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.

ziya small

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).


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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