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Expect street food, a flea market and ten top DJs, including Pearl and Ash Roy, at The Parka��s Twililght Version 3
Now this is no day-long beachside EDM festival (for that therea��s the all-night Sunrise Festival scheduled for February 14 in Pondicherry). Nonetheless, The Park is bringing 10 DJs together for their Twilight Version 3. Said DJs, including names like Arjun Hora, Faezal, Nez and headliners Ash Roy, Pearl and Akthar, will be playing at three separate venues and the good news is that passes will allow access to them all. a�?We are trying to create a mini festival of sorts, with food and a flea market as value additions,a�? says Anshu Chhetri, F&B director of the hotel, adding that they have broken away from the two-day format of the last edition that also included a fashion show.
While the headliners will ensure that therea��s enough techno, electronica and Bollywood music to go around, the culinary team of the hotel will be setting up at least seven live counters at their porch, offering shawarma, momos, burgers and other short eats. There will also be jalebi and kulfi stalls to take care of midnight hunger pangs a�� all priced from as low as `200 onwards. As for the flea market, they promise at least four to five stalls offering accessories and more, at various locations of the hotel. Fully redeemable passes at `2,000 per head. Details: 42676000
Diff 42 is Velacherya��s answer for those seeking a complete meal with their favourite poison
Walking into Diff 42 – Resto lounge, Velacherya��s newest pub, we get the vibe that this place is going to be all about the booze. Therea��s extra dim lighting, an island bar counter, thumping music and even a makeshift dance floor. But imagine our surprise when owner Mohan Raj, a former business man who a�?always wanted to start a restaurant,a�? tells us that his focus is primarily food. a�?I want to make the brand a franchisee in the future,a�? he says, as we find a merry mix of Oriental, Indian and Continental food on the menu. Their chef, Malai Swamy, hails from Madurai but comes with experience from Scotland. He has created Continental and Indian combos (approximately `249 plus tax) for the many corporate guests they have been attracting since opening in December.
Before our combos arrive, Swamy serves us his signatures, while their operations manager, Kishore Kumar, shakes and stirs our cocktails at the bar. His fresh passion fruit mojito and Mandarin berry prijosika (Mandarin vodka with orange and strawberry pulp) are a bit alcohol-heavy but soon forgotten when the food arrives. The Arabian jumbo lollipops (smokey, tender and delicately charred on the edges), spicy sweet corn fritters (a combo of deep fried mince corn balls topped with mint mayo and juicy, sugar coated fried corn kernels) and cheese fritters, prove that Raj and his team are indeed focusing on the food.
As we finally get to work on our Continental and Indian combos, Kumar shares plans for the future. a�?Wea��ll be starting themed nights during the week a�� like Boozy Brunch on Sunday and Corporate nights on Monday and Tuesday,a�? he says, as we clean up our bell pepper spiced chicken stroganoff (paired with rice, sautA�ed veggies) and sweetish chicken tikka masala with naan. But the best news hea��s given us this evening, is that Diff 42 will be screening football, among other sports.
Approximately Rs 1,000 per head. Details: 43216667
The coffee shop at The Raintree St Marya��s gets re-branded and turns into a Colony
The coffee shop at The Raintree St Marya��s has been transformed into Colony, with a new bar counter-cum-lounge leading to the entrance. a�?The idea is to bring back the old mess-like feel of the common dining halls,a�? says executive chef Hushmoin Patell, as we try to imagine one during the time of the British Raj. He points to the wall with plenty of crockery arranged on shelves and a picture starts to form. But the honey comb-like installation of metal sieves in different sizes (each with a very Chennai artefact a�� think matchboxes, cows, veenas a�� housed within) on the opposite wall, though very novel and quirky, misleads from the concept.
Coming to what really matters, the food here is a mix of cuisines, with a focus on the Indian. The buffet is a cozy affair with a few cold cuts and salads on display alongside Continental (think sweet and spicy beef roulade, paprika roasted potatoes) and Indian mains (subzi biryani, dal tadka and plenty of breads) and desserts. To keep things fresh, your soup and specials of the day arrive straight from the kitchen (we enjoy a chunky Andhra braised mutton and a khoya and nut-laden paneer pasandha on our visit) and a live counter dishes out something new each day (we are treated to a heap of mini idlis in herbs, podi and more). Their a la carte menu (we visit while still in trial), wea��re told will feature a tiffin platter, 63A� eggs and prawns pollichathu in addition to specials like pork ramen, introduced for their numerous Japanese guests. And on Sundays, enjoy a brunch of fresh sorbets, milkshakes and other fare from their anti-griddle.
