Free Press Journal

Food Talk with expert Michael Swamy


In the second part of the series, Sapna Sarfare speaks to Chef, Food Cr itic, Food stylist and Food Photographer, Michael Swamy to predict food trends in India for this year.

How has our food scene changed in the last few years, in terms of restaurants and our general tastes? 

​The scene has changed drastically over the last few years. The change has been phenomenal with the advent of big food shows and food festivals. The scene is of trying out new cuisines and adapting them to Indian food. Small town looks forward to visiting chefs and there has been an upliftment of local cuisines of late. There is also a downside as running a food business or restaurant is not at all easy. Therefore, for every successful restaurant, there are four times the amounts of restaurants that fail.​

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Chilli Cheese Poppers

What cuisines are still popular but have changed slightly over the last few years in India?

​Asian and Mexican cuisine is still popular. Italian one has gotten used to. The new age European cuisine is taking on but not many chefs are doing it. ​

In terms of certain food products or items, how have things changed?

​It keeps changing on import produce. However, the availability of new ingredients, although expensive, is seeing a change in the way we treat food. Though some supermarkets are overpricing these items, it’s still selling to an elite crowd. The problem is that though many foreign ingredients are in the market, most people don’t know what to do with them. The lack of a culinary education in schools is what is making it difficult for our cuisines to excel. I was in the US for a workshop recently. A visit to an IB school there and I was pleasantly surprised with all the questions on food being asked of me. Little kids knew more about global food than our school kids.​ ​Therefore, for us to know more about food and for things to change, we need to start culinary education at homes and in schools.​

What are the major food trends in 2016 to be seen in India, in terms of cuisines and products?

​The rise of local cuisines… this trend has been growing for a while. A few chefs have been trying to bring out local

micheal swamy

micheal swamy

cuisines and make a change in the way they are portrayed. The obstacle is that while they are bringing them out into the forefront, they are not experimenting and making them more accessible. Another trend is eating healthy and that is why cuisines like Vietnamese & South American are on the rise. These cuisines are based on using natural flavours and simple cooking techniques. Wholesome food is the trend of the day where people are more health conscious.

Which is the one trend you would want to see carry forward in 2016 from the last year or two?

​Organic and holistic food is a trend I want to see moving further. Trends where progressive Indian food makes a mark on the global front.​..

Eateries in Mumbai featuring this food trend

Mahesh Lunch Home

Most know this joint as the best place to chow on seafood Manglorean style. It has been attracting attention, thanks to its attempts to stick to authenticity.

Saayba, Bandra

It is yet another eatery in Mumbai famous for its seafood – both Maharashtrian and Malwani style. It has been able to hold its own amidst a series of seafood restaurants in and around Bandra.

Heng Bok, Bandra

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Prawn Salad

Another fabulous eatery in the po
pular Bandra suburb, Heng Bok is a Korean eatery, which has caught to fancy of Mumbaikars by introducing meals from the Land of Morning Calm.

Spices, JW Marriott, Juhu

Most know this landmark 5-star hotel (also sometimes fondly called Juhuwala Marriott), but its in-house restaurant is equally known for its Japanese and Thai offerings. ​

Italian Romanos, JW Marriott Sahar Airport

Another offering from the JW Marriott stable, but the Sahar airport outlet, Italian Romanos is popular for its rustic, home-style and organic Italian delicacies.