Home Chennai Chefs in Disguise

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    A Chennai Facebook group sees people moving on from selfies to showing off their culinary chops instead.

    AN investment banker, a celebrity make-up artist and a journalist are some of the 1,900 plus members on I Cook I Click, the month-old Facebook group that is encouraging people to rustle up fancy gourmet meals on workdays. Often creatively plated, these dishes are photographed, shared and are getting far more eye-balls than the customary selfie. Plus, there are already events like a potluck being planned by members. For who wouldn’t want to dig into Korean oyster pancakes, white chocolate matcha torte or lavender cookies made with freshly plucked blooms that we have been salivating over!  The brainchild of Chennai homebaker Minal Kripalani, the group began as a post-dinner thought and has now become a network of talented folk (mostly non-professional cooks) from across the globe. ‘‘Overnight I had about 50 posts and 800 people onboard in barely two days! ’’ Kripalani shares. We caught up with some of the regulars in the group:

    Fauzia Vohraimage3
    Fauzia Vohra (38) has been in the banking and finance sector for over 15 years in Doha. But the mum of  twin boys finds her time in the kitchen to be therapeutic. ‘‘Hailing from a Muslim family, even a simple fried egg has been a recipe passed down generations, and not to forget all of our festivals are a gastronomic feast,’’ smiles Vohra. Keeping note of international trends on the BBC Food channel, she says, ‘‘Fittingly, a proverb that sticks with me is about the way to man’s heart. Pleasing the husband and little men at home takes precedence,’’ Signature dishes: Montenegran Punjene Paprike (stuffed peppers) and Australian Beef Pie.

    Aarti Sanan unnamed (1)
    What would you eat if it were your last meal? Aarti Sanan (39), a former journalist and current yoga instructor living in New York, lives by this motto. ‘‘Living in the food capital of the world and being constantly exposed to an amazing variety of cuisines and farmers’ markets — it is hard not to be drawn to the power of food. Every meal is some form of fancy at our home! On any given day my two kids can request for a poached egg with truffle oil and avocados for breakfast or some bison meatballs for dinner; and this gets me to constantly reinvent,’’ shares Sanan.
    Signature dishes: Pommes Anna, Zucchini Pancakes and Veal Milanese

    Srinivas Thota DPP_101895
    Srinivas Thota (36), an IT guy in San Francisco, recreates gourmet food and says,  ‘‘While I feel philosophical about cooking as art, it does have a huge influence on my mind and body.’’ He finds inspiration through travel, YouTube videos and Pinterest. ‘‘This helps me connect with my mom and also make a date-night out of my creations with my wife,’’ Planning ahead, with ingredients like  a rack of lamb or artichokes, Thota can also whip up impromptu offerings like a wholesome Salmon Sandwich.
    Signature dishes: Sushi and Sea Scallops in blended radish shoots, gremolata and mue

    Arun SridharanARUN (1)
    Banker and fussy eater, Arun Sridharan (39) from Singapore realised he had to learn a few recipes from his mum back home (Girija Sridharan, a familiar trainer to many) to get by. Now he whips up traditional comfort food every day. ‘‘Cooking for my wife and twin girls is probably the most fun part of my day,’’ he says. Besides his Madrasi vegetarian fare, he follows blogs like Anthony Bourdain’s and street food staples like NYC’s Dirty Water Hotdogs.
    Signature dish: Thai Green Curry with Brussel Sprouts

    Kamala Krishnaswamy IMG_20160309_122919
    For actor/entrepreneur, Kamala Krishnaswamy (54), fancy dishes are an everyday affair. “When your friends and family adore your food, look up recipes, Tarla Dalal cookbooks and watch food shows to recreate meals, it is inspiring to say the least. While I do walk the extra mile to source specific ingredients, I am at my best while attempting to conjure new dishes with whatever is in stock at home,’’ shares Krishnaswamy. This serendipity has resulted in many epic dishes like Apple Rasam  and Vegetable Haleem.
    Signature dish: Boozy Fruit Truffle

    Vikram Mittal
    Celebrity hair & makeup artist, Vikram Mittal (39) de-stresses by getting more creative in the kitchen. After lending glam looks to Trisha, Deepika Padukone, Surya, Anushka Sharma and others, this creative professional unwinds at home by poring over his stash of ingredients. ‘‘Cooking is just an extension of what I do; whether it’s make-up or food — I love seeing the smile on peoples’ faces when I finish,’’ says Mittal, crediting MasterChef Australia as a fabulous learning medium. Signature dish: Curried Mushrooms in Puff Pastry

    Ajay John unnamed (8)
    Ensuring that every meal is an experience, Ajay John (39), who works with a major IT giant, says, ‘‘Cooking is so much fun that I make the effort to prep my weekday meals over the weekends. I love cooking for the diversity it offers, and the sense of nostalgia I experience when trying to recreate childhood memories through my mother’s recipes.’’ His best dishes are the classics with his own spin — think Goat Curry with Guiness and his version of an Eton Mess, a whipped custard mess with crushed meringues, edible flowers and berries.
    Signature dishes: Sora Puttu and Fried Buckwheat Chicken

    Text: Preeti GT


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