Nature my kitchen, fusion my passion: Chef Malhotra (With Images)

January 22nd, 2012 - 11:39 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 22 (IANS) Caviar goes bananas. An exotic starter, where caviar is served on fresh creme fraiche banana chips! Papaji’s Abba Pie, which is a cheese pie is served with tandoori fennel. Or, for that matter, tandoori salmon with kasundi, the Bengali mustard sauce.

For acclaimed food artist Sanjoo Malhotra from Stockholm, these are a part of his large repertoire of fusion cuisine which he calls Sambandha Experience to tickle the palates of food connoisseurs and audiences.

“The Indian palate has opened up to world cuisine and the subtle flavours of Northern Europe. This is my version of the Nouveau-Nordic food scene which I fuse with Indian flavours and sensations,” said Malhotra.

“There are more than 100 Indian restaurants in Sweden where Indian food outlets are being increasingly seen as the local pizzeria with decent food at affordable prices,” Malhotra said during an evening of fusion cuisine at the Berco’s restaurant in Connaught Place here.

“Nature is my kitchen and fusion my passion.”

He loves to showcase ingredients which are normally understated like the pumpkin which he uses in a soup with white wine and served with Swedish hard bread accented by Indian fenugreek and rosemary.

Nordic tastes, Malhotra maintains, often enhance the sweetness or sourness and at the event last week he worked on enhancing them by using mango aioli and blueberry apple chutney.

This Manipal-educated chef also handles lifestyle tours between the Nordics and India. As a food artist, he seeks to showcase his expression of Nordic-Indian fusion cuisine and plans to collaborate with hotels, airlines and restaurants in India.

He is also a quality hunter for Finnair, and has traveled to several cities across the world from Kyoto to New York to understand current trends in aviation, besides looking for new ideas and creating dialogues through his immensely-popular blog.

The Nouveau Nordic Cuisine Movement has its roots in the Nordic countryside and Malhotra captures the same in his creations. “Pan-Asian cuisine has helped people of the Nordics to understand Indian flavours.”

Bengali sweets and mama’s garam parathas with lots of ghee are his favourites. “The trip to India has made me open up my mind to my own experiences.”

According to Kabir Advani, managing director of the hugely-popular Berco’s, a chain of 15 restaurants in the National Capital Region and one in Amritsar, the popularity of Nordic-Indian fusion cuisine reflects the aspirations of Indian youth.

“They are now increasingly open to experimentation and international influences.”

(Suvendu Banerjee is president and chief executive of Business Images, a PR and image management consultancy. He can be reached at

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