Indian chef Ranveer Brar stirs up regional cuisine on international cruise liners
He's cooked in the natural way in the hot desert sands of Rajasthan, hosted innumerable TV shows, was a judge on MasterChef India, was featured among the Top 50 Chefs in the Indian Culinary Forum Book, has opened fine diners in the US and Canada -- as also Mumbai -- and is now on a new high as he curates gourmet Indian food on two Royal Caribbean cruise liners on their Singapore sailings.
"The biggest challenge of being a celebrity chef on a cruise liner, or rather for any chef, is that we are used to not being limited by process or ingredients. We create a dish first. But on a cruise liner, we are not cooking for a few people, but for all the 5,000 guests on-board and multiple courses at that," noted Chef Ranveer Brar.
"So, everything needs to fit into a certain process, be it the process of pre-production, production, or the process of serving. One has to align one's creativity with that process and that, I feel, is going to be a fun challenge," Brar, whose association with the company began in October and will run till August 2020, told IANS in an email interview.
Brar's offerings will feature on two award-winner cruise liners -- Voyager of the Seas and Quantum of the Seas.
"With the double-digit annual growth of Indian cruisers for its Singapore sailings, the association with Chef Ranveer Brar is a strong commitment by Royal Caribbean towards the Indian source market," said Varun Chadha of Tirun Travels, the Indian representative of Royal Caribbean.
How does this work on the ground?
"We are starting new live counters, new stations and a Ranveer Brar selection of dishes on the current Indian offering. We have created dishes like amla chole and gongura chicken. We are also doing a Bengali jhalmuri counter.
"Basically, there are dishes that are regional in outlook but also have a global impact and are part of a global conversation," Brar explained.
"It's my first association with a cruise company or a cruise, and I am absolutely excited about it because it's great for any chef to be able to work at the level of efficiency the ships work at, and I am happy that my cuisine will align to a brand like Royal Caribbean and Tirun.
"I think together we should able to give the Indian consumer travelling in Royal Caribbean a taste of back home and to the non-Indian consumer a fair representation of India," Brar added.
Travellers will get the option of cruising with Brar on a select sailing and get to see him in action with live demonstrations and interacting with guests about travel and experiences.
"The idea of doing live counters and demos is to interact with the consumers and have a participative environment when it comes to cooking. I strongly believe that food is a uniting factor and something that excites young and old alike to be hands-on.
"In that aspect I feel demos and workshops work brilliantly because people get to co-create food. When they do it themselves or they see the cooking done up close, they are able to build a better relationship with food in general and that recipe in particular," Brar said.
Will he only be catering to a certain category of passengers?
"I am creating for and catering to all passengers, be it Indian, because they love their food, or non-Indian, where I am showcasing my country's cuisine to them," the chef said.
What of the future?
"The future, I feel, lies with innovation and discovery as well. The future of this association, in particular runs parallel with the future of Indian food globally. People are looking at discovering Indian food more and also looking at innovation in the existing repertoire of Indian food," Brar said.-IANS