Dominic Chapman Launches Hyderabad Food Festival

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 12th June 2014
Dominic Chapman jetted off to India last week to take part in the Hyderabad Food Festival in India. This is the first of three blogs he is writing exclusively for The Staff Canteen about his experiences. Speaking with the press in HydrabadI finally arrived in Hyderabad after a 24 hour delay at Heathrow. I was booked on a Jet airways flight, on arriving at the airport and seeing the plane, my first thoughts were that the plane wasn't in particularly good order. My initial thoughts were proved right and the plane was deemed unfit to fly. After the chaos of getting 200 people off the plane and into hotels at Heathrow, I was left baggage-less and with no idea when I would catch my flight to India. I had a deadline to be in Hyderabad by 12pm the following day, we were getting no information from Jet and I needed to be proactive and find a flight. I booked the next available flight to Hyderabad via Emirates, a first class airline in every way. By 2pm I was heading to Dubai and then to catch my connecting flight to Hyderabad. After an excellent flight, I arrived in Hyderabad. My bag was lost in transit through Jet airways and having had to buy various essentials in Dubai, It had been a stressful trip, but I had arrived. I was immediately driven the 60 minute journey to the hotel. It was now 11am, perfect timing for the press launch and the lunch to open the food festival. Keeping up appearances at Park Hyatt, Hydrabad Arriving in Hