In memory of the foodie daddy ❤️

My dad was a food connoisseur / gourmand / epicurean for sure!!! I did not know the meaning for all these fancy words 25yrs ago.

Today as we celebrate, yes we celebrate his 25yrs of passing away, here is a very mystical experience I would like to share. My dad loved good food, no second thought about that. If my mom taught me how to cook my dad taught we how to choose the best ingredient to cook and introduced me to good food.

I am not at home on this day and was in Salem with my friend to stand by her when she was talking about an initiative that is very close to our heart. But at the same time this 25th year was as important for me. As you all know Salem does not have a coast and fresh sea fish is a little difficult to source here. My father was a total seafood freak ( well yeah that’s were I have got my love for seafood from) and when it comes to meat he loved mutton and Salem gets some really good mutton. Infact when we were young my mom and we 4 girls has a bias for chicken and dad loved mutton and most of the time it was choice of majority.

A day before his passing away on 30th April 1997 my dad wanted to eat sardines/ mathi but could not do so and on 1st may he was no more. 25 yrs later in a place like Salem I am offered Fresh sardines/ mathi, what do I call this, mystical? I get his most favourite meat mutton, made it his style Mangalore gravy without coconut. Goa, a place that he wanted to retire and settle brews some amazing spirits. I am just back from Goa and so could serve his favourite drink, whisky. Ofcourse his favourite Dessert the mothichur ladoo.

I do believe that when our intentions are clear the path for everything opens up for us. Dear Papa bless our food and bless all of us from wherever you are, you are our guiding star and light!!!

Goan Local food at Cavatina Benaulim,Goa.

Are you one of them who has evolved from fine dining food to experience based local food? If Yes Cavatina is the place you must visit.

Why Cavatina? Well many reasons atleast for me it gave me an experience of my childhood food. Modern yet local and traditional. Every dish is rooted to history and tradition including the local drink urak! The ingredients and produce used to make the dishes are sourced locally from local fishermen and farmers. Every dish has a story.

We wanted to taste as much as we could from the menu and hence settled for chefs tasting menu.

The pav and poder both hold a very important place in the goan food scene. And I am glad I could experience poder poder ponk ponk the dish that serves pav, day before left over curry ( it’s a delicacy) and salsa to add tang to the dish.

The bisque was a delicate crab xec xec with tender crab meet to bite into. The flavour was subtle and delicate.

Local inspired spanakopita was a beautiful mix of thamdi bajji ( red amaranth) cashew butter in delicate phyllo sheet. This beautiful piece of food art was served on a old roof tile.

The rice pancake stiffed with prawn masala was a bite into burst of Goan flavour.

Betul has the best rock crabs that were used to make Kulli ( crab) cutlets with canacona chilli served on a bed of avocado chili mole. The mole has a awesome native pickle flavour.

The chicken cafreal served with quail eggs on a nest of potato crispy is a beautiful tribute to the most famous goan dish cafreal!

Hay smoked mackerel served on toasted bread and topped with salted raw mango took me back to my school days.

Patra de Goa has delicate seabass wrapped with green masala in a banana leaf the in-house mashed pumpkin cashew and red amaranth adds colour and flavour to the dish.

The Red boiled rice with the prawn gravy served with a splash of burnt feni is every goans dream come true!

Everything good has to have a sweet ending and oh my gaud! Literally this cheese cake that is made using gaud ( jaggery) had that amazing smoked flavour of jaggery and every thing nice!

The raw honey flan had the perfect sweetness, flavour and texture!

The in-house made salted caramel icecream was nothing that I have had before!

Visit Cavatina if you want to understand real Goan food and flavours made using only local produce. Dining at Cavatina means getting a true Goan experience with loads of food history and stories! Chef Avinash is holding on to his roots and giving goans and tourist who are visiting Goa a true Goan experience.

Cavatina is at Benaulim Taj Hotel Road, near Joecons Beach Resort, Benaulim, Goa 403712

Unesco heritage of South India, Chola temple in Thanjavur!

We travelled all the way to Cambodia to see the Angkor wat when we had this unesco heritage site just 300 odd kms away from us.

The feeling when you enter the temple is estatic, the energy one can derive from the Periya koil or Brihadeeshwara temple built by the chola dynasty in Thanjavur is immense.

