Vineet Bhatia: I Did Not Set Out To Be A Chef

Oh, I see!

Remember British author Roald Dahl’s 1964 children’s novel ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’? Of course you do. And surely the most memorable character, Willy Wonka; the innovative chocolate visionary and his scrumdiddlyumptious creations come to mind. For a moment, would you now imagine what Willy Wonka would whip up in an Indian rasoi? Welcome to the kitchen of Chef Vineet Bhatia. 

  • Blueberry and black cardamom kulfi
  • Blue cheese naan
  • Cumin-infused chocolate
  • Goat’s cheese and coriander khichdi

These curious compositions of ingredients with volatile textures and consistencies are distinctive of Vineet’s kitchen (and these recipes are included in his book ‘Rasoi: New Indian Kitchen’ for you to try at home). Earlier this year, during a short trip to Mumbai, I had visited Ziya at The Oberoi (food sketch below) where even the walls taste of pecan nuts and chocolate. Just kidding. Actually, it was almonds.

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Bursts of color pop on…

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Goa Diaries

Oh, I see!

After Hyderabad, we headed to Goa. At the airport, we had yet another Hyderabadi biryani as a farewell. Bad decision. The biryani was Andhra-style (hot), masala biryani. I couldn’t finish my plate, more like I didn’t want to, fearing episodes of stomach-gone-bad at the airport (which actually did happen, but much later during our trip).

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We took a Spice jet flight from Hyderabad to Goa. The aircraft was smaller than usual with just two seats on either side. The flight was of a short duration, 1 hour 20 minutes and I got busy sketching. Our plan was to stay in Panaji and you’ll read more about it in the next few minutes…

Reaching Goa, we had a welcome drink of Kokum juice which was refreshing, to say the least. I had never tasted Kokum and quite liked what I was drinking- sour and mildly sweet. Chilled. I imagined an invisible…

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