Behind the Lens: @nothingbutfoodies

Behind the Lens: @nothingbutfoodies

Dishtag on 12 Mar ’19 Dishtag learns how this medical student was inspired to be a foodie KOL Brought to you by: Dishtag
In the first of our series of interviews with Dishtag freelance food photographers , we caught up with Hong Kong born and raised third-year medical student Charlotte, aka @nothingbutfoodies . Charlotte tells us how she got into food photography and what inspires her. She talks about the first dish she photographed and how she has improved over the years. And she reveals what it has been like to work as a freelance photographer for Dishtag over the past nine months.
How did you get into food photography?
Actually, I didn’t start off with food photography – it was just trip photography, taking photos of scenic views or people. My dad is into photography, so that’s who inspired me. Eventually, I started taking photos of food because I like eating so much! So it just seemed very natural for me to take photos of the food I eat. I think it’s the perfect combination of my two passions: my passion for food and my passion for photography.
How did you go from food photographer to being a freelance photographer for Dishtag?
Well, at first, when Adam and Raffy approached me through my foodie account on Instagram, I was really surprised, because I was just an amateur. I didn’t know much about the gear, lighting or settings, so I was nervous at first. But I think at Dishtag what they look for is not the perfect food photographer but someone with potential. Never would I have thought that, as a medical student, I’d one day be able to go to restaurants and take photos as a professional food photographer. But then I realised that it doesn’t matter; as a photographer at Dishtag, you don’t have to be perfect. You’re not expected to know everything. The most important thing is that you have passion and that you have a vision. What is valued is that you have your own point of view, your own artistic sense and your own style in food photography. As long as you have these, I think you’re more than capable of being a photographer at Dishtag.
What was the first dish you photographed?
A macaron! I’m sure I did snap some random shots of food when eating out, but the first photo where I really tried to take a nice photo was this macaron (below). As you see, it’s a very basic shot with a white background of me holding the macaron. So it was nothing too spectacular.
And from that first dish to now, what do you wish you would have known then?
Two things: first, it’s better to take more shots than less. Improving is a lot about trial and error. You can’t take one shot and it’s going to be perfect . So don’t be afraid to take more photos of the same dish and try to make adjustments each time. Second, don’t be afraid to embarrass yourself. As a food photographer, when you want that perfect shot, it’s not like you can act normal at a restaurant, like a customer, and just sit in your seat taking photos. Sometimes, especially for flat lays, you need to get the photo from up high. So don’t be afraid to take off your shoes and stand on a chair and take the photo! If you see a nice wall, take the dish in front of the wall and get the shot. And if the lighting inside is not so good, take the dish outside and get your shot and go back inside. People may look at you in a weird way, but don’t worry. They don’t know you, and I assure you the outcome is going to be so much better. It’s going to be worth it! Of course, rule number one is not to disturb other people, but within this rule just do creative things that you think will make your photo look nice. And, again, don’t be afraid to embarrass yourself. Have fun!
What have you learned most since the beginning?
I think I’ve realised not to rely so much on editing but really focusing on taking a good photo, because it‘s going to make a difference. For example, good lighting will make or break your photo. Whenever I go to restaurants, I always try to take the window seat. It’s going to make your photos look so much better. Natural light really works like magic. With good lighting, the details of the photos, the colours are just going to be so much better. Also, composition and angle are key. These are not things that editing will help you with that much, so always try to get a good photo instead of saying, Oh, I can just take a mediocre photo and have the editing do the magic for me.
When did you know you were doing it “right”?
Well, to be honest, I don’t think there was this “click” moment that I immediately knew I was finally doing it right. But, now that I look back, I do see there has been progress. When I just started off, I might have taken a hundred photos and seen one that I love, but now if I take a hundred photos, there’s probably 60 that I say, Oh, wow, I really like this shot! I think it’s a lot about practising. Trial an error. In photography, there’s not gonna be this moment when you say, Oh, I finally found the key to taking good photos, and I am going to follow that rule every time to get the perfect photo. No, it’s not going to be that way, but I think as you go on and you gain more experience, you start to develop an artistic eye. Now when I see a dish or an object, I already picture a photo in my mind, so I know which angle I should use to approach this particular dish. I think it’s a lot about experience, really. With experience, I know the things that I should avoid and the things that I should do to help me to take a good photo.
And how do you compare a recent photo with the first macaron shot?
We can see that the macaron photo is just very plain, with a boring background. Now I know how to utilise different props and different backgrounds to make the photos look more interesting. Looking at the flat lay of the Nepalese lamb curry (below), there are a lot of things going on on the table. The props help to make your theme more cohesive and, therefore, your photo more interesting. Another thing is about perspective. Now that I have taken more food photos, I know that there are different angles and perspectives that I can choose to take my photos. The macaron photo was taken from a straight 90-degree angle, which is the most natural option. But now I know that I can try different angles and perspectives based on the interesting elements I can find in the background. For example, in this burger shot (below), if you look more closely, there’s actually a barbed window in between the camera and the burger. I really like the effect that it gives; it gives the photo more texture, and there’s this spacial element to it. So I realised that trying different perspectives and angles in taking food photos helps taking what you might say is the “right” photo.
And what about lifestyle shots?
One thing I really like right now is using action shots. It makes your photo so much more lively and sometimes helps to bring out the “better part” of the food. Like in this noodle shot (below) – if I hadn’t taken the noodles out, it would just be an ordinary bowl of noodles. Now, with the noodles picked up with the chopsticks, you can really see what’s hidden inside the bowl, and it makes everything so much more appealing.
And has Dishtag helped you to improve as a food photographer?
Definitely! It has helped me to improve a lot. Before Dishtag, I only took photos because I was passionate about food photography. I would take photos of what I ate and post on Instagram. It was only for me and my followers; there wasn’t really much consequence behind posting a bad photo. I just posted photos thinking, Oh yeah, that’s pretty nice. But after I joined Dishtag, the aim of a shoot becomes different; it’s not just about pleasing followers – you have to meet a certain aesthetic standard, and it really helped me to push myself, trying even harder. I can’t just take “pretty” photos. I have to take really good photos because you have to satisfy your client as well. Also Dishtag is really about professional food photography, so the settings are very different. Usually, for my Instagram account, I just sit down at the restaurant, and before I eat, I spend a minute or two taking snapshots of my food, but for Dishtag, you really need a few hours to set up your lighting and your props to perfect your shot. And so having to push yourself to that kind of aesthetic level has really helped me to improve a lot. Just thinking how to make the perfect shot – it’s a really good training process for me.
What are the most difficult dishes to shoot?
Dishes that don’t have much dimension are tough – like dishes that are really, really flat. For example, a carpaccio, with very thin slices of fish. So if you take a side-shot photo from a 90-degree angle, it is not going to show much in the photo. So you have to think of ways to make those things pop. Here you can think of doing a flat lay. Like, for pizza, you can do a flat lay; that really works. Also I’ve learned to do action shots, so trying to lift the object up so that it doesn’t look so flat. Another thing that I find really hard to shoot are whole meat and fish plates – like a roasted suckling pig, a steamed fish or a roasted chicken. These are hard to make look appealing. I am still figuring out how to make these things look nice, so it’s an ongoing challenge. But one thing I would say helps is trying to utilise props to make the scene more lively.
So aside from the difficult dishes, how do you vary your approach to different types of food?
I think the first thing is the environment of the restaurant itself, which can really make a difference. If you’re at a café, the interiors are most likely going to be more brightly lit. If you‘re at a high-end restaurant, maybe it is going to be darker. The second thing is the props that you use. For example, if I am at a café, I want to use cloths that are pastel colours or use more wool and cotton and plants. If I am at a more high-end restaurant, I want to step back from things that feel too homey. So props are going to make a huge difference. Another thing that makes a difference is the editing; for example, you can go for warmer or cooler tones in post-production.
What inspires you?
Definitely the work of others. There are so many amazing photographers with gorgeous photos on social media; you can really take inspiration from them. You can see how they use lighting and composition. You can recognise their style and their tones. From their photos you try to take something you like yourself and evolve it into something of your own.
And what do you like most about being a food photographer?
The food! As a food photographer, you get to try so many different types of food, and it’s always a pleasure (and a reward) for me to get to try some of the dishes after taking the photos. That’s always the best part. And, of course, the connections that I’ve built as a photographer are something that I am really grateful for – whether with restaurants, managers or fellow food photographers. It’s so nice to meet people from the F&B industry. And you see how so many people in the industry have such a vision and put so much heart into what they do (see For the Love of F&B ). Also, I really enjoy being able to get to know other food photographers to share ideas and taking inspiration from each other.
Is Hong Kong a good place to be a food photographer?
Hong Kong is definitely amazing for food photography, considering how glorious the food scene is. There are so many different kinds of cuisines – from Chinese, to Indian, to Japanese, to French and from cheap eats to fine dining. Varying from one type of food to another, there are different ways to take photos of that specific dish or food, and I think it gives you a lot of space to create. And, at the same time, it is a challenge. You can’t just stick to your one-way game. You have to think of different ways to capture the essence of different type of cuisines and different dishes. So I think this is an amazing training opportunity as well a really good environment to grow and create your own style and your own photography.
It’s clear you are super passionate about being a food photographer, so how do you balance this with being a full-time medical student?
I am not gonna lie – studying medicine is not easy at all. It does take a lot of dedication and a lot of time. But, for me, food photography is part of my daily life. Because, I mean, we all need to eat, right? So it’s a daily habit for me to bring my camera with me. People say I am crazy because I carry this several kilo object every day, but it’s become a habit for me; every day I go out to eat, and I take my camera and take photos of my food. So I don’t see food photography as much as a burden as part of my routine. Of course, there is editing, which is really time-consuming, and most times, it takes me a full afternoon to edit photos for a Dishtag visual menu. But while it may be time-consuming, it is not a waste of time at all. I really enjoy every moment of it. I find it really fun and stimulating. I guess it’s like a destress method for me; when I’m tired of studying, I edit my photos. When I have a break, I go to a restaurant or café and take photos.
So any advice to food photographers who are considering being part of Dishtag?
Being part of Dishtag has been such an incredible experience for me, so I would say just go for it ! So if you’re interested and you’re passionate about food photography, just go ahead and give it a try. You’ll find that it is really so worth it and so rewarding. And I do hope that more food photographers will join the Dishtag network. We do need a lot more talented food photographers, and I can assure you won’t regret it. Connecting food lovers to dishes, food photographers to restaurants, and restaurants to food lovers share the ♥

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The Tangled Cultures of Goa, India

Shopping in the market area of Margao, Goa, India. Susan McKee photos
By Susan McKee
India is a vast subcontinent encompassing many cultures, several religious, various climates and tangled history. Goa is a good place to start.
Although Great Britain ruled the Raj for almost 90 years — and bequeathed a common commercial language and a (once) robust rail system — other countries also established beachheads there over the centuries. Coast of Goa along the Indian Ocean
Portugal’s Colonizer of Goa
One notable colonizer was Portugal. Remember Henry, the 14th-century Portuguese prince known as the Navigator (1394-1460)? Although he never sailed the seas himself, he financed many voyages furthering exploration and trade, and sponsored the collection of geographic knowledge and cartography.
Under his direction, the Portuguese developed the caravel, a highly maneuverable ship that could explore rivers as well as oceans. With this new information and technology, Portugal set out to trade with the world.
The Portuguese influence is still in evidence throughout the Goa state, which became part of India in 1961. The smallest in area of all Indian states, it’s the only part of the subcontinent where Roman Catholic churches, Hindu temples, and Muslim mosques co-exist (Portuguese rule superseded Muslim rule).
It’s the only place in India where it’s possible (at least when I was there) to order beef at a restaurant.
Goa’s defining feature for today’s mostly European tourists are the beaches. Dozens of elegant resorts have been built along the coast with all the expected international luxury brand names: Leela, Le Meridien, Taj, Vivanta, Marriott, Grand Hyatt, Radisson Blu, and more. Fetching directions Print directions
Reserve a stay at one of these and hotel rep will meet you at Dabolim Airport and whisk you away to walled and isolated splendor. Margão, Goa, India (Photo by Susan McKee)
That wasn’t my style. I had just a week, and I wanted to see the non-touristy side of Goa. I selected midrange locally-owned hotels — one in Margão and the second in Anjuna. Also see: Galicia, Spain: A Treasure Trove of Culture and Cuisine
Margão was a great place to start. It is in the less touristy south of Goa, and I was the only Westerner in my hotel (which seemed, at times, to terrify the staff). But everyone at the Nanutel spoke English — as is typical in the hospitality industry in India — and I had no problems.
I loved lingering over the buffet breakfast served under a canopy on the rooftop terrace. Holy Spirit Catholic Church, Margão, Goa, India
The city of about 90,000 is a bustling place. The walkable core includes restaurants, shops, a marketplace, historic buildings, and a flower-filled city garden named after its benefactor, Prince Aga Khan.
Lavish Gilt Interior
The historic Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Church with its white-washed exterior hides a lavish gilt interior.
It was built almost five centuries ago atop a Hindu temple which had replaced a Muslim mosque. Across from the church is a small landscaped area called Praça da Alegria, notable for its Portuguese tiles.
To get from Margão to Anjuna, I hired a car and driver upon the recommendation of the hotel desk. On the way, we stopped at the Basilica of Bom Jesus in the town of Old Goa. St. Francis Xavier “resides” permanently here, in a casket high above the altar.
The site attracts Roman Catholic pilgrims from around the world because St. Francis Xavier, born in the Kingdom of Navarre in 1506, was a co-founder of the Society of Jesus (better known as the Jesuits).
The northern part of Goa is known best for its seaside resorts — there are lots more tourists here, especially from Russia. It’s the only place in India that I’ve seen blond, dreadlocked surfer dudes (a subspecies of backpacker I thought had died out). Also see: Winslow, Arizona: Standing on the Famous Corner Wall sign for the German Bakery in Anjuna, Goa
I stayed somewhat inland at a quirky hotel attached to what seemed to be a magnet for Westerners: the German Bakery.
Why? One thing you can seldom find in India is Western-style bread — you know, the stuff we slice and make sandwiches with or the cinnamon rolls we feast on at breakfast.
The German Bakery in Anjuna has all kinds of bread just like in Europe. But, there’s more. It’s open 8 a.m. ’til 11 p.m. each day, serves a full menu of food from Asian and European cuisines (including options that are vegan or gluten-free) and, on Wednesday evenings, presents live entertainment.
And there’s free WiFi throughout. I could have stayed a month.
The primary draw for Anjuna is the Wednesday market. It’s enormous. Every souvenir you’ve ever wanted can be found here.
Vendors come from across India and as far away as Tibet to bargain with a clientele of mostly European tourists.
Do note that Goa is subject to tropical monsoons and astonishingly high temperatures in the summer. Plan your trip with an eye on the calendar, and don’t forget a hat, sunscreen, and an umbrella. Shopping at the Wednesday market in Anjuna, Goa, India If you liked this article, you may like these as well:

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GupShup Turns a Bafflingly Trendy Menu Into a Whimsical Delight, Rooted in Indian Flavors

Website: Website Phone: (212) 518-7313 Here’s the scene on a recent night at GupShup, a hip new Indian restaurant that has attracted the likes of actor Anupam Kher and comedian Jimmy Fallon. Bollywood movies show at the upstairs bar while thumping club music — not so much the dancing kind as the anonymous variety familiar from a duty-free cosmetics store — fills the dining room. A large group of Elite Yelpers, distinguished by their very cool nametags, are mingling, swirling red wine, and hovering too close to our table. My party has been waiting for the first course to show up, but when a server finally swings by, she brings something a bit less expected: a beverage bill from the downstairs bar. “It would be great if you could settle up,” she says. How welcoming. Ten minutes later, a waiter ferries over a tray filled with guacamole, tacos, ramen, and other fusiony fare that wouldn’t feel out of place at a clubstaurant like Tao or Vandal. That reality extends to the cocktail list. Anyone who orders the house mule, a watery mix of Grey Goose, turmeric, ginger, and lavender, will have to ask for an “Ayurvedic Jackass.” It’s all enough to make one wonder: Is it not odd that chef Gurpreet Singh, whose eye for nuance made Indian Accent one of the city’s more exhilarating fine dining experiences, is channeling the ubiquities (and ignominies) of the modern food world? It is odd — until you start eating. Guacamole at GupShup Guacamole, at first glance, is indistinguishable from other excellent versions elsewhere. Cooks mash the avocados to order with green chiles and cilantro — nothing out of the ordinary. But a few subtle tweaks make the dish stand out. Cooks lace the fruit with cumin; its sweet musk wafts along the palate. And instead of fried tortillas, GupShup uses khakhra crisps: thin, fried, fenugreek-laced flatbread from Gujarat. And while the supply of chips is only sufficient for about 60 seconds’ worth of guac eating (lolz), an order of garlic naan finishes the job with efficiency. It’s a pricey ’mole at $18, or $24 with bread, but the clear flavors and soft, meringue-like textures are flawless. For “tacos,” Singh wraps a mash of jackfruit inside chilla pancakes. The soft shell, made from lentil flour, has the springy give of injera, while the fruit, sporting the texture of firm tofu, yields to a gentle chew. It conveys meatiness without meat, singes the tongue with chiles, and finishes with the perfume of lime. You continue eating, and you slowly realize why folks are flocking to this packed patch of Gramercy. The dining room and the jackfruit tacos There are at least two branches to the ongoing evolution of Indian fare in New York. One of them, which includes venues like Chintan Pandya’s Adda and Hemant Mathur’s Sahib, espouses forward-looking classics and less-commonly found regional dishes — from Kashmiri methi maaz (lamb in fenugreek sauce) to bheja fry (eggy goat-brain stews). These venues function to remind New Yorkers that South Asian food isn’t a static monolith but an ever-changing collection of distinct (and overlapping) cuisines. Singh’s restaurant does not belong to that group, not with its lamb seekh burgers, masala fries, and cod sliders. Its gastronomic leanings align with a different gang, a league of South Asian spots that add a layer of internationalism and creativity to more traditional dishes. One thinks of the yuzu-laced chile crabs of Rahi in Greenwich Village or the foie gras duck haleem of Baar Baar, a frenetic Bowery space with a Buddakan-style vibe. GupShup, by Indian-born restaurateur Jimmy Rizvi (Korali Estiatorio), is a more sedate affair. It finds its energy in art — from a two-story wall of 3,000 tiffins to artist Karishma Naran’s mural of a modern Indian woman — and in a style of culinary tinkering that’s more trend-centric than its peers. Jackfruit tacos, smoked salmon puchkas, and other dishes. That means Saturday morning avocado toast. The line between innovative globalism and yet another a basic brunch staple can be a fine one, and in this particular instance, it’s not so clear whether Singh adds anything to the conversation. The chef smears a bland swath of the fruit over cold, limp sourdough, adds some diced mango and chopped onion, and charges $18. It would not pass muster at a free hotel breakfast buffet. GupShup’s ramen is another misstep. That’s not to slight the ideas underpinning it; adding noodles to a Southern tomato curry is intuitive enough. It’s the execution that’s flawed. The ramen itself was overcooked to the point of mushiness, and a supplemental lobster tail had the texture of jerky. Those mistakes aside, Singh generally manages to execute his more experimental dishes with aplomb. There’s that guac and those jackfruit tacos. Or take the puchkas , crispy puffs filled with smoked salmon and curd rice mousse. Ad absurdum, the city’s dining scene would be a very weird place if every new restaurant sold yet another riff on cream cheese and lox on a bagel. But just as Momofuku Bang Bar manages to improve upon the classic combo with warm flatbread, GupShup’s own evocation, blending Indian sensibilities with Jewish-appetizing inclinations, is no less relevant. The puchkas crumble with just a flick of the tongue. The tart mousse vibrates on the tongue with the power of Alka Seltzer, acting as a stunning antidote to the oily fish. Smoked salmon puchkas Or consider the chur-chur naan, a soft yet flaky bread that’s a popular street snack in Delhi. Vendors typically finish it off with butter. Singh adds foie gras, an ingredient that historically functions as an extreme act of indulgence. But somehow the engorged duck liver is a seamless addition to the dish, dialing up the naan’s richness and sweetness. Sliders, the mini-sandwich bane of the aughts, make a winning return here as softly baked cod atop pao rolls. If the salinity of the fish is too much at first, make sure to chomp the bread, whose sugars moderate the aggressive seasoning. Singh, in short, is taking advantage of New York’s thriving globalism to riff on his ancestral cuisine. And if any of this seems a touch off, kindly remember that GupShup is simply deploying the same whimsical eclecticism as its non-Indian peers, from the American restaurant serving Southeast Asian shrimp toast to the Spanish-leaning seafood spot selling Sichuan-style pig ear to virtually any sports bar anywhere in the city hawking tacos. Kerala beef fry Singh could surely thrive on his creativity alone, but he also rocks the classics with finesse. The kitchen sends out chicken tikka with an interior so creamy it could pass itself off as tofu. Tiger prawns, in turn, exhibit delicately cooked flesh and an oceanic aroma that recalls more-expensive langoustines. Singh used to make a mean vegetarian keema back at Indian accent; it was a spicy, saucy, umami-rich stew of soy that effectively made it one of the city’s top cups of chili. Here at GupShup, he keeps things meatier, setting a coarse grind of lamb in two halves of an onion. It uses the power of cinnamon to amp up the grassy sweetness of the ruminant. Beef stir-fry, the legendary streetside dish of Kerala, doesn’t show up at a lot of New York restaurants. Maybe that will change after more folks try GupShup’s knockout version, with the tender skirt steak bursting with notes of sweet red pepper, curry leaf, onion, and sambal chile. Nizams haleem , a staple of Ramadan iftar dinners in Hyderabad, makes a unexpected appearance as well. The humble dish is everything it should be: lamb, lentils, and wheat cooked down to the texture of a soft paste, all the better for snatching up with naan or rice. Lamb keema pao Too bad an order of rice was cold by the time the haleem arrived. It came out, for no particular reason, with an earlier course that included ramen, tacos, and guacamole. Maybe GupShup should ask itself whether it really pairs with any of those dishes? Weird things tend to happen here. The host might send you to the upstairs bar, whose bartender will then inform you that his section is closed. When someone orders chai ($15 per kettle), a server might respond that they’re not serving it anymore because “our pastry chef has left.” The complexities of the saffron-laced preparation notwithstanding, a restaurant is in trouble if just a single employee is capable of making its signature tea. Pre-made desserts, however, are still available if the pastry chef is absent, though it’s not clear whether that’s a good thing. Fig and banana sticky pudding is a study in bland flavors and cold, mealy textures. Cinnamon panna cotta, on two occasions, tastes like what would happen if a kitchen worker thought that the traditional Italian dessert was supposed to flaunt the texture and sweetness of grocery-store cake frosting. For a Gramercy Park restaurant with operators as experienced as this, one could reasonably expect more polish; the service missteps tend to distract from the food. And that’s too bad, because Singh’s cuisine represents a thrilling chapter in modern New York Indian cuisine.

