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Developing the Indian Food Palate to International Standards

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With each new generation of customers that enters the market comes a new set of expectations with new tastes and new food habits. Consumers today like to experiment with new recipes, food fusions and world cuisines. The new generation chefs are able to fulfill this because of their creativity and innovation.
 
The session, "Developing Indian Food Palate to International Standards – Food Connoiseurs Share the Innovation in Trends," held on day two of the recently concluded India Food Service Forum 2014 saw food connoisseurs, master chefs and restaurateurs share innovations in trends. Panelist included Sandeep Pande, Executive Chef, Renaissance Convention Centre; Gauri Devidayal, Director, The Table; Kedar Bobde, Executive Chef, Hyatt Regency Mumbai; Chef Sudhir Pai, Executive Chef, Holiday Inn Mumbai International Airport; and was moderated by Riyaaz Amlani, MD, Smoke House Grill and Mocha Cafe.
 
Mumbai has always had access to a large number of hotels and restaurants that have offered international cuisines. However, in the past 10 years, there has been a huge explosion due to the influx of the exposure through media, a greater number of local consumers who have traveled abroad and who appreciate authentic international cuisines.
 
Key trends highlighted during the discussion were that Indians are no strangers to international food, however, the Indian consumer palate has changed. The country is also developing a taste for the subtleness provided by Californian or Japanese cuisine.
 
Gauri Devidayal, Co-founder of The Table, has encouraged patrons to not infuse their steaks with heavy sauces and instead enjoy the subtle taste of rare prime cuts.
 
The big challenge that chefs constantly face is ensuring consistency and quality of products used. Unlike in the West, where local ingredients are highly encouraged and are often a differentiating factor for a restaurant, such is not the case in India.
 
Larger five-star hotels often have a huge set of international guests (often over 60 percent) and so are forced to offer a menu that matches the standard expectations of a particular dish. Smaller restaurants that are standalone can, however, choose to experiment and offer a very eclectic menu.
 
The general consensus amongst the panelists was on the need to provide high quality food that is healthy and nutritious.