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Indian regional cuisine needs to be popularised, says industry experts

Monday, February 22, 2021, 10:00 Hrs  [IST]
Asmita Mukherjee | Hyderabad

ITM 2021 Virtual was organized by the Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality (FAITH) in association with Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. It was held from 18th February to 20th February. One of the sessions was “Indian cuisine - The emerging balance of power and taste”, which saw a good exchange of ideas among the panellists. 

While responding to a question put forth by the moderator, Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, Vice President, Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Association of India (FHRAI) on whether the impact of Covid has been the same as tier I across tier II and tier III cities, Ranveer Brar, Celebrity Chef said, “I strongly believe that people don’t like frills, bells, and whistles. People like next door sort of experiences. It’s just the way our culture was changing, casual was cool, but it has sped up because of Covid, among the many other things that sped up. I personally feel the fresh casual space is where we will see enormous growth, which will cover up for the lack of growth in fine dining, deliveries will cover up for the lack of growth in dining. The sum total is going to manage itself. Tier II and tier III cities are going to cover up for tier I cities.”

 “While we might like to think that the business is going to be the same, the books have changed; the syllabus has sort of changed. The way we look at our business, the P&L has changed. When we look at big hotels chains like Taj saying - I am going to do home delivery, I am going to pump up my top-line by just doing home delivery, you definitely know that the business, as you know it has changed. Hence, for the business to get back to as you knew it before, is not going to happen. What is going to happen is that some bit and pieces are going to cover up more, some bits and pieces are going to cover up less. Eventually, I strongly believe as a sum total of it, we will come back stronger,” he added.

Commenting about the huge variety of Indian cuisine, and the promotion of cuisine tourism, Chef Deepa Awchat informed that foreigners are not well aware of regional cuisines other than Punjabi cuisine or Mughlai cuisine, as these are the cuisines that have been well promoted. “I feel a focus on authentic regional cuisine should be there. We have to reinvent and popularise our cuisine. Each state should promote at a state level.”

Answering Kohli’s question on which are the emerging cusines of India, Ankit Chona, Managing Director, ?HRPL - Havmor Restaurants  said that, “Somewhere, we are coming back to basics. We have done enough of fusion. India is like Europe. Every state is like a country in itself. Every state’s cuisine is different. Right now what is selling the most is good wholesome food, also the farm to table concepts are working really well. Overall there is a shift happening towards healthier food, organic food.”

Speaking about his observations on the revival after Covid, Kamlesh Barot, Director, Vie Hospitality Pvt Ltd, said,  “Though I keep hearing time and again, of revival coming back of my own brand, it is far from reality, that we would probably clock the figures of what was estimated even by FHRAI at 35% downfall in the revenue. We are closely looking at anything between 60%-70% of the revenue getting knocked off, not only from hotels, but also from restaurants.”

 
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