New trends for foodies called restaurant weeks are getting increasingly common around the world.
New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Sydney and Hong Kong are established players in this area and food lovers eagerly look forward to good cuisine at an amazingly reasonable prices. India is not far behind now with such restaurant weeks in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore held twice a year.
A three-course meal at Rs.1,000 at some of the finest restaurants is indeed a steal. As many as 47 eateries participated in the last Restaurant Week in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore Sep 12-18 last year. The next will be held from March 12-19 and more than 60 restaurants are expected to participate.
But another unique concept of a "Chef's Table Week" is also gradually taking root in India. After the inaugural event in Delhi and Mumbai in September 2011, the biannual event concluded recently Feb 12.
Organised by the same team behind the "Restaurant Weeks" in India, it is a take-off where instead of offering a three-course meal, 13 of Delhi's finest restaurants provided a six-course chef's tasting menu at Rs.2,500.
The participating restaurants included Pan Asian and Dakshin at WelcomHotel Sheraton, Varq at The Taj Mahal Hotel and West View and My Humble House at ITC Maurya. The Smoke House Room, Circa 1193 and Olive at the Qutab were some of the other participating restaurants in Mehrauli. The 10 participating restaurants in Mumbai included Ziya and Vetro at The Oberoi, Mumbai and Kebab & Kurries at ITC Grand Central.
Vel Murugan. P, one of the master chefs at Dakshin, was personally involved in overseeing the preparation of "kal yera thokku" (lobster masala) with "sannas" (Mangalorean flabby idli) as part of the "Chef's Table Week" at WelcomHotel Sheraton, Saket .
"This is a great favorite apart from kane rawa fry (fried lady fish)," said Vel Murugan.
Manoj Kumar Goel, sous chef at Varq at Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi, has been catering to very discerning customers during the Chef's Table Week and it was a complete sellout.
"The focus is on experiencing tasting menus and interacting with the Chef . Customers get a chance to meet the person behind the restaurant's menu while enjoying a culinary experience catered for them," said Nachiket Shetye, one of the founders of this unique concept.
He earlier started the India Restaurant Week in September 2010 with Mangal Dalal and Azeem Zainulbhai. The 153 tables at the 13 participating restaurants were completely sold out at the recently concluded "Chef's Table Week" in Delhi and Mumbai.
Anirban Dasgupta, executive sous chef, Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi feels that the time is right for introducing the concept of the Chef's Table Week in India. At the last "Restaurant Week", in September 2012, the allocation of 2,000 tables were also sold out with 4,000 food lovers waiting to be accommodated.
This unique venture was started by three friends passionate about food and immersed in the food industry in Mumbai. Participating restaurants showcase some of their best dishes and customers have the luxury of not having to worry about what to order though dietary preferences are taken into account by the Chef.
Lovers of good food are eagerly looking forward to the third edition of the "Chef's Table Week" later this year.
(Suvendu Banerjee is president and chief executive of Business Images, a leading public relations and management consultancy. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)