You just need to let yourself float like a free soul in this ocean of 11th century architecture. We decided to visit this place just before sunset so we get a glimpse of day and night. To experience the lights that adorns the temple at night.

The mammoth Nandi and Shiva status grace the place with their presence which most of them come to worship there.

It was Panchami when we visited the place and there were so many people performing a special Pooja through the day with lamps made of coconut.

It was heart warming to see people from all religion pay their respect to this beautiful place that deserves every bit of it!

Definitely recommend this place to friends who are looking to explore India and its hidden treasure.

Where to stay and dine when in Thanjavur? We stayed at hotel sangam and we had a beautiful view of the temple from our room. Hotel sangam has clean rooms and good service.

We had lunch at pattukottai kamatchi mess it was a huge banana leaf meal with everything non vegetarian South Indian food. The food is cooked with home ground spices and served with Love.

Dinner was at nasar idiayypa, idiappam is served on banana leaf with south indian non vegetarian gravy and some side dishes. Tried idiappam kottu for the first time, just like kottu parotha I preferred idiappam kottu for sure, was much more lighter in our tummy.

Fighter cocks make soulful food!

The entire fighter cock meal!

The most happiest soul food that I have had in recent times! Kochai karthi kadai is a place where you can find fighter cocks that are used to make the most amazing meal. On one of our drives from Chennai to Coimbatore a friend suggested us to stop by Chengapalli 60kms before Coimbatore to enjoy this traditional firewood meal and oh my god I cannot thank him enough.

Kochai karthi kadai is run by a family of 3 karthi his wife and son Saran. The firewood cooking is done only by karthi and his every smiling wife.

The concept of this meal is very simple. Firstly you have to book a meal you cannot walk in without reservation simply because the food is cooked on fire wood and is specially cooked in demand only for you, so a 2hr notice is required.

The chicken order is minimum 1kg and costs 1,600 rupees 4 people can easily relish a 1kg for small eaters like us. The chicken is cooked in authentic south indian style we had the pepper chicken, red chilli skin chicken and ginger garlic turmeric chicken these are all dry prepration. They cook the chicken according to your spice handling level starts with 6 chillies ( called as baby level) 9 is called the ladies spice level goes to 12, 15 and 20 too! So remember to mention your threshold, we did the 9 that was hot but manageable. This meal comes with a chicken gravy, chicken soup and two varieties of Rasam, tomato Rasam and raw tamarind rasam. Must also mentioned the quality of rice, it is aged best quality pooni rice. This meal served on a banana leaf is a heart and soul stealer.

The meal

This is a dine in and takeaway place and if you cannot finish your 1kg of chicken you get to takeaway the leftover too.

The 3 varities of dry chicken
Chicken soup

Karthi took us around the place and must say the place is clean hygienic and maintained like a home. Not a fancy place more like a mess.

Vessels neatly sun drying
Dining place
Fire wood cooking

Definitely recommending this place to everyone. If you are my kind of person who believes in happy, traditional and soul food don’t miss this for anything! Call Karthi to book your meal on +91 98426 12721 in advance and remember to mention your spice level.

Bangalore Days at Taj Yeshwantpur!

Calm in Between the Chaos

I would call this stay at Taj Yeshwantpur home away from home!

After 15 days of being away from home we decided to take a short break to visit family in Bangalore.  Since this was an impromptu decision we had to book our stay one hour before we reached Bangalore. The best ever decision we made for a last minute booking at Taj Yeshwantpur!

We cannot stop talking about the impeccable hospitality that we received from each and every person at Taj from Rajeev Khanna to Ajay Sawe to Anshu Ukey, Dinesh Verma to Sundar to chef Jose, Aditya and Amrik. You have created that space in our hearts forever.

Our room was beautiful with the most precious view of Bangalore City! The service was such that even before we think of what we wanted it was at our door. This 327 rooms hotel is definitely a pride to the city and Taj hotels!

Conjee was my favourite
Waffles with Nutella
Wheat poori
The tasting tiffin!

Bangalore if you are thinking of any place to celebrate your New Year just check in here and have the time of your life with friends, family and loved ones!

At the pool side!

Kove for the love of Coimbatore/ Kovai❤️

The Manchester of South India is weaving a new Coimbatore. My first visit to this little city was in 1998 when I married a young man from here. Our reception was held at the most iconic Annapoorna, I was told this was one place where many of the coimbatorians get hitched!

