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Indian Treasures 2.0 – A Dinner Date

It was a crispy cold Sunday evening. The dining hall and makeshift back kitchen of Press Club at Civil Lines were abuzz with frenzied activity- an evening of the second edition of Indian Treasures was finally here! Nativ-team was going through last-minute preparations- decorating tables, instructing helpers, setting dish booklet et all. There were salads being prepared and drinks being poured. The tables were being set and plates were being stocked. This dramatic activity made the excitement more palpable.

www.nativchefs.comToday, their long weeks of hustle for organizing this buffet dinner would test waters. Today, they would be hosting a party for 35 guests. And today, the guests would be tasting some of the most delicious, authentically prepared Indian dishes!

“India has so many dishes that go unnoticed, so many cooking methods that we are unaware of. Each recipe on our menu has its own story, each is its own hero. They are all hidden treasures which we wanted to highlight with Indian Treasures, and hopefully garner some appreciation for our own Tarla Dalals!” shares founder Leena Dixit.

www.nativchefs.comRight from selecting the menu to selecting the venue- the Nativ-team toiled for three weeks straight to organize a pleasurable evening. After exceedingly long hours of discussions and endless cups of Chai, the outline of this buffet started taking shape. A starter course, main course, and dessert from all four zones of our country were locked and sealed. There would be 22 dishes- each representing its diverse culture, straight out of our chef’s home kitchen!


“I think the toughest part of this was locking the menu- we have close to 50 chefs and all wanted a place on the plate! After so many elaborate meetings with the team and our food expert, we boiled down to these final 22. And I think everyone was supportive once we finalized them,” recalls Mrs. Dixit. 

After the first line of guests hit our buffet counters, a cumulative aroma of smoky and spicy flavors had already settled in the room. Amidst children’s laughter and grandparent’s chitter-chatter, there was a comfortable vibe all around.

“I think with this leg of Indian Treasures, we have come a long way. We were more prepared overall, more poised and everything went on smoothly. Everybody seemed to be having a good time. Our chefs also gave us their A games that evening! They did what they do best- cook fabulous food. They engaged with the guests, explained their recipes, even met a few fans!” says Mrs. Dixit fondly.

Guests, indeed, enjoyed the food. Some found their new found love for Parsi Dhansak, while some indulged in sweet nostalgia with Sheer Khurma. One of the evening’s guests, a senior couple Mr. and Mrs. Dass loved Litti Chokha, and say, “Being Punjabis, it is something that we don’t get to eat in restaurants that often. It is all commercialized and mass-produced there. But with Litti Chokha here, we tasted an authentic dish. Now we know what it really tastes like in Bihar.”

www.nativchefs.comAnother guest, a well-renowned food blogger Neha Rahate from Nagpur. describes her experience and says, “This was my first dinner at Indian Treasures, and I loved it! The quality of cooking is a specimen of the expertise of their home chefs because we don’t usually get to eat authentic dishes. I think I might have a newfound love for Keema Samosas and Dhansak now!”

www.nativchefs.comJust like every dessert needs a pinch of salt, the guests shared their feedbacks too. To this, Dixit says, “We are very well aware of our shortcomings. This was only our second attempt at buffet dinner, and we rectified our mistakes from the previous one. And we would always strive harder to serve the most authentic experience. Hopefully, the next edition will be even better!”

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A chef reaching new Horizons

Shruti Jain was an ordinary girl with an MBA in HR and Marketing. Although her family had a business of their own, there was no pressure on her to pursue the family tradition. But, she always had lots of dreams and aspirations, that were yet to see the light of the day. Her affair with the culinary arts began when she started to assist her mother in cooking for guests at home. The spark found its flame when she took a liking for the craft and started conducting classes for local ladies in the vicinity. As the word of mouth spread, the frequency of her workshops increased. Needless to say, her recognition spawned to humungous proportions.

Later, she participated in Master Chef India contest. This took her one notch higher. It unlocked entire new doorways of opportunities, a new plethora of new cuisines like international, Chinese, Thai and a compendium of innovative dishes like desserts, chocolates, and Nano cooking were now adding more feathers in the cap of her culinary odyssey. She was called as a jury for many cookery contests, where she judged budding novices.

She won a place in Limca book of records for making 323 varieties of items from potatoes. Another feat is her mention in the Asia book of records for 21 layer cake from 21 grains weighing 21 kg made on 21 January for 21 disabled children. She was honored with the title of “Chef of Nagpur.”

She believes she has explored new horizons, as she now works as a consultant for many hotels. She helps them to make bonafide tweaks to their menus with the help of her widely gleaned expertise. She plans to conduct workshops in the Middle East in yet another year.

She feels that The Gourmet of Nagpur is on the anvil of positively huge transformation and that the palette of the quintessential Nagpur foodie is evolving, day by day. The fleet of new innovative food joints are a testimony to this. Thus, attesting to the fact that Nagpur is definitely making its mark on the global culinary scenario. Thereby, making a mark on the international Gourmet map.

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Indian Treasures: A toast to forgotten, unsung Recipes

We are currently on the anvil of the descending Internet era. With the onset of globalization and digital technology, our daily life has garnered some radical changes and is somewhat doing a somersault. But as the old adage goes, the same fire that melts the butter hardens the egg. Also, the same hammer that forges the steel shatters the glass into shards. Similarly, the onslaught of the factors above mentioned has had a humongous effect on the food culture in India. Meaning to say that, yes, the nanotechnology which is at large now has brought us closer and shrunk the world. But, as far as the food domain is concerned, it has ironically distanced and eroded our love for traditional homemade recipes, that have been passed from generation to generation akin to an heirloom. These recipes are tethering on the brink of oblivion and are now going kaput.T the culprit being the fusion food and invariably, so.

However, on the other end of the spectrum, there is good news too! We at Nativ Chefs endeavor to revive these treasured jewels and ensure that they remain evergreen. We persevere to choose avant-garde chefs who are originally from the region where the dish belongs. Their skills are like pearls in a shell which are of no use unless they have good exposure. Nativ Chefs gives them a platform to showcase their culinary talents as they treat the world as their oyster and paint the town red with their skills. They can celebrate their motherland and at the same time, discover their identity. They can work from the comfort of their abodes with flexible timings. The majority of our chefs are winners of prestigious cookery contests.

This would further bolster your faith in the delectable recipes made by these culinary wizards. For them, cooking is a religion. It is a language that tugs on the cockles of the heart and the coffers of the soul. They are distinguished and seasoned professionals which sets them apart from the crowd. We believe those cooks are artists and cookery is an art of self-expression. It reflects the redolent scent of the land, just like fruit is known by its tree.

Nativ Chefs conducted a cookery contest called “Indian treasures”, on the 10th of December 2018 at Chitnavis Centre in Tamarind hall. The timing is 12 pm to 4 pm. It was attended by over 55 participants and the overall turnout was over 120. There were four categories, namely:

  1. Vegetarian Snacks
  2. Non-Vegetarian Snacks
  3. Vegetarian Native cuisines
  4. Non-Vegetarian Nativ cuisines

Every participant was allowed to bring one or two guests.

Nativ Chefs thanked  NTC, Punit Super Bazaar, Whirlpool, VLCC, Waghamare Masale, & Gruhini ready mix for sponsoring the event.

The esteemed panel of judges included stalwarts like Madam Chitra Soni, who patronized the event and delivered fair and impartial judgment.

“Indian treasures”, was dedicated to forgotten unsung recipes and it was a traditional zeitgeist. The winners got a chance to be a part of the Nativ chefs team and to win attractive prizes as well.