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Soulful Inroads


India-US friendship-fnbworld

India's Soulful Inroads



Buy Line-Ravi V.Chhabra  Buy Line/ Ravi V.Chhabra


Food's finest cultural dimension is that it satisfies our soul while it surpasses the boundaries of regions, nationalities and remains amazingly unifying in its basic lore. A comely, sensually appetizing, gastronomical highlight for the good epicurean Americans is that the great Indian Food Fest is now round the corner.


New York’s Consul General Dnyaneshwar Mulay had announced in November last that unique Indian delicacies drawn from different regions of the country would travel to 7 US cities as part of a week-long ‘Indian Festive Food Week’, starting January 12, 2014.


The core group of New York restaurateurs supporting India Festive Food Week, from left: Mohan Ahluwalia of Bombay Palace, Hemant Mathur of Tulsi, Rajesh Bhardwaj of Junoon, Satarajan of Chola, Nitin Vyas of Madras Mahal, Kamal Arora of Hospitality Group and Ravi Pillai of Bombay Duck  Company at the announcement at the Indian Consulate. (Photo: Gunjesh Desai, Masala Junction).

        bengali cuisine-photos: fnbworld    south Indian cuisine: photo by fnbworld

The connoisseurs of Indian food will get an opportunity to fathom its diversity and rich apical taste in their own states. During this Indian food festivity, a collaborative enterprise of India Unlimited and IndyaOne, Indian food lovers in the US will get to understand the complexity, subtlety of Indian cuisine through the hands of celebrity Indian American chefs who call America their home. Their food would bring out the potpourri of their Indian roots and American training - a fusion that has set new, perhaps global standards. The Indian Festive Food Week is presented by ‘Etihad Airways’ and ‘My Pref’, in association with ‘Kingfisher Beer.’ 

         Rajasthani cuisine: photo by right impact media inc   paneer tikka: photo by right impact media inc

The activities are planned from Jan 12 - Jan 19 across America and will coincide with the harvest festivals of India - ‘Lohri’, the harvest festival celebrated in northern India, ‘Makar Sankranti’, the harvest festival celebrated by Hindus in almost all parts of India, that marks the change of the Sun into Makara Rashi (Capricorn) on its celestial path and ‘Pongal’, the harvest festival celebrated in southern India, reminiscent of great traditional celebrations in India. New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Illinois get ready for a luxurious Indian feast of the year starting at $15 for a 3 course menu during Jan 12-19 at select fine dining restaurants including Junoon, Tulsi NYC, Bombay Chopsticks by India House, Benares, Bukhara Grill, Tamarind Tribeca, Urban Spice, Moti Mahal Delux, NYC, Gaylord Fine Indian Cuisine, Mint-LI, MINT and Chola Indian Restaurant. 

Awadhi cuisine: photo by right impact media incThe rich flavors of India’s mainstream and regional cuisines, ranging from Punjabi, Awadhi, Mughlai, Rajasthani, Gujarati, Bengali and Udupi, will entice gourmands at select fine dining Indian restaurants in New York, New Jersey, Washington DC, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Francisco.


The participating restaurants will showcase their signature prix-fixe menu, including some that will bring out green and low-calorie options. The pricing of the prix-fixe menu will vary by city, ranging from $15 - $40, excluding taxes and gratuities; from January 24-31, 2014 it will traverse through Illinois, Washington DC, California, Rhode Island and Texas.

chef vikas khanna with junoon's rajesh bhardwaj


During the festive food week, various workshops and sessions will be organized with industry experts to create more awareness about Indian cuisine and various regional methods and styles adopted for cooking. {News for Soul} spoke with IndyaOne chief organizer of the event Niru Kumria based in New York. Excerpts of the telephonic interview:  

Niru Kumria of IndyaOne

fnbworld: When and how was the Indian festive food week conceived and how many US cities have been planned?

Niru: Since I travel quite a bit within the Americas and also internationally….we realized the Indian Cuisine is very fragmented and we have not achieved the status which we rightfully deserve! We thought about it in November 2013. We plan to take it at least to 10-plus cities in US this year.



fnbworld: Which are the exact venues in these cities and how many chefs are taking part? Are these all Indian chefs, please elaborate?

Niru: The venues are: New York City/ Queens/ Long Island/ Edison/ Iselin/ Naperville/ Devon Ave/ Schaumburg/ Evanston. There are many highly acclaimed Chefs like the Michelin star Chef Vikas Khanna of Junoon restaurant in New York, Chef Hemant Mathur of Tulsi restaurant, Chef Rawat from Chopstix restaurant in Chicago and Chef Peter Beck of Benares restaurant among other accomplished chefs.

fnbworld: Who are the major sponsors of the pan-US Indian food festival?

Niru: The major sponsors are Kingfisher beer, Royal Challenge whisky, Antiquity whisky, Etihad Airways and My Pref.

fnbworld: What will be the menu and will there be food tasting sessions for food judges /critics and will there be an award function?

Niru: Pre-fix menu is prepared by all the restaurants. We plan to have sessions in two locations in NYC. And this time there is no awards function - we plan and hope to do that in our next event in the third quarter of 2014.

fnbworld: What is the role of IndyaOne in this festival?

Niru: We are the marketing and event planning company with another company called Evolve.

fnbworld: Who have been invited to this food festival and how are you going to promote it?

Niru: This is an Indian Festive Food week and we have some key renowned local chefs who are promoting it.  We have our commercial running on Colours TV/ TV Asia/ Jus Punjabi and our advertisements are running in print media as well. We are also using social media to the maximum with ethnic radio being used.  

fnbworld: Since the event is on a large scale and IndyaOne being the major organizer what challenges and logistical issues have you had to encounter?

Niru: This is being done across the country, so distances are the biggest challenges which we encounter.

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