Mandatory

Our visits to this city continued over years and stories about how my husband and his friends use to hang around Annapoorna was something I got used to hearing often and at times the stories kept on repeating as friends who are all around the world kept coming to Coimbatore for their vacation. By now it had become a household name for me who came from Mumbai. The morning coffee and breakfast was a ritual everytime we came to Coimbatore from Chennai. We hosted and attended many weddings over the years!

Few years back when we saw the place closed for renovation, we were a little disheartened but at the same time excited and waiting for it to open. Little did we know that the wait was totally worth it. My heart swelled with Pride and happiness to what I witnessed today!

Coimbatore you have arrived should I say more! The structure, the food, the ambience, the service and the warmth was class apart!

Would I have ever thought of me seated in a vegetarian restaurant and enjoying the most amazing cocktail along with my family few years ago in Coimbatore???and today I was right here in this place enjoying Nannari Negroni & Jalapeno Mojito, really what – a – what -a !!!

Nannari Negroni
Jalapeno mojito

And wait, vegetarian did I say? Let me correct myself progressive vegetarian restaurant, because most of the dishes that we experienced today are specially curated for kove and kove alone by Gourmet Sage Hospitality Solutions who also are the principal consultant for this project.

We started our meal with Tortellini soup and Singhada makkai shorba. From Italy to North India the soups were spot on with the right flavour, taste and presentation.

Singhada makkai shorba
Tortellini soup

The brocolli Thai cold salad sure was a pleasant twist to the salad experience. The Asian fusion to the south indian curry leaves the cream cheese Rangoon to the karuvepillai baby corn the journey kept the flavours intact.

Karuvepillai baby corn
Cream cheese Rangoon
Brocolli Thai salad

The yam urandai kuzhambu ( yam balls) in South Indian gravy served with ghee rice was as good as the Nasi Goreng that was our main course.

Nasi Goreng
Yam urandai
Yam urandai kuzhambu

The mocktail shoots definitely intersting not only for the eyes but the palate too!

Mocktail shoots

The finale for this meal sure had to be exceptional. The nanari Sorbet was a refreshing palate cleaners and the best friend to someone who is vegan! The lucky Irishman was my favourite since I love Bailey’s!

Nannari sorbet
The Irishman

Kove at ikon, Annapoorna is definitely a place to visit for the sheer experience of something very very special, it is an experience not to be missed along with family and friends! A place to make memories thinking of the old, cherishing and embracing the new! And raising a toast with cheers to new beginning!

Weekend getaway to this city that is so close and so beautiful Bangalore! Sheraton Brigade you made it special!

It has been almost 2yrs since we crossed our state border. For avid travellers like us, it has not been easy not to travel, but at the same time we were grateful this time around crossing our state border only 350kms away. The pandemic has given us many lessons one that tops the list is gratitude!

So when we had a family function to attend we grabbed this opportunity to just drive and enjoy this beautiful city Bangalore! When we started looking up hotels we wanted something that was close to our family yet something that we could enjoy too.

Sheraton Brigade was the ideal choice for us because that meant we could commute easily to our family house. And we were so glad we choose Sheraton Brigade, Marriott Bonvoy! Though we reached a little early, our check in was done with grace and smile. Debolina took very good care of our check in.

The night view ❤️

Our room had the most beautiful view from the 11th floor, the beautiful skyline and orian mall. The rooms were comfortable, clean and spacious.

View from our room

We dined at two of their restaurants. Our constant was the feast for breakfast everyday and the sunday brunch. Here is a shout out that I would want to give Rahul Sharma for gracefully handling all my request. I am totally not a buffet person, I like very limited food but has to be fresh on my table with all the goodness. Since the 1st day of breakfast to the 3rd day I was served simple nutritious food. Some of my favourites were the French Toast, pancakes, egg Benedict, crispy dosa, fresh fruit bowls and the clear Soup. Conversation along with food is something I love too, so we had loads of knowledge exchange and food conversations, that’s what I Loved the most !

The sunday brunch sure was a big affair to everything on the counter that one could think off including Live music. At the same time all covid protocols were adhered to, no guest was allowed to leave their table without masking up. Strict but polite was the Mantra! The food was elaborate with prawn masala, spaghetti bolognese, chicken butter masala with chura paratha, tomato basil Soup, salad, prawn corriader, broccoli kasundi grill and avacado bruschetta. Loved the Vibes and energy of the place on a Sunday afternoon.

