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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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Inculcating Good Eating Habits in Children is a Challenge, Says Celebrity Chef

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It does take a little bit of time to get used to it, but you have to keep making these changes at home constantly.
Representational image. Pixabay

Celebrity chef Maria Goretti says it is difficult to inculcate good eating habits in children for long term benefits, especially in an age when television and internet rules.

“As a mom, I think this is the most difficult thing to do. Because no matter how hard I try and make things in air fryer, or bake them or boil with a sliver of butter, at the end, kids today have a mind of their own,” said Maria, who is married to actor Arshad Warsi.

“This is largely because of the exposure to television and internet. They know what’s going on and at home if you tell them to eat something healthy, they will ask to add some sauce or the other.

“So, as parents we must continue doing what’s right for them and eventually they will get it,” Maria told IANS in an email interview.

She also says that one should ensure nutritious intake in children from an early age.

“It should start when the child is really small and before he goes to school and checks out everyone’s tiffins. Because once they check out others’ tiffins, they come back home and start comparing,” she said.

It does take a little bit of time to get used to it, but you have to keep making these changes at home constantly.
It does take a little bit of time to get used to it, but you have to keep making these changes at home constantly.

Maria was a popular MTV VJ before she married Arshad. She also hosted TV show “Do It Sweet”, and made a special appearance in the movie “Salaam Namaste” along with her son Zeke Warsi.

Apart from a small role in a movie “Raghu Romeo” that was directed by Rajat Kapoor.

Nowadays she is busy with her cookery shows with the latest being her cooking classes at Mount Litera School International on Mother’s Day.

The school hosted an event for mothers with Maria who introduced her fellow guardians to healthy alternatives for snacks that were tasty yet nutritious.

Some of her interesting creations included Ragi pancakes made of Ragi flour, eggs, curd, and milk, giving a healthy twist to the regular flour-based pancakes.

Another unique substitute she presented was whipped soy cream as opposed to regular and calorie-laden whipped cream.

So what are the healthier option she prefers at home?

It does take a little bit of time to get used to it, but you have to keep making these changes at home constantly.
Chef. Pixabay

“I do bake pizza’s at home, and when I do so, I ensure I also make the sauce at home and not use the canned one. I ensure I put enough veggies on it and also roll out a really thin base so that flour to veggie ratio is minimum.

“I don’t like to use packed goods to put in my food and always prefer fresh food. In terms of pasta, I have switched from using the regular store-bought pasta to rice pasta which is gluten-free and really nice.

“It does take a little bit of time to get used to it, but you have to keep making these changes at home constantly.

“All mothers try to give the best to their children, but I feel mothers are somehow fighting the bigger demons of advertising against healthy food,” she said.

Also Read: Healthy Diet May Decrease the Risk of Hearing Loss in Women

Maria says that the healthiest thing you can pack for your kids is fruit and dry nuts. “It’s the healthiest and power packed food you can give them.

“Another thing I do is that I keep roasted chicken ready at home, and roll it up with chapati. I also keep Keema Kebab and hummus ready for a quick snack since that’s tasty as well as nutritious,” she said. (IANS)