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6 Best Shopping Malls in Ahmedabad for Best Shopping

6 Best Shopping Malls in Ahmedabad for Best Shopping by Vr Surat Shopping Mall in Surat The second largest city of Gujarat, Surat is a port city located on the bank of the Tapti river. As there are numerous reasons why Surat city is popular worldwide, you may not aware of but 92% of the world diamond cut in Surat city. In the same way, Surat is popular worldwide because of its textile industry. So, job seekers across the country approach Surat. When it comes to finding a place to shop, dine, hang out, rejuvenate on weekends, then VR Surat is the first place that comes into mind. One of the best Malls in Gujrat cities is VR Surat which is a major center of attraction in Surat city. Thousands of visitors pay a visit to VR Surat on a daily basis. Some visitors come to shop whereas some visit to dine, and some people approach VR Surat to hang out with their friends and love ones. In Surat city, VR Surat is one of the best meeting places. VR Surat is not a shopping mall that you generally see but it is beyond of it. You find many exceptional things in this mall that you don’t find in any other shopping mall. Besides, there are many important factors that contribute to its popularity. The first and one of the important factor is its location. It is located on Dumas Road that passes through most famous places of the Surat city. By taking Dumas Road, people easily approach VR Surat. Spread over 615,000 sq. ft. VR Surat incorporates myriad of international fashion stores, multi-cuisine restaurants, comprehensive entertainment zones, and place for organizing events on a frequent basis. VR Surat is emerged as one of the most preferred places to organize Events in Surat city. If you want to have a glimpse of the events being organized in VR Surat, you should stay updated with the upcoming events information which is available at the website of VR Surat. When you visit VR Surat website, you find an option on top of the right side i.e., Events. Once you click on Event, you come up with a list of all upcoming events. Accordingly, you can be a part of events in your spare time. For instance, nowadays, Making March Marvelous for Women’ is being organized from 03 March to 31 March 2019. This is especially being organized for Women. On the other hand, the people of Surat are fond of local Gujarati food. In this regard, VR Surat has taken care of the people by introducing several eateries that offer local Gujarati food. Not only local food in Surat but eateries out there offer multiple cuisines including North Indian, Chinese, south India, and so on. Even though plenty of Malls in Surat can be found but VR Surat stands out from rest of the malls in every aspect. This shopping mall in Surat is a popular weekend gateway. So, whether you want to shop or you want to participate in any event, you should surely visit VR Surat.

