How Indian Cuisine Has Gone Global and Reinvented Itself on the Culinary Map: Sanjay Vazirani

Industry Watch | May 24, 2024 | Interview

Sanjay Vazirani Foodlink

In an exclusive interview with EVENTFAQS Media, Sanjay Vazirani, CEO of Foodlink, delves into the fascinating journey of Indian cuisine as it evolves and captivates the global palate. From innovative fusion dishes to the rise of veganism, Indian flavors are leaving an indelible mark on the world’s culinary landscape. Foodlink is today India’s largest premium catering enterprise with a truly global presence with projects executed in over 30 countries. They operate across segments of ultra luxury weddings, corporate events, sports events, boutique events as well as retail formats such as restaurants, cafeterias and food courts for exhibitions & concerts.

The Evolution of Indian Flavors Abroad

Indian cuisine has a rich history, deeply rooted in tradition and culture. Yet, as it spreads across the globe, it must adapt to new environments while retaining its core essence. Vazirani shares insights into how Indian eateries outside of India have transformed their flavors to appeal to local tastes. “Food is about authenticity, but it is also about creativity,” says Vazirani. "When setting up a restaurant in a country away from home, we must reengineer the menu to suit the local taste while maintaining the essence of Indian cuisine. This often involves incorporating locally grown ingredients and subtly integrating elements of the local cuisine. For example, our Burrata Butter Chicken is prepared authentically with char-smoked chicken in a creamy tomato sauce, scented with fenugreek leaves. The twist comes with the addition of Italian Burrata cheese, elevating the flavor profile of this classic curry. This fusion approach ensures that while the dish remains quintessentially Indian, it resonates with the local palate."

The Rise of Veganism in Indian Cuisine Globally 

As the world becomes more health-conscious and environmentally aware, veganism is carving a niche for itself, and Indian cuisine is no exception. Vazirani highlights how India’s predominantly vegetarian heritage naturally aligns with vegan principles. “India, with its predominantly vegetarian heritage, naturally aligns with vegan principles. For thousands of years, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism have promoted diets devoid of meat, fish, and eggs, resulting in a rich variety of vegetarian options unparalleled globally. Many traditional Indian dishes are inherently vegan, using spices and plant-based ingredients to create unique flavors. While dairy products like ghee and paneer are common, they can be easily replaced with alternatives like coconut oil or tofu. The global shift towards sustainability and reducetarianism has further increased the demand for vegan Indian cuisine, especially among millennials. Our offerings, like vegan South Indian dishes, have found a growing audience worldwide, emphasizing India's versatility in catering to diverse dietary preferences.” 

Indian Cuisine’s Global Influence

The global culinary scene has been profoundly influenced by Indian cuisine, known for its rich flavors and diverse techniques. Vazirani elaborates on how Indian cooking methods and ingredients have found their way into kitchens around the world. “Indian cuisine, with its rich flavors, diverse textures, and unique presentation styles, has made a significant impact globally. The enticing aromas, fresh combination of spices, and range of rich ingredients make it both delicious and healthy. Indian cooking techniques and methods are inspiring chefs worldwide, leading to the creation of fusion cuisines. For instance, chicken tikka masala, which originated in India, is now considered a national dish in England. The fusion of Indian and international cuisines, such as Indo-Chinese and Malaysian Indian, allows for creativity and innovation, making Indian cuisine a pivotal part of the global culinary landscape. The historical blending of different cultures in India has resulted in a cuisine that is both diverse and universally appealing.”

Educating Through Cuisine Indian cuisine is not just about taste; it is a gateway to understanding India’s rich cultural tapestry. Vazirani emphasizes how Foodlink uses its menus to educate consumers about Indian traditions and customs. “Indian cuisine is deeply rooted in the country’s local cultures and customs. For example, South and East India are known for their rice-based diets, while North India favors wheat-based diets. The variety in Indian cuisine is influenced by the key crops that grow in each region, making the menu diverse and culturally rich. We introduce special dishes that align with Indian festivals and traditions, educating our guests about their significance and benefits. For instance, during Makar Sankranti, we offer sweets made of til and jaggery, as well as pearl millet bread (bajra rotis), which help regulate body temperature in winter. By showcasing these traditional dishes, we provide our guests with a taste of Indian culture and heritage, enriching their dining experience.” Through innovative fusion dishes, a focus on vegan-friendly options, and a commitment to cultural education, Foodlink, under the visionary leadership of Sanjay Vazirani, continues to set new benchmarks in the luxury catering domain. As Indian cuisine reinvents itself on the world’s culinary map, it remains deeply rooted in tradition while embracing creativity and innovation. 

In an exclusive interview with EVENTFAQs, Sanjay Vazirani, CEO of Foodlink, delves into the fascinating journey of Indian cuisine as it evolves and captivates the global palate.

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