Buffet at `1,200 plus tax for lunch and `1,350A� plus tax for dinner. Details: 42252525
Pics: R Satish Babu
For your point and shoot Polaroid or muscular Nikon, choose a case thata��s both fashionable and functional
For the serious photographer, a smartphone can never do. Thata��s why you need something like Berlina��s handmade Hanska Bag (made for the Polaroid 600-type camera) that will protect those tele-zoom lenses and other accessories that help freeze time. Take your pick from trusted brands like Lowepro and Manfrotto, whose latest are cabin camera cases complete with wheels. Or for something more exclusive, bank on leather, from Wotancraft or Copper River Bags.
Lightweight and configurable, this sling pack from Crumpler loads one DSLR body with two or three lenses. With seven storage zones, it is made of a plain weave polyester outer fabric that is weather resistant and durable. Approximately `8,000 on crumpler.com
Made to last
Made from full-grain, oil-tan leather, sewn with marine grade thread, this one by Copper River Bag Co is as robust as they come. Therea��s a magazine pocket, cell phone pockets and a main pocket for your laptop and cameras. With close to 12 colour combinations to choose from, youa��ll be pleased to know that this one is hand-made in the US only after you place your order.A� Aproximately `13,000 on copperriverbags.com
Small is beautiful
If you carry a small DSLR or a point and shoot camera, the Small Holster from National Geographica��s Earth Explorer collection is your best bet. While its zipper-sealed flap offers protection, the top opening means quick access. For `3,972 at Srishti DigiLife, T Nagar. Details: 24364778
Designed to hold two DSLRs, four to five lenses (including space for two 70-200 F/2.8 lenses), two flashes, a 17-inch laptop, tablet and even your tripod and accessories. The Roller Bag 50 by Manfrotto complies with the cabin-baggage size and is for the globe trotting professional who likes to carry it all. For `24,772. Details: 24364778
The Streetwise from Nappa Dori is perfect for the urban photographer who does not have to carry more than one SLR. This handcrafted case is cushioned with cotton twill lining and we love the digital print detailing. For ` 7,200 on nappadori.com
Pop of colour
From camera case experts Lowepro comes the Flipside Sport 10L AW that allows quick access to your camera without having to remove your backpack. Add to that a storm flap closure, water-resistance, breathable padding and attachments for tripods and trekking poles, and you have great bang for your buck. `6,990 on interfoto.co.in. Details: 9746733331
Dona��t let its vintage look fool you. With a microfibre inner lining that safeguards the finish of your equipment, the Ryker from Wotancraft can pack in up to two rangefinder-like cameras and a mini iPad too. Made of supple grain leather, it is priced at approximately `24,038 on wotancraft.com
If the occasion demands you carry your camera in style, look no further than Louis Vuitton. This camera bag in Damier Graphite canvas is ideal for carrying small and medium sized cameras. It comes with zipped front, side and back pockets that can pack in all your lenses and accessories. For `2,60,000, on order at the store in Bangalore. Details: 080 42460000
For photographers trying to keep a low profile, the ReportIT-20 PL by Kata has a top zippered opening that allows discreet access to your main camera. Ideal for reporters and photographers on the go, this case packs two DSLRs, three to four additional lenses and even a 12-inch netbook and other accessories. From `6,000 onwards. Available on order at Srishti DigiLife, T Nagar. Details: 24364778
Monia Lamarche Latest Performance
With over 1,200 performances in six countries to her credit, Monia Lamarche makes her Chennai debut at Park Hyatt
My chat with Monia Lamarche has left me a tad confused. Ita��s difficult to choose the right adjective when describing certain people and shea��s one of them. Do I call her a�?diligenta�� because shea��s giving me an interview barely 12 hours after her 30-hour flight from Canada? Should I describe her as a�?multi talenteda�� because she sings (in English and French), composes (she has done 20 original tracks), pens lyrics, models, acts and also writes fiction (a book on music, anyone)? Perhaps she should be called a�?experienceda�� because shea��s done over 1,200 shows in over six countries. Or maybe a�?smarta�� since she speaks six languages, including Arabic, Spanish and Italian.
Lamarche, who hails from Montreal, is not new to India. Her seven-year career as a freelance performer has taken her to places like Egypt, Japan, Maldives and more recently, New Delhi and Hyderabad. a�?I like to discover the people, food, culture, architecture,a�? says the political sciences and international relations graduate from University of Quebec in Montreal, whose earliest inspiration to take up music was a�?Madonna, then Shania Twain and Celine Dion.a�? But dona��t let that get you thinking that shea��s more of a country-pop singer. Lamarche, who has studied music and has a diploma in presenting for radio and television, has completed several workshops in theatre, dancing and acting, among others, and takes pride in her wide repertoire. a�?I do jazz, easy listening, lounge, retro, pop/uptempo,a�? she says, listing artists from Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra to John Legend and Dido.
At the Elephant
Refusing to pick a favourite from the many venues she has performed at, Lamarche quips that she is looking forward to her time at The Flying Elephant, where she is most likely to perform solo. But she is definitely open to collaborations with other artistes, like Mumbai-based pianist Ryland Da��Souza who she performed with while in Hyderabad. For New Year, we hear that Lamarche will share the spotlight with other artists (DJs most likely) at the grand bash that Park Hyatt plans to put up. And after party season, wea��re sure Lamarche will be looking forward to her time in Chennai, to check all the usual boxes a�� from beaches to churches and temples, with plenty of restaurant hoppingA� and of course, a visit to the French colony, that she seems to be waiting to do.
Monia Lamarche starts performing at The Flying Elephant from today. Details: 71771234
from TV shows, YouTube videos and blogs, a group of male bakers with no degrees in food are taking up the challenge of quiches, Christmas cakes, cookies and more. By Ryan Peppin
We are a city dominated by female bakers and therea��s no debating that. a�?It has to do with exposure in the kitchen,a�? feels KP Balakumar, founder of the Home Bakers Guild. a�?We grow up with not many people baking at home,a�? he adds, pointing out that in the six bakers showcases he has organised, there has not been a single male participant. But on a professional level, the male bakers outnumber the female, feels Nicky Mahboobani of Nickya��s Cafe. a�?Men enjoy it because it involves science, knowledge of flour, physical effort like lifting heavy trays, kneading, etc,a�? he makes a case.
But perhaps change is upon us, as a group of men, with no formal education in food, are turning to the television and internet for guidance on baking. Besides, in a first, Alexander Kettles, an expat baker who runs Kettles Kitchen, will feature at the next bakers showcase titled The Grand Annual Bake Sale (to be an annual event from now), set to take place on January 24 at Spaces. Meanwhile, meet our list of male bakers who are happy doing it for themselves, for now. While some of them started for their kids and some just out of curiosity, all of them admit to wanting to bake more often. Read on:
Bakes around five times a week
Loves all things sweet
Expert at apple pies
Fan of croissants at Old Madras Baking Co
Being a Belgian-Canadian born in France, wea��re not surprised when Christophe Bonello tells us that everyone in his family cooks. a�?But I started only after moving to Canada,a�? says the PhD holder in Computer Science. Canada also happens to be the place where Bonello met his wife, who works at the Belgian Consulate. Baking for around 15 years now, Bonello has a long list of specials ranging from muffins and cakes to lemon tarts and pies. But his best creation he admits, is the apple pie that his friends back in Canada swear by. Closer home, Bonello lists his wife as his greatest critique, and says that ita��s not too hard to find good ingredients in Chennai. a�?You can get most of the ingredients easily. Especially at Wall Tax Road,a�? says Bonello, 49, who has attended a couple of cooking classes at Park Hyatt and is currently busy with an upcoming project. a�?I am spending a lot of time working on Belgian waffles now,a�? he reveals, hinting at a restaurant launch of sorts, early next month.
Bakes once in two weeks
Expert at lasagna, thin crust pizza, pies, quiches, meatloaves
Fan of Sandya��s, The French Loaf and Cake Walk
Tries mixing atta with maida and prefers imported yeast
A marineengineer turned content writer, Rohan Sylvester says that it was his love for thin crust pizza that drew him to the kitchen. a�?I just had to learn to make thin crust pizzas. One thing led to another and I ended up learning to bake and cook,a�? Sylvester confesses, admitting a fondness to savoury baking. And while his sister Marsha Thompson is a popular home baker in the city, Sylvester says that his baking lessons were courtesy YouTube channels and books. a�?The videos on Food Vicious are great to learn technique. And they add a good bit of humour too,a�? he says about the YouTube channel. A firm believer that ita��s all about the right measurements, Sylvester, 29, feels that most men are intimidated by lengthy procedures and fancy names of techniques. a�?But they are actually simple and can be done step-by-step over days,a�? he offers. And while he feels that no one subscribes to notions like a�?thata��s femininea�? in this day and age, he has somehow never got down to making a batch of cupcakes. a�?If I want good cake, I just go to my sister,a�? he laughs.
Bakes at least once in 10 days
Expert in the simple dark chocolate cake
Bakes with his wife and kids
Herea��s another man who gives new meaning to the phrase a�?labour of lovea��. Nitin Shroff has been cooking since he was in college, but took up baking on seeing his childrena��s love for all things baked. a�?When ita��s bought from outside you have to tell them things like a�?dona��t eat the icinga��. So I just learnt to bake instead,a�? he laughs. Shroff incidentally has the best teacher a�� his wife Sumi, who also happens to be a guest
faculty for baking at Sishya. Ita��s about six years since his first lesson, but he recalls, a�?To get the batter right was the first thing she taught me.a�? Even with an experienced teacher, Shroff managed to burn his first cake. a�?You learn slowly,a�? he smiles, in defence. That said, Shroff, 35, who has been in the chemicals industry since 1997, enjoys baking with his kids and wife and makes regular stops at the Currimbhoys baking section hunting for varieties of ready made fondant. And though his wife prefers to works alone, as a family, they make a lot of mini cupcakes and sponge cakes with icing.
Bakes once a fortnight
Works with chocolate a lot
Goal is to bake bread from scratch
Fan of Nanditha Sashidharana��s tarts and Kuki Ravindrana��s dessert jars
Fairly new to baking, Suneel Shankar started two years ago. When his elder daughter was a�?old enough to help in the kitchen,a�? to be precise. This father of two always had the basic kitchen skills since he studied abroad and had to cook for himself, but picked up baking from shows by the likes of Nigella Lawson, so he could bake for his children. Working as a team head at a leading BPO, Shankar enjoys flexible timings, but prefers to bake in the morning or over the weekend so his kids can join in. Needless to say, his daughters (six and four) are his fans, and they enjoy assisting him with tasks like blending, peeling, breaking eggs and mixing them into the flour. Luckily for Shankar, his wife does not mind this as long as he cleans after them. a�?She actually enjoys that the kids are involved. And I find baking therapeutic,a�? says the fan of breads, whose toughest bake till date was the orange zest and almond cake he recently tried. Shankar, 39, incidentally grew up with KP Balakumar who has been baking even before he started the Home Bakers Guild, and though the friends have never baked together, they now exchange notes.
Bakes twice a week
Uses wheat flour and jaggery instead of refined sugar
Does a lot of fusion experiments
A native of Tirupur, Dineshkumar Nataraj used to take orders from a select group of friends and neighbours who loved his biryanis and vatha kozhambu. Nataraj, who started cooking as a boy, currently works as a technical writer in Chennai, and tries a lot of Continental recipes (he swears by TLC). As for baking, he has always wanted to learn, but recalls being turned away at every baking class he approached in Coimbatore. a�?Even in Chennai, save for a few, not too many people are open to teaching men,a�? insists Nataraj, 28, who is self taught and is currently honing his oven skills under the guidance of expert home baker Sara Koshy. Apple strudel pies, mince pies, tuna loaves, casseroles and Christmas cakes are some of the bakes he is good at. And the fan of fusion fare does a good deal of experimentation too. At a recent beach cookout with the Chennai Food Guide, his chicken marinated with rasam powder was doing the rounds, we learn. a�?I have done a cheesecake with a motichur ladoo base and gulab jamun inside and a pudding made of sugarcane and rice flour with a ginger and turmeric sauce,a�? Nataraj shares a couple of his sweet experiments. a�?I hope to start my own studio kitchen soon and yes, it will definitely be open to gents too,a�? he concludes.
Sunil Menona��s next fund-raising calendar for Sahodaran,A�puts the spotlight on headgear used in Keralaa��s theyyam rituals
One of the few platforms in the city for fresh South Indian male models, the Sahodaran fund-raising calendar is something many look forward to. In its sixth edition this year, the calendar, that has portrayed themes like resort wear, elements of nature, yoga, heritage jewellery and sports, is showcasing something closer to the heart of Sunil Menon, the founder/director of Sahodaran, the male sexual health project. a�?Our photographer Kapil Ganesh suggested head gear, and being from Kerala, I immediately thought of theyyam,a�? says an enthusiastic Menon, referring to the ritual popular in Northern Kerala. The headgear used in these rituals are quite large and always made fresh using bamboo and leaves, among other materials. a�?Visually, it was the impact of the headgear and the organic makeup that worked,a�? Menon says, adding that a theyyam team from Kannur was involved in creating the headgear for the shoot.
After completing the shoot in 24 hours at his ancestral property in Kerala, Menon and team are currently working towards launching the calendar on December 15 at Amdavadi, the Gujarati restaurant in T Nagar. With more themes in mind, Menon shares that he hopes to do the calendar on a larger scale in the future. And currently using only South Indian models, Menon shares that ita��s a conscious decision. Since most of his buyers are from outside the country, he explains that he uses only South Indian models to showcase that dark/tan skin is also beautiful.
The calendar is priced at Rs.1,000. Details: firstname.lastname@example.org, 9381016129
a�� Ryan Peppin
Professor Eswar S Prasad, on the book he did not plan to write and why India might be a good bet for investments today
A professor, author, research associate and advisor on matters of finance a�� these are just some of the roles that Eswar S Prasad dons. The Tolani Senior Professor of Trade Policy at Cornell University, who made headlines earlier this year with his book The Dollar Trap, is visiting the country next week. And though he will not be stopping by his home town Chennai, he takes time off for a quick interview, giving us an insight into his book and his upcoming speech at the Delhi Economics Conclave in New Delhi, among other things.
Matters of coin
a�?This is not the book I planned to write,a�? begins Prasad, as we enquire about the inspiration behind The Dollar Trap. a�?I wanted to write about the patterns of capital flow. But I discovered something surprising,a�? he says, explaining that while the world thought the financial crisis (that began in the US) would lead to the decline of the US dollara��s supremacy, it actually strengthened it. a�?I saw a much more interesting story to tell,a�? Prasad admits, adding, a�?when therea��s turmoil, people look for a safe place to keep their money and that place always turns out to be the US.a�? Thankfully, with Indiaa��s a�?growth prospects looking up,a�? Prasad believes that a�?investors around the world seem to view India as one of the most attractive investment destinations among the emerging markets.a�?
The game changers
Prasad, who has lectured at colleges like the Madras School of Economics, says that the biggest concern that youth around the world have, a�?is about their future career prospects in a world beset by rapid technological change, increasing competition and changing economic structures.a�? That said, Prasad feels that the talent of Indians a�?is on vivid display around the world,a�? and the countrya��s rapidly expanding middle class and the inherent dynamism of the economy a�?provide excellent opportunities for those youth who are willing to grab them.a�?
In New Delhi next week, Prasad will be talking about Indiaa��s growth prospects. a�?The state of world economy. And the economic reforms needed to keep growth high in India,a�? he elaborates. And before signing off, the professor points out that though the dollar reigns supreme, it may not always remain the most widely-traded currency. a�?The Chinese renminbi is already playing a role and in the next one or two decades, even the Indian rupee could,a�? he concludes.
Eswar S Prasad will be speaking at the Delhi Economics Conclave taking place on December 11-12. Details: delhieconomicsconclave.com
Prasada��s list for beginners
a�? The Shifts and the Shocks
by Martin Wolf,
a�? Capital in the Twenty-First
Century by Thomas Piketty,
a�? On China by Henry Kissinger,
a�? Fault Lines by Raghuram Rajan,
a�? Poor Economics by Abhijit Banerjee.