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SirEattonHogg : The_Sponge: lilplatinum: Try eating it regularly. If your culinary range of spices is limited to salt, pepper, and if you want to get crazy a little paprika, than Germany is culinary heaven.
Also they eat raw minced pork for breakfast. Sometimes shaped as a meat hedgehog.
Gah! Raw pork? Damn.
But aren’t there other culinary options in Germany? Italian, Greek, Indian, Middle Eastern, etc.?
A joke about my favorite country in Europe:
“Czech cuisine is German food served rudely.”
I’ve been to Germany a number of times and the food was really good. I didn’t eat German food everyday, although I do like German food a lot – middle eastern is good there and anything from other European countries is excellent. I’ve eaten Italian and French food there and both were excellent, but I’m an American so what do I know?
Seems the only things that would suck are Mexican and Chinese food.
I was at some German restaurant that tried to do Mexican food . I ordered fajitas out of morbid curiosity. The chicken had bbq sauce on it and there was corn and steamed broccoli on the plate.

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MasterChef finalist reflects on ‘amazing’ 12 months

2 comments IT has been 12 months since Moonira Hinglotwala appeared on BBC’s MasterChef, impressing judges Gregg Wallace and John Torode with her Indian fusion cooking.
Since then, she has opened a post office, hosted private dining sessions across the North West and worked in a Michelin star restaurant.
Now the 40-year-old has her sights set on opening her own restaurant.
Moonira, who made it through to the final of last year’s series of the BBC cookery show, said: “I would love to open a restaurant but would need to find the right place. It’s unlikely to be bang in the middle of Blackburn but as soon as I see the place I want, I will go for it.”
The mum-of-two said her time on MasterChef changed her life and she also hopes to write a book featuring the traditional recipes she has cooked throughout her life.
Moonira, who lives with her husband Riaz, 44, daughter Alisha, 14 and son, Ibrahim, 12, in Billinge Avenue, Blackburn, said: “It has been a year where so much has happened and I’ve had a lot of great experiences. I could never have imagined having such an amazing year. MasterChef has made things possible. It shows there is light at the end of the tunnel and you can achieve your dreams.”
The MasterChef finalist stepped into the Michelin star Northcote kitchen, in Langho, last September with executive chef Lisa Goodwin-Allen, who won BBC Two’s Great British Menu in 2010.
More than 50 people visited Lancashire’s top restaurant for the sell-out event, where she cooked five different courses, including traditional Indian cuisine and a dish from MasterChef Indian scotch eggs.
She has also hosted two pop-up cooking events at Westholme School, Blackburn, since March last year, adding: “The events are hard work but very rewarding.”
For the past four weeks Moonira has also hosted private dining events for guests, which allows customers to hire a chef and enjoy eating a cooked meal from the comfort of their own home.
The menu is selected by the guests, up to 10 people, and Moonira said she will bring her own equipment to the home and keep the kitchen tidy.
She said: “It’s £60 a head and the host chooses the menu. I take all the ingredients to the house and use their kitchen and provide them with the food. A lot of people say they enjoy it.”
Moonira has already visited Longridge, Horwich, Fleetwood and Liverpool and plans to visit other places across Manchester and East Lancashire.
This is all in addition to running a pharmacy and post office in Granville Road, as well as Riaz Pharmacy, on Randal Street.
She said: “I believe if there is something you really want you should go for it. I’m really lucky I got that opportunity and I hope that one day my children can look back and say: ‘I’m proud of you mum’.”

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MasterChef finalist reflects on ‘amazing’ 12 months