Evenings were pampered with snacks the little cute things that just make you happy!

The sunday dinner at the persian terrace was another beautiful story I could just keep penning. Have had the opportunity to have Mediterranean food in my places. But this one is Bangalore out beats of all them. This one was a totally unplanned dinner. Just when we were planning to skip dinner this place caught our attention. We wanted something light and nice.
The cocktail  Jawaafa -tini the gin in gauva  was a great start to our quiet sunday dinner.
The amuse bouche was a beautiful platter with falafel, hummus, baba ghanouse, pita and samboosak  the perfect Platte cleanser to dig into our mixed meat Platter Kebab e mukthalif.
This platter had minced meat, chicken , newzealand chops, fish and prawn all the Mediterranean way, served with either flavored rice or pita. Each meat had its own distinct flavour and loaded with flavour.
We ended our dinner with the perfectly plated  baklava!
Called it an evening with the beautiful view and weather.
Must must visit place if in Bangalore!

Along with our beautiful stay and food at Sheraton Brigade I had the most relaxed massage at shine the spa at Sheraton Brigade.
In covid times they have taken utmost care to ensure that their place is kept clean and sanitized all the time. My masseurs Linda was masked and vaccinated. Her hands were extremely professional in the massage and relaxed my whole body with ease and comfort.

3 nights and 4days of stay at Sheraton Brigade was very special. I would like to thank the entire team for taking service to the next level. Special mention to Debolina, Rahul Sharma, Rukhsana, executive chef Anshuman Bali, Gaurav, Deeksha and priya for making our stay so special. Shibil Malik, must say you have an excellent team!

How to successfully convert Job offers to Joiners in India!

The biggest nightmare and challenge that every recruiter is facing today in India is the conversion from offer given to joining. And that’s the first question I ask every candidate that I call for a recruitment position.

Who is worried about how many offers you rolled out, tell me how many joined and what is your success and strategy for that conversion.

As greedy as people could get it’s a fact that if you are the first to offer a person who has 3 months of notice period you are his last prefered employer. The moment he/ she gets an offer, there is when the real job hunt starts. By the time the candidate joins that last company that he negotiated the salary he/she would have managed a minimum 100 to 200 percent hike. So 3 months is used to get more and more and believe me there is no end to it. I have had candidates whose current salary was 9 lacs got their first offer for 12lacs, next one for 15lacs, 18lacs, 20lacs and finally joined the company that offered him 22lacs.

Now who is to be blamed for this ofcourse the employers who keep giving these offers just because they are desperate to fill that position.

Can we bring an end to this drama? Yes we can. How? Like I always say once a person has resigned his contribution and loyalty for that employer starts going down. Those are also people who can create more harm than adding any value to your organization. Let them go, 3 months is a ridiculously long time to keep someone in the system well only if you want to show the head for the headcount. Like most of the countries 2 week’s is a good time for knowledge transfer and farewells!

To all my senior management and decision makers of an organization, if you are looking at hiring people and looking at only immediate joiners it’s time to let your people go immediately too. It’s a circle and someone has to break it. 2 week’s believe me is a good time to let go and induct a new employees!

Yogita Uchil Human factor corporation

Flavours of Odia now in Chennai!

The city of Chennai has been exploding with flavours from all around India and the world. Who are giving us these delectable food? They are the kind hearted and loving home chefs who share food from their home kitchens!

Home chef Abhipsa has been in Chennai for awhile now and has been conducting quiet a few live cookery shows on instagram and Facebook. We have been encouraging her to start sharing the Flavours of Odia in Chennai for quite a long time now. The trigger for starting her small food delivery is the food exchange we had 2 week’s ago through our community group Eat Pray and Love that gave her the confidence that she could start taking baby steps towards her food journey!

we were lucky to be part of the first week of food going out of Abhi’s cafe. We had two style of meals one with
Ghee rice
Luchi
Dhaba style dal tadka
Alu potala bhaja ( pointed gourd fry)
Pithau bhaja ( rice coated veggies tawa fry)
Bilati baigana khata ( sweet tomato chutney)
Odia style malpua

Another with Ghee rice
Luchi
Dhaba style dal tadka
Chuin besara bhaja ( drumstick fry with mustard paste)
Saga bhaja ( green stir-fry)
Dahi bhendi ( ladies finger in yoghurt)
Odia style malpua

Paneer kobi tarkari ( paneer n cauliflower curry)


Chhanka tarkari ( odia style mix veg curry)

Machha Besara( fish in mustard gravy)


Kukuda jhola ( chicken gravy with potato odia style)

For people who want to know. Odia food like Bengali food is cooked using Mustard oil
Odia Cuisine is the cuisine of the state of Odisha. It has developed over time with local culture and agriculture and hence has its distinct items and practices. Odisha borders both north Indian states and south Indian states and consequently is similar to the cuisines of South and North India ( wiki)

For us it was totally delicious home cooked comfort food that came with the best ingredients and flavours from Abhipsa’s home kitchen. The Flavours were definitely extra special because it was loaded with love and affection. If you are in Chennai and looking to taste the Flavours of Chennai. Please reach out to Abhipsa on +91 99401 28965

The Joy of Bengali Home cooked food in Chennai!

The sunday Bengali lunch

The big bong lunch ❤️
Sundays are special but this one was super special.
It was my birthday weekend and we were invited to dine with  Joy and family.

Joyadrita (Joy) is a home chef who cooks up authentic Bengali food with recipes from her mom and grandma. Chennai is indeed lucky to have someone like her in the city. Joy has done couple of pop ups and food festivals in Chennai as well as mumbai.

Joy and me

How can we start a Lunch without the spirit? Joy’s husband Ragav makes excellent mojito I was told and mojito it was, must say the best that I have had so far!

Mojito by Ragav

The lunch was an elaborate affair. Started with the Bengali chicken cutlet, my eyes opened wider as I saw the cutlet puff up like a Puri when fried.

Bhetki Jhaal diye/Sea bass in mustard gravy, being a fish lover was my favourite. The fish was super fresh and the preparation was subtle yet so yummy!

Bhetki Jhaal diye/Sea bass in mustard gravy

Chingri Bati Chorchori/Freshwater shrimps in a spicy mishmash. The prawns were soft and sweet and the masala was perfect!

Chingri Bati Chorchori/Freshwater shrimps in a spicy mishmash

Robibarer Laal Manghsher Jhol/Sunday Mutton Curry. With my boys who love mutton this sure was a perfect sunday treat. Bongs make the best mutton I say, the flavour of the musturd oil compliments the flavour of the meat.

Off course we had to have some vegetables too. Phoolkopir Rosha/Cauliflower florets in a silken, flavorful gravy.

Phoolkopir Rosha/Cauliflower florets in a silken, flavorful gravy

Sobji diye ghee bhaat/Bengali Style ghee rice with seasonal vegetables. The flavour of the ghee was intense and perfect combo for the mutton curry!

Sobji diye ghee bhaat/Bengali Style ghee rice

The sweet chutney was more like a dessert, seasoned with the onion seeds the flavour was tangy yet sweet. Traditional this chutney is relished with papad and we had it the traditional way. This reminded me of how few people in the south have a combo of payasam and papadam. After all we Indians have so much similarity in our food habits irrespective of which part of India we belong too!

Sweet Tomato chutney

Lucky to have had this meal during the season of nolen Gur. Nolen Gur is date jaggery that is available in Bengal only during winter and is the best jaggery with loads of health benefits. We got to gorge on the nolen Gur rosgulla!

Nolen Gur rosgulla

And the story does not end there, we Love people who love our food and we want to give them more food. That’s exactly what happened to us. We had some take aways too. Must confess the most environment friendly packing, every small detail was taken into consideration when Joy thought of starting her home cooked food service. Her husband has been a pillar of support with fabulous packaging ideas.

Food packed in earthenware coverd with banana leaf!

I really think that we are so blessed to have home chefs like Joy who spread happiness and joy through food!

The families

A point to note, most of the Home chef’s are passionate about what they do, they don’t do it only for the monetary benefits. The ingredients that most of them use are from their home kitchen and are always hand picked with care and yes hence they do work a bit expensive. But the Joy that you get from the food that comes out of their kitchen is soul satisfying. Show them love and affection ❤️

The meal on our platter!

For authentic Bengali Home cooked food in Chennai reach out to Joy on +91 84520 98701 Instagram handle https://instagram.com/foodofjoyflavoursofbengal?igshid=16z0nkx5yj5xx