Home Making and Hotel Cooking; Hand in Hand Now!!!
Read about any celebrity interview and they will say that they miss the home cooked food when they travel abroad. “Ghar ka khana” is what we all crave for and cannot live without it for many days.
When at home, we do get tempted for gourmet foods which are appealing to eyes and tickle our taste buds; however, in day to day lives we all miss the simply cooked home food which is comparatively made with less oil, spices and is low in fat and cooked in simple ways.
And it’s probably due to the above reasons that home cooked food or “ghar ka khana” has now made its place in the menus of many 5 star hotels in Mumbai and Bangalore.
The urge of this food is so much that the guests are ready to pay high prices ($400) for home cooked food and to ensure the right taste and texture, the hotels have started hiring homemakers on contractual basis.
Taj Gateway Hotels is one such hotel which has a special menu known as “home style regional food menu”. The dishes listed under this menu are cooked by around 20 homemakers who work on contractual basis for Taj Gateway. This trend is followed in Taj Gateway Properties, which are based in different parts of India such as Ahemdabad, Conoor, Ooty, Bangalore, Agra, Vijaywada, Surat, Nashik, Mangalore and Khajuraho.
Also as per a Taj Gateway source, the demand for this food is usually high at dinner time and thus these homemakers work on afternoon to evening shift. It was further known from a Taj hotel source, "in all our kitchens, we have created a separate space for homemakers to cook and have given them one or two assistants. As homemakers are not used to commercial kitchens and ingredients, we have provided them regular utensils and other paraphernalia that exists in a home kitchen."
Hotel Lalit Ashok is yet another leading hotel of South which is seen to be working on similar lines. Nimish Bhatia, Regional Executive Chef South, Lalit Ashok mentions that having mother’s cooking methods and home cooked foods in the menu is a current trend in hotel industry. Lalit Ashok Hotels also follow this trend and have simple home style cooked dishes like methi aloo, gobi aloo, chicken curry and phulkas in their home cooked food menu. He further says that these dishes are mostly welcomed by people who are on travelling profiles.
Mother’s cooking is also seen to be encouraged by ITC Group of hotels where a special ITC signature meal, known as “Welcomeal” is introduced. The meal combo is meant to serve one diner and includes a portion of dal, rotis, vegetable, rice, curry (vegetarian or non-vegetarian), salad and a dessert. As per an ITC source "We ensure that our food and beverages encompass both ITC's signature branded cuisine and leverage the local cuisine of the region the hotels are located in".
On one hand, where the few giants of hotel industry are pleasing their guests by serving home cooked food, on the other, there are a few who have initiated culinary course for the home makers so that their family can also relish hotel cooked exotic foods of different cuisines by sitting at their own homes.
The lead in this cause has been taken by Mumbai based Taj Mahal Palace Hotel where a 10 week baking and cooking course is about to start. The lessons will be imparted at Chef’s Studio. which is based in one of the wings of Taj Hotels.
Once the course takes off well in Mumbai, the group has plans to start it in other properties also. In words of Taj spokesperson “We have been getting several requests from guests expressing their desire to spend a couple of days in the kitchen to learn how certain dishes are prepared. Some families want their domestic helps to be trained in international cuisines. Some young homemakers have approached us as they want to improve their culinary skills,"
Additionally, Hemant Oberoi, Chef Taj Chain, is all set to create a module which will also work on dining etiquette of interested homemakers and their families.
So, now when this mutual food and cooking exchange is happening on both the fronts; we can be sure of delicious platters, both at home and hotel. Bon Appetit!
Image Credit- mumbai.metromela.com