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    Turned out to be a ‘something of everyone’ sort of week, with multiple offerings in food, fashion, music and art. One of the weekend’s big events was Sidney Sladen’s 10th anniversary, marked by a fashion show at The Leela Palace, choreographed by Sunil Menon. For the uninitiated, the audience itself would’ve been enough to get an idea of Sidney Sladen as a person, artist and brand. As the crowd waited for show to begin, friends and supporters of the designer took turns to say a few words, many sharing stories of ‘how it all began’. In keeping with tradition, actor Samantha closed the show, all smiles, in a sweeping gown, even getting Trisha to join the gang on stage for the final bow.

    Meanwhile, The Madras Musical Association presented Rendezvous, a fundraiser at the Sir Mutha Concert Hall, partnering with the Indian National Youth Orchestra and the Vienna Music University. The musical extravaganza saw renowned conductor Vijay Upadhaya, as the 135-piece orchestra entertained the audience with the music of Brahms, Vivaldi and Grieg. They were then joined by a 100-voice choir for a choral presentation of Tamil, Malayalam and folk songs, set to orchestra composed by Vijay himself.

    Earlier on in the week, Evoluzione presented the Tree of Life by Rahul Mishra, who after a whirlwind season, was able to make a quick stop in Chennai. His ability to make modern shapes and traditional craftsmanship blend seamlessly drew in the crowds. The ladies loved his flowy gowns and hand worked jackets and were more than happy to seek his expert opinion.

    This Friday saw the grand finale of the Baking MADras contest, organised by the Murugappa Group and Old Madras Baking Company with The Raintree, Anna Salai.

    Finalists got to take up a MasterChef-style Madras Mystery Box challenge, where they had to come up with a dish featuring ragi flour, jaggery, idli podi and sambar onions.

    Judged by restaurateur Sandesh Reddy, socialite Vidya Gajapathi Raju, chef Hushmoin Patell of The Raintree, and G Ramprasad, president,Murugappa Group, the event was attended by several food bloggers.

    Elsewhere, Park Hyatt Chennai launched their new restaurant Beyond Madras at The Dining Room, inviting guests to, in a sense, take a trip down memory lane. With a focus on the bygone years and flavours from the past, the experience reminded many of time spent in grandma’s kitchen. Greeted by a fresh kolam and strings of jasmine, the mix of expats, locals and food professionals savoured bits and pieces of the special menu.

    – paloma@newindianexpress.com

    Paloma Rao

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