2 comments IT has been 12 months since Moonira Hinglotwala appeared on BBC’s MasterChef, impressing judges Gregg Wallace and John Torode with her Indian fusion cooking.
Since then, she has opened a post office, hosted private dining sessions across the North West and worked in a Michelin star restaurant.
Now the 40-year-old has her sights set on opening her own restaurant.
Moonira, who made it through to the final of last year’s series of the BBC cookery show, said: “I would love to open a restaurant but would need to find the right place. It’s unlikely to be bang in the middle of Blackburn but as soon as I see the place I want, I will go for it.”
The mum-of-two said her time on MasterChef changed her life and she also hopes to write a book featuring the traditional recipes she has cooked throughout her life.
Moonira, who lives with her husband Riaz, 44, daughter Alisha, 14 and son, Ibrahim, 12, in Billinge Avenue, Blackburn, said: “It has been a year where so much has happened and I’ve had a lot of great experiences. I could never have imagined having such an amazing year. MasterChef has made things possible. It shows there is light at the end of the tunnel and you can achieve your dreams.”
The MasterChef finalist stepped into the Michelin star Northcote kitchen, in Langho, last September with executive chef Lisa Goodwin-Allen, who won BBC Two’s Great British Menu in 2010.
More than 50 people visited Lancashire’s top restaurant for the sell-out event, where she cooked five different courses, including traditional Indian cuisine and a dish from MasterChef Indian scotch eggs.
She has also hosted two pop-up cooking events at Westholme School, Blackburn, since March last year, adding: “The events are hard work but very rewarding.”
For the past four weeks Moonira has also hosted private dining events for guests, which allows customers to hire a chef and enjoy eating a cooked meal from the comfort of their own home.
The menu is selected by the guests, up to 10 people, and Moonira said she will bring her own equipment to the home and keep the kitchen tidy.
She said: “It’s £60 a head and the host chooses the menu. I take all the ingredients to the house and use their kitchen and provide them with the food. A lot of people say they enjoy it.”
Moonira has already visited Longridge, Horwich, Fleetwood and Liverpool and plans to visit other places across Manchester and East Lancashire.
This is all in addition to running a pharmacy and post office in Granville Road, as well as Riaz Pharmacy, on Randal Street.
She said: “I believe if there is something you really want you should go for it. I’m really lucky I got that opportunity and I hope that one day my children can look back and say: ‘I’m proud of you mum’.”

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Fremont has some unbelievable Indian cuisine. Shalimar and Pakwan are stalwart Pakistani-Indian. Nawab is an amazing Lucknow Indian cuisine. Bongo’s serves Bengali food. Inchin Bamboo does Indian Chinese. Chaat Bhavan is your staple North Indian. Savannah Bhavan does south Indian. Malaikotti is an awesome Chettinad cuisine. I am sure I am missing something. Diversity of Indian cuisine in Fremont is better than some Indian cities, IMO
Also, have you tried Tadamasa Ramen in Union City ?

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Hotels in Bandra West Mumbai

Home / Wellness / Hotels in Bandra West Mumbai Hotels in Bandra West Mumbai 26 mins ago Wellness
There are some really great hotels in Bandra West Mumbai region. Those visiting Mumbai prefer to stay in Bandra given its proximity to several places of tourist interest. For leisure as well as business travellers , there are several places to stay, where guests can enjoy nice time. From Trident Bandra Kurla and Taj Lands End to Sofitel Mumbai BKC and Grand Hyatt Mumbai, there are various good options.
Trident Bandra Kurla
Trident Hotel Bandra Kurla is Mumbai’s one of the best properties located in Bandra, Mumbai. The hotel has some beautiful accommodation options, and guests can choose from Deluxe Rooms, Premier Rooms, Trident Club Rooms, Deluxe Suites, Trident Club Suites, Premier Suites, and Presidential Suites. There are a total of 412 rooms and 24 suites, all replete with finest facilities. For dining and wining, here guests are offered only the best.
Best suited for – business travellers , family vacations, solo travellers , luxury travellers Facilities – swimming pool, spa and wellness , bar, restaurant , fitness centre
Book now
Taj Lands End
Taj Land’s End is one deluxe hotel in Bandra, just next to the famous Bandra Fort (Castella de Aguada) in Mumbai. Also the very famous Bandra-Worli Sea Link is very close from here. When it comes to food and drinks, this opulent hotel features several restaurants and bars such as Vista, an all-day diner, Masala Bay for Indian specialties, Ming Yang restaurant and Atrium Lounge for drinks.
Best suited for – business travellers , family vacations, solo travellers , luxury travellers Facilities – swimming pool, spa and wellness , bar, restaurant , fitness centre
Book now
Sofitel Mumbai BKC
Located in Mumbai’s Bandra Kulra Complex, the Sofitel Mumbai is one luxury hotel which will impress you with its beauty and modern conveniences. The rooms here equipped with all modern amenities and are perfect for those looking for a luxurious accommodation in the city. The hotel here offers rooms in various categories such as Luxury Rooms, Junior Suites, Prestige Suites, and Imperial Suite. For dine and wine, there is Jyran – Tandoor Dining and Lounge for a Northwest Frontier Province. At the L Oh Pool and Bar perched on the fourth floor, guests can enjoy drinks and cocktails.
Best suited for – business travellers , family vacations, solo travellers , luxury travellers Facilities – swimming pool, bar, restaurant , fitness centre, spa and wellness centre
Book now
Grand Hyatt Mumbai
A contemporary hotel located close to Bandra Kurla Complex, Grand Hyatt Mumbai is spread across 12 acres, and is perfect for guests to relax and rejuvenate. The rooms and suites are simply beautiful, so you have different types of rooms and suites. If you wish to have a luxury life, make sure you book Verandah Suite King which is the finest and offers some amazing views of the city. The hotel has numerous restaurants, each of them specialising in a particular cuisine, there is something for everyone. Try the brunch at the hotel’s in- house restaurant , Celini.
Best suited for – business travellers , family vacations, solo travellers , luxury travellers Facilities – restaurants, swimming pool, bar, spa and wellness centre
Book now Google News: Wellness Hotels site-timesofindia.indiatimes.com Selected News

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Discover a fresh approach to Indian cuisine at Kahani

Restaurants Discover a fresh approach to Indian cuisine at Kahani
Located in the heart of Chelsea, opposite the iconic Cadogan Hall, Kahani – which means ‘story’ in Hindi – is where Michelin-starred chef Peter Joseph is adding the latest chapter to this tale with a fresh approach to Indian cuisine.
Indian cuisine in Britain has remained unchanged for decades – Peter is bringing innovation back into the kitchen, with an emphasis on light dishes, grilled meats, fish and vegetables from the robata grill, and dishes centred around sharing and community eating.
The British love affair with Indian cuisine is a tale that spans more than 200 years – from the opening of the very first curry house in 1809, to its rise as a British national dish throughout the 20th Century.
By combining the finest seasonal and traditional British ingredients with a strong focus on Indian cuisine, Kahani have set out to transform the way that people enjoy Indian cuisine.
The main restaurant seats up to 90 people and the restaurant is also available for exclusive hire, including a menu specially curated by Peter to suit the requirements of each guest. Peter’s innovative approach to fine dining is further supported by the splendour of Kahani’s decadent, detailed and very Instagramable interiors and its chic location opposite Cadogan Hall in Chelsea.
Kahani offers a healthy and leaner version of Indian food currently available on the market. With a strong emphasis on dishes for sharing, dining at Kahani feels like a communal experience for visitors, an idea chef Peter Joseph is keen to perpetuate.
Peter Joseph, Head Chef of Kahani, says: “Storytelling is integral to the ethos at Kahani, and the story we tell is one of great British ingredients merging with Indian culture to produce modern Indian cuisine, where conversation and community is fostered through sharing.”
At Kahani, you can wave goodbye to the heavy dishes associated with Indian cuisine and say hello to lighter fare designed to be eaten in a relaxed way.
We began our dining experience at Kahani with a taste-tastic selection of poppadums consisting of spicy, plain and rice flour which came with six accompaniments – chicken pickle, beetroot pickle and chilli pickle on the left and tomato red pepper chutney, tamarind chutney and pineapple chutney on the right. This was the perfect way to tantalize our taste buds and it was refreshing to see such a fine selection of chutneys that are not traditionally served in your typical Indian restaurants.
It was exciting to see our first course arrive. The colours and aromas of the food combined made us realise we were in for a treat. Cocktails were The Wilbraham made with Rye whisky and Oriental Wind made with Seedlip Spice 94 as a refreshing non-alcoholic alternative.
The Samosa platter comes with three different fillings – a Punjabi aloo, Kolhapuri chicken and Chettinad venison. We thought the mint sauce paired well with the aloo, the tamarind with the chicken and the red pepper for the venison. The pastry was light and the spices in each parcel gave individual character making the dish an exciting choice.
The octopus salad is refreshing and zingy. It comes cold but it has hidden depth of flavour. The octopus is soft and flavourful but the tandoori calamari outshines its mollusc mate. We thought the vibrant dressing added a light fresh element to the dish.
It was great to see soft shell crab on the menu. The Mangalorean spices really brought out the flavours of the dish. The fresh flavours were almost like the crab had just been plucked out the ocean. The crunchy outside gave way to a soft and vulnerable inside that brought out the freshness of the ocean whilst whisking you away to another world.
The chicken tikka is a nice surprise for this popular dish. It retains the tandoori smoky flavours yet stays soft and succulent inside.
A favourite and for good reason, the marinated tandoori broccoli comes with honey, nigella seeds and wheat crisps. Textures are balanced with the crunchiness of the wheat crisps. The smoky flavours from the tandoor are deeply impregnated in this dish but the flavour will remind you of a twist on cauliflower gratin. This is a must for vegetable lovers.
The smoked Malabar prawns are a must try. Soft and juicy, the flavours speak for themselves.
For the main event, we were presented with a beautiful array of curry and dhal.
The Kahani butter chicken is a signature dish and the spices are subtle but complex. The tandoori cooked chicken again maintains a soft texture that is full of flavour.
As lamb lovers, we tried the Nali Gosht – Somerset sourced lamb is slow cooked in spices with the Kashmiri chillies adding a lovely kick. The lamb falls off the bone and pairs perfectly with the restaurant’s naan and rice dishes.
A vegetable side dish you may want to try is the Okra which has a unique taste and makes for an interesting side dish.
The raspberry and mint cheesecake is a pleasant dessert to finish the meal. It is light and has a melt in the mouth centre which will satisfy those with a sweet tooth.
The Medley of kulfis are another pleasant choice to end the meal with delicious flavours of salted caramel, rose malai and our favourite pistachio cardamom.
At Kahani, Peter Joseph has combined the flavours of his childhood, in Chennai, India, with his experience in British haute cuisine. The result is a truly unique fine dining experience. Kahani is the next step in Britain’s long-standing love of Indian food.
Kahani 1 Wilbraham Place, London SW1X 9AE 020 7730 7634

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