Chef Vanshika Bhatia On Embracing Old Grains And On Need Of Sustainability
Image Credit: Chef Vanshika Bhatia loves to work around sustainability/ Pic- Facebook

When you think of one of the most sustainable chef in the country one name that surely tops the list is that of Chef Vanshika Bhatia. Bhatia’s journey is nothing less than a dream from having interned at Noma, worked with Gaggan Anand and more, she had though studies for baking as a teenager, but always had the urge to be a chef. She always wanted to go to a culinary school. Her passion to preserve her native cuisine, work with sustainable products and promote Indian food globally using local Indian ingredients sets her apart in the culinary scene.

Today as the head chef at OMO- which is built on the ethos of a more awakened lifestyle; accustomed to healthy living and smart-conscious dining, the sanguine bespoke chic cafeì, handcrafted for a euphoric embrace of sustainability and nostalgia. Stirring the magical melting pot she has earned her stripes by whipping out delightful gourmet dishes across the best restaurants in the country.

Currently as she is travelling around North East, Vanshika managed a quick chit chat with HTSlurrp

The culinary genius that you are how do you see the industry embracing age old recipes, old grains like amaranth, millet etc and sustainability as the way forward?

Using forgotten grains like millets and grains like different variety of rice is the fascination for a lot of chefs right now . Hopefully the financing authority in restaurants will realise that if they buy these ingredients and use it , the overall cost will be lesser then using imported ingredients.  Alot of chefs are doing alot of innovation and trying to introduce these ingredients on the menu. We also need to educate the consumer on the benefits of eating local instead of just putting on the menu and forgetting about it. Chefs have to also give interesting names on the menu like millet taco or nachos so people can relate it to foods they are used to having.

What trick and brainstorming goes when it comes to designing a new flavor or a menu?

One thing I learnt working at different parts of the world are how different  communities pair ingredients together. This has helped me in experimenting with ingredients and trying out different methods to cook them . 

So usually I take an ingredient in season eg beetroot, try to cook it with as many  methods as possible eg roasting, steaming, sautéed,  fried, dried, pickles,  fermented etc and then see what works best. Then try it with an herb in season or another vegetable in season and then pair with a protein. Any dish can start with just a herb for eg fennel leaves and then be paired with a main ingredient like fish. Keeping in mind that even a humble leaf can be a hero ingredient.

How sustainable is the new menu of OMO?

Her version of open sandwich/Pic- Facebook


Who is your worst critic when it comes to food?

My sister I think. She tells me what the customer will like when I go all crazy experimental.