A few weeks ago, a friend from Mumbai contacted a few of us Bangalore Vegans to let us know that the Taj was planning to hold a vegan demo and lunch event and the chef had mentioned to FIAPO, the event facilitators that he needed help with veganising the food. This project interested me very much and I went to Taj Residency (aka Vivanta by Taj) to meet Sous Chef Uday Nathan of Graze (their European cuisine restaurant).
Uday said that he thought veganising food would be very difficult and asked me to help him with the menu by cooking with him for the next few days and also on the days of the demos (they planned to have two and then maybe more later). I laughed and assured him that vegan food can be very simple to make and he just needs to stop thinking in terms of what he cannot use and start looking in the direction of the various dairy better-natives.
On the next day I got a chance to step into their kitchen and I taught him how to make almond milk, cashew milk, cashew cream and vegan ice cream. I also gave him a few more recipes and pointers on veganising stuff. That one session was all it took for Uday to see how easy vegan cooking can be. "Deceptively simple" is what he called it. :)
Over the following weeks Uday designed two delicious menus for 4 course meals and he consulted me for a few inputs here and there (mostly over the phone). I taught him how to make vegan chocolate mousse with tofu for when the press people (The Hindu and The New Indian Express) visited and there wasn't enough time to make the espresso brownies as originally planned. The mousse was such a big hit that it quickly replaced the brownies in the menu.
The first demo and lunch was on last Saturday, 28th April and I got a chance to do a mini demo at the end of Uday's main demo. I showed the process of making almond milk and also explained how to make nut milks, nut butters, nut creams and vegan ice cream using these. The next demo is on 5th May and I'll be demoing something else on that day.
I'll be sharing a fully detailed blog post, bursting with pictures of course, of the demo and the delicious meal we had as soon as I'm done working on the pics. For now, here's a video of my mini demo that hubby shot.