'Travel Has Helped Me Conceptualize So Many Food Concepts'

Chef Manisha Bhasin is among the stalwart culinary personalities in Delhi. She is known to come up with amazing and unique food concepts such as Dehalvi, Barah Handi and The High Table at ITC Maurya. Little do many know that after food, her second biggest passion is travel. Some of these amazing concepts have actually been inspired by her many journeys to local farmer markets around the world and travel through length and breadth of India. She tells Nausheen Tareen how travelling for food has always inspired her...

Manisha Bhasin ITC


Travel to me means exploring food and culture of a place. I love to see and feel the local produce which entails a must visit to the local farmers markets. These are great not only for finding the best vegetable and fruits of the region but also for discovering local artefacts, flowers and cooked food that you can sample in great natural surroundings. I look at these visits as opportunities to chat up with the farmers to understand the finer nuances of their produce and come back with great tips on handling them here at home.


India - An Incredible Feast

Many places in India have inspired and intrigued me by their food culture. There can not be just one favorite food destination. Some of these places include Benaras, Amritsar, Kanpur, Chennai, Kerala, to name just a few. I feel India has so many different cuisines and each one has such unique characteristics which have evolved over the years and have interesting stories of evolution.

Manisha Bhasin ITC
"My travel escapades have also helped me in conceptualizing many food concepts at ITC Maurya over the years such as the Dehlavi, Barah Handi, The High Table, to name a few," says chef Manisha

Inspirational Food Destination Abroad - Japan

So far, my favourite destination has been Japan. I was there for two months and it was an experience beyond belief. Initially I could not understand the flavours, but today I really enjoy their cuisine and love it for the sheer quality and freshness of ingredients. It’s in Japan that I realized the indispensable role played by the ingredients in the final dish. My appreciation for great quality ingredients started from this trip. Each cuisine teaches you a different way of handling special ingredients which is vital for a chef to understand and implement.

Manisha Bhasin ITC
"Each cuisine teaches you a different way of handling special ingredients which is vital for a chef to understand and implement," explains chef Manisha


Fondest Food Memory – Fugu Processing

My fondest food memory has to be watching Fugu being processed at the award-winning restaurant Nadamam in Tokyo, Grand bay. I had gone there for a Japanese cuisine training for a few months. The restaurant kitchen had an aquarium where live Fugu was kept. As and when a guest ordered for Fugu, it was processed a la minute. The extremely deft skill set of the Fugu Master was mesmerizing, it was almost like watching a dance of knife by the chef. Incredible!

Hospitality High - A Farm Near Delhi

Manisha Bhasin ITC
Chef Manisha insists it is social responsibility of chefs to start respecting our local ingredients and cuisine heritage

I had visited a Bio Dynamic farm near Delhi. The learning was immense as the simplest of preparations, made from ingredients grown on this farm, tasted divine. We ate food prepared in the true artisan way as it is important to go back to the roots and explore our cultural and cuisine heritage especially in the current context when the ingredients available are not so pure. I feel it is a social responsibility of chefs to start respecting our local ingredients and cuisine heritage so as to make more people aware of it.

Cultural High - Florence


My favourite cultural destination has to be definitely Florence! It has everything from food, history, art, architecture, food markets and vineyards. And it has amazing people who have really preserved the heritage of the city.

Manisha Bhasin ITC
Manisha Bhasin is the Senior Executive Chef at ITC Maurya, New Delhi 

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