but roll it around your palate and imbibe all the flavour distinguished by a salty and smoky aroma which only increases with the age of the scotch. These warm flavours linger on your tongue and being so complex, are usually difficult to combine with the spiciness of Indian food.
The mountains of India, the atmosphere and nature of the atmosphere was conducive, the Boutique hotel divine to create magic with the local flavours and pair them two nights in a row with 18 year old Scotch.
Courtyard By Marriott Bangalore 2017
Fourpoints Sheraton Bangalore
Pairing Indian Food with wine can be easy but when it comes to pairing Beer with food and even cooking with beer, brought about a whole new experience. The culinary experience was done at the Fourpoints Sheraton in Whitefields Bangalore. The experience was done with several bloggers and food writers.Chef Mangilal Kurly who has been appointed as the Executive Chef at Four Points by Sheraton Bengaluru cooked the Dahakte Jhinga (Prawns) in a flambe style. It was wonderful to know that Chef Kurly has over 19 years of professional experience in hotels like Kempenski hotels, JW Marriott, Courtyard by Marriott and even Marriott Beijing
Fairfield Marriott Bellandur
This business hotel of the Marriott brand. The comfortable rooms and excellent food is what keeps clients returning again and again. The promotional launch of its new menu and culinary workshop along with the Executive chefs was fun and invigorating. I did this wonderful session with theFairfield by Mariott hotels in Bangalore. Each respective Executive chef did his favourite dish and I did my take of a local fare from the region they had cooked from. A fun filled afternoon with a series of bloggers and food writers who came and tasted and enjoyed all that was there to be offered.
Florida February 2016 ” Palm Beach India Festival
The Pam Beach India festival showcased a beautiful charity dinner, curated and cooked by Michael Swamy. It did not just stop there, the beautiful outdoor event the next day catered to over 3000 people and the food was a grand success. Here are some pics too!
Jims Jungle Retreat Corbett
Cooking at a culinary workshop in the plains of Kumaon is a heady feeling. The outback is fun and full of adventure. Giving back to nature is what life is all about. When we use the fruits and the forests and the labour of ones hands we have a better understanding of what the world is all about.
Jim’s Jungle Retreat, Corbett Tiger Reserve, in association with Michael Swamy, LCB chef, food stylist and award-winning food writer is pleased to announce a 3-day culinary and wildlife experience as part of the recently launched Jim’s Jungle Gourmet Club.
Jim’s Jungle Retreat is the brainchild of Daleep Akoi who has made a considerable change to the façade of Corbett and is endeavouring to improve the conditions of the locals by way of awareness, schools and jobs.
We invite you to experience the diversity of Indian and nouvelle cuisine, the wild landscapes of Corbett Tiger Reserve (home to nearly 600 bird species, 55 mammals and 33 kinds of reptiles), which will provide a salubrious jungle environment for learning and celebration.
This March, savour the magic of traditional Kumaoni cuisine as well as its Modern Indian avatar in the midst of the wild with celebrity chef Michael Swamy as your host and guide.
Enjoy the luxurious hospitality of JJR while you re-acquaint yourself with Nature with long walks and bicycle rides through the woods, go fishing with the local fishermen and visit a local village as part of the enchanting jungle soiree.
Curating this event and introducing you to the delightful cuisine of the Kumaoni plains is acclaimed chef and wildlife enthusiast Michael Swamy, whose in-depth study of the history of several cuisines has earned him the distinction of being called “the historian chef”. His love for nature and wildlife is also reflected in his style of cooking which makes maximum use of local ingredients at hand that can be made on a crackling bonfire in the middle of a jungle as well.
Having studied at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu in London, trained under Michelin chefs such as Claire Clark, Filip Tibos and Patrik Martin, and a Gourmand Award-winning author himself, Chef Michael believes in taking food and cuisine beyond the confines of a dinner table. In his goal to establish food as a medium of expression, he has worked extensively to encourage the application of media skills to promote culinary excellence and innovation. He is an authority on East Indian cuisine and is considered a pioneer of Modern Indian cuisine.
The 1st ever issue of the ‘Incredible Chef’ magazine by the Indian Culinary Forum is out! And our very own Chef Michael Swamy makes an appearance on the cover alongside chefs Sanjeev Kapoor and Veena Arora.
Chef Michael’s article titled “Street Food – Street Smart or Clinical?” delves into the much debated topic of street food being served on the roadside Vs. street food being served in fine-dining restaurants. Taking into consideration various factors like hygiene, cost and most importantly, consumer satisfation, Chef Michael highlights the current scenario of street food in India.
Pairing Food & Wine with Pernod a 5 city tour 2015
Pairing Indian Food With Wine
“Here With A Loaf Of Bread Beneath The Bough. A Flask Of Wine, A Book Of Verse And Thou Beside Me Singing In The Wilderness. And Wilderness Is Paradise now.” - Omar Khayyam, Rubaiyat Demystifying wine for an Indian palate is never easy. The idea that our curries and pulaos can be enjoyed with something as ‘swanky’ as wine is unfathomable to most people, but it is possible, and is being done worldwide with Indian restaurants not far behind. The upswing of foreign wines to local shores has had an impact on one’s lifestyle.
With wine importers like Pernod, Brindco, Finewinesnmore and Diageo bringing in a range of imported wines to India, we are spoilt for choice. What started out as a couple of glasses at a plush party or meal is now fast becoming a daily norm in today’s upper echelons of society. The tendency towards drinking spirits, whisky, rum or white spirits with some oily snacks, and then moving to the dinner table has changed. Rather than being looked down upon as just a substitute for that glass of water at the dinner table, wine is slowly and surely gaining the interest, respect and adoration it deserves.
Given the versatility of the art of Indian cooking, its composition, comprehension and diversity, it would take a lifetime to assimilate. In a land where tradition holds firm, change is very slow. Delving in to gain an insight into Indian food, one has to realise what spice and flavours is all about. It’s not about a slap dash of curry powder thrown into a dish as most westerners would like to believe. The Indian kitchen is a complexity of spices and flavours in a land where spice is king. Every herb or spice plays a pivotal role in the build-up of a dish; each spice follows a particular order before being put into a dish.
We did a 5 city tour with Pernod which culminated in a beautiful dinner in Gurgaon at the Palm Springs Resort, who laid out a unique spread and was served up with Jabob’s Creeks range of wines.
With Gary Mehigan and George Calamboris at the Hyatt in Mumbai
With Maharana Arvind Singhji of Mewar at Nawab Saheb
Tucked away in the recesses of Powai lies the Renaissance Mumbai Hotel. The hotel is part of the JW Marriott group. Travelling there can be quite a hassle but once one is ensconced in the hotel one can relax. The charming atmosphere made more romantic due to the breath-taking view of the lake and not overly decorated hotel shows its class in a not so overt a manner.
Having got the opportunity to meet with His Highness, The Maharaja of Udaipur, one did not waste time in getting to understand the nuances of Rajasthani cuisine which the Maharana (Shreeji, as he is addressed) readily explained with a sense of nonchalant camaraderie. He stresses that the need of the day for anyone and everyone is to understand what one is eating. “There is a reason why the people of earlier times were much healthier than us” he says. “They only followed seasonal diets – that is to say, they understood and respected the fact that nature provided certain things only during certain seasons for a reason. If you follow the practise of eating only what is in season, your body will easily be able to absorb nutrition.” “Also, the techniques and equipment that were used to cook food, were all drawn from what the region had to offer. Of course, it definitely also aided the flavours to come out well. Anyone will agree that a roti (bread) grilled on a clay griddle tastes much different than one done on an iron griddle.” He also discussed the necessity for people to understand the fact that each ingredient stands for much more than just flavour. He justifies this point by using the example of turmeric, “Turmeric is not used in food only because it lends a rich yellow colour. It is has healing properties, antiseptic properties, digestive properties. When used in combination with certain other spices, it aids metabolism. It has the power to strengthen the immune system.” When asked what he thinks of Indian food as a global phenomenon with special stress on Rajasthani cuisine making it to the global plate, he agrees that it is high time that the world recognizes the fact that there is much more to Indian food than Chicken Tikka Masala, “which in fact, isn’t even truly Indian!” he says with a smile. “Truth be told,” he states, “if one were to sum up what the world has seen about real Indian cuisine or the numerous cuisines and cultures that make up the fabric of India, it would amount to a tiny sliver.”
A great dinner hosted at the Hyatt with Chef Matt Moran by the Australian Consulate
Spent two days in the kitchens of Chef King of Langhams Singapore, a 2 michelin chef