Passion is always infectious and
when it’s about cooking, sharing and documenting food, it becomes aromatically
contagious too. But for someone, who has been tirelessly documenting and preserving
India’s rich and diverse food traditions, it’s just an unending quest to
explore, understand and rediscover food. Renowned culinary historian Ashish
Chopra feels that he shares a childhood connect with food. “Food has always
excited me since my childhood. I can safely say that I am a born foodie. Being
the son of an anthropologist, I was always fascinated by stories about cultures
and their cuisines. As a young child, I would always accompany my father on his
various field trips to different parts of India and during field trips, dad
would love to cook,” he recalls.

Chopra, who is also a chef,
author, travel writer and TV show host, feels that it’s immensely important to
keep the diverse food cultures of India alive through documentation. “Wherever
I would travel I would document food and culture and that is how the culinary
historian was born in me. I have also had an opportunity to travel pan India
for various projects with the government, private Institutions as well as with
television channels as an expert and that further fuelled my quest about
exploring food cultures. There is so much to discover and share. I feel it is
my national duty to share the rich culinary heritage of India with the world,”
he says.

Sharing about his journey
documenting tribal cuisines of India, he feels this has been his one of the
most fascinating expeditions. “I have been studying tribal culture for over three
decades now and it has taught and given me so much. I have covered over 250
tribes pan India – how they live with nature, respect it, their myths, beliefs and
traditional wisdom is indeed wonderful. Food and festivity is an integral part
of their existence and their indigenous knowledge about various herbs and medicinal
plants teaches us a lot. With their lands being encroached upon now by various
agencies, it’s all the more important to document their cultures before it dies
due to rampant modernisation in the wrong way,” says Chopra, who has authored NE Belly: The Basic Northeast Cook Book
on the food culture of North East.

India’s first School of Ancient Culinary Arts (SACA) coming up near Rajaji National park
in the foothills of Dehradun

Transforming his passion into a
more concrete idea and platform, he is currently putting his efforts towards
the setting up of India’s first School of Ancient Culinary Arts (SACA). Located
in the picturesque surroundings of Rajaji National park in the foothills of
Dehradun in Uttaranchal, the school will have chefs from villages and they will
impart their traditional knowledge to chefs from different parts of the world.

With food and history combining passionately
and the fusion of traditional & contemporary cuisines, we are sure to get some
fascinating stories of our rich and diverse food heritage on the table.

Source link


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here