Delicious paths

My daughter and I used to play this game where we would revolve the globe during the Covid lockdown. Food aficionado Varsha Panjabi adds, “She would ask me to learn four dishes from that region and cook them at home at whatever point the globe stopped.” Four years later, what began as a recipe-based travel endeavor in her kitchen has developed into a television series called The Travelling Chef. Varsha travels to houses and hotels for this series, documenting her experiences and sharing them on her Instagram account (@shasmultiverse).

CE starts up their conversation discussing her most recent culinary mishap at Mathsya Egmore when she sits down to speak with Varsha. She describes it as unique as, for her most recent episode, she had to prepare the real Mysore Masala Dosa on a 110 kilogram dosa tawa. She tells us, “This is an experience of a kind, and the excitement is real.”

Regarding The Itinerant Chef Varsha travels to locations where food is celebrated and pauses there. Varsha is determined to connect with them, learn a recipe, make it at home, and develop an appreciation for them and the food they prepare—whether it’s at a five-star restaurant or a farmer’s cottage. It’s basically my way of giving back to the culinary world,” she explains. As I prepare for him, he gets to criticize me even if I’m not a professional chef since every day a chef is critiqued on his cuisine.

Varsha may not have attended a culinary school, but she has refined her abilities and expertise by taking classes from several colleges, some of which are online. She has certification as a food anthropologist in all five of South India’s states. Varsha answers, “I am aware of which rice originates in which Tamil Nadu area and the rationale for the cultivation practices there. I am aware of the history of every kind of product grown in a certain southern Indian region.

Employing brands

Her numerous travels throughout her modeling days ignited her interest for learning about other cuisines. She describes an event that happened in 2009, saying, “I was filming on a Pollachi farm when I smelled something really good.” I found the farmer’s home by following the scent. I requested them to prepare me a plate when I knocked on their door. I was given rice and yellow dal by the farmer’s wife, who also dusted the dish with salt. I can only characterize it as liquid gold because of what she pulled out. When the dal was combined with the produced ghee, it released its scent. When I shut my eyes, I can still taste and smell the food.

These experiences aided her in strengthening her control over eating. She has also picked up knowledge from the individuals she has come into contact with. She took a notepad to a Ponnuswami motel while she was a student. She learned about Chettinad food from the 70-year-old Chettiar chef, from whom she copied down the recipes. He explained to me the purpose of Ajinomoto in Chettinad cooking. Burma was the region’s main source of import and export. This flavor enhancer was introduced to Chettinad cuisine by them. He also taught me stuff like why it’s healthier to split curry leaves in half rather than pulling them off the stem,” the speaker continues.

Establishing a brand

Varsha’s need to study was satiated by her trips to other locations, but her daughter’s dietary demands only encouraged her to continue exploring. “When I refer to cuisines, I don’t mean mastering just one dish and declaring yourself an expert in it. Five or six dishes should be known at the very least. That is how it began. Varsha says, “I would have cooked about 150 dishes in that eight months of lockdown.”

Additionally, it was around this time that her husband Govind Ketty and close friend Mad Chef Koushik encouraged her to show off her culinary skills. The Traveling Chef’s first episode was released online in March. Anyone who like food and wants to uncover previously undiscovered dishes should watch this series. “Travelling Chef has everything you can’t find online,” asserts Varsha.

Kerala Express is reached by the Traveling Chef at Kora Food Street in one of the episodes. In this video, Kari Dosai creates her secret dish for her admirers and shares it with them. Varsha provides a little glimpse into the workings of the restaurant, saying, “When I walked into the stall, the dosa master asked me, Neenga samaipingala? (Do you cook?).” I had to tell him that I really could. After tasting the finished meal, he gave me advice that, “You can know many recipes, but the magic lies in the hands to cook a wonderful dish.” The chef also thought the dosa was good. Varsha made Iftaar snacks while traveling and stopped at the Bombay Food Court in Triplicane during Ramadan. She says, “It was wonderful that a non-Muslim could cook at a place where Muslims predominate.” But food, in my opinion, knows no faith.

Plans established

Varsha aims to “leave footprints, not in the heart but in the stomach,” learning from every location she goes. She is a skilled in preparing both worldwide foods such as Korean, Italian, Mexican, Spanish, Jamaican, Caribbean, Asian, and Thai as well as regional cuisines from Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Sindhi, and Punjab. She says, “I want to be someone who can travel and provide global cuisine in a local language.”

She is now compiling the recipes she discovers from other cooks in preparation for writing a coffee table book. It will include recipes, notes from the chefs, and tales from her experiences. Creating a YouTube channel and posting lengthy movies about hotels is a backup plan. She explains, “I will be visiting hotels and reviewing them based on the quality of the food, the stay, accessibility, and the aesthetics.” In addition, she wants to launch a second series called Takku Takku Samayal, in which she would teach basic, doable recipes. She believes that all of her efforts will culminate in the opening of a cooking school where Varsha teaches expert-taught recipes.

Varsha will examine the passion Chennai makkals have for biryani in her next episode. Since 1975, she has gone to the Ahmedia Hotel in Vaniyambadi, which is well-known for its Dakini biryani. Here, she prepared four kilograms of biryani, saying that “so many emotions go into cooking it.” “Being there was overwhelming,” the woman remarks.

Continue to review

Additionally, the Traveling Chef has arrived to Puducherry’s Sea Gadabout, a French hotel. In the next episode, she provides a critique of her stay. She remarks, “It is a boutique hotel but a luxury style,” after filming the video. This location transports you to several regions of France while maintaining a very modern and rustic feel.

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