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Chef David Rocco: Indian culture reflects in its cuisine

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New Delhi: David Rocco, Italian-Canadian chef visited India five times in the last three years and calls India his “second home”. It’s interesting how the culture of the country reflects through its cuisine, he said.

Rocco has explored India as part of a TV show for channel FOX Life. For the second season of the Italian-Indian culinary adventure “David Rocco Dolce India”, he returned to the nation and visited lesser-known locales to uncover some hidden gems.

“It was really cool discovering these unique and diverse communities throughout India and seeing how their cultural influences are reflected in the cuisine,” Rocco said in an email interview from Toronto.

Through his show, which airs in over 150 countries including India, he introduces viewers to the Portuguese influence in Goa, the Chinese community in Kolkata and the holiest of Punjabi traditions in Amritsar, while sampling plenty of culinary delights along the way.

“I was first introduced to Indian food many years ago, but having Indian food in India is a totally different experience than outside of India. And of course making my first Indian dish was a little intimidating, but I’ve learnt a lot since then in terms of ingredients and technique.

“In season two of my show, I’m much more comfortable with the process and I really start to play around with certain dishes, combining flavours that north and south Indians might never have even thought to work with,” said Rocco, whose first attempt at Indian food was a ‘dal’ (lentil) and he found it “pretty straightforward” in making.

The author of three cookbooks, Rocco has travelled the world over. But he said “I’m attracted to India for its diversity and the warmth of its people”.

He is also fascinated with the importance given to food and family in the Indian culture, which he finds “so diverse, from region to region”.

In his show, he says he fuses his own style of cooking with Indian ingredients as “inspiration”.

“You could call it the easy Indian approach. I’m really being an ambassador to the people outside of India, helping them see how accessible Indian cooking can be,” he added, stressing that localisation of global cuisine is “an incredibly common thing around the world”.

“For instance, McDonalds is different everywhere you go! If you look at Italian food, you can get it pretty much everywhere in the world lasagne, pizza and pasta are probably some of the most universally liked dishes that you can get in any major city across the globe. Is it authentic? Most likely not.

“But if someone truly enjoys the taste of the ‘local’ version, or it inspires them to take up cooking or even take a trip to Italy some day, I don’t see anything wrong with that.”(IANS)(image:davidrocco.com)

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Chef Colibri Jimenez Talks About Mexican Cuisine

Mexican cuisine is so varied, you can never stop learning

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Mexican cuisine
Mexican food is known for its variety of flavours. Lifetime Stock

BY SIDDHI JAIN

We saw her competing with star chefs from around the world in Netflix’s grand culinary contest “The Final Table”. One of the 24 best chefs of the world chosen, Chef Colibri Jimenez is an authority on Mexican cuisine.

Author of the book eUna Aventura Gastronomica’ in which she shares stories and photographs about her journey around Mexico and its most remote corners, Chef Colibri first got interested in Mexican cuisine due to the centuries-old rich culture behind it.

“What excites me is the different flavours and ingredients there are in Mexican cuisine. It’s complex but it’s interesting because you never stop learning and researching all the different flavours Mexico gave to the world,” she told IANSlife.

The culinarian likes to uncover the hidden gems in Mexico, and frequently travels around the Mexican countryside for it.

Mexican cuisine
Mexican cuisine is famous due to the centuries-old rich culture behind it. Lifetime Stock

“The vanilla plantations and cocoa plantations are a treasure. There are secrets of coloured corn. In central Mexico, they find blue corn, purple corn, red corn, which are all hidden gems that tourists should visit.”

Colibri, who has been in the industry for 11 years, heads Aventura Gastronomica, a company dedicated to the investigation and preservation and promotion of ancient Mexican culinary traditions.

Asked about her experiences in “The Final Table” last year, she said It was a life-changing experience and she made many good friends that are now family. “It was also challenging to compete with Michelin-star chefs all over the world, some of them much older than me,” she added.

Also Read- Bhumi Pedneker Calls Herself a ‘Restless Actor’

On the worldwide fame of Mexican food, Colibri said: :People love it, and it’s always a pleasure to share one’s own culture with other cultures. People love to eat more tacos!”

She is currently in India on the invitation of CRED, and is conducting specialised culinary masterclasses in different cities. “I am teaching them how to make fresh salsa, traditional guacamole and Xni-pec Salsa from the state of Yucatan in southeast Mexico.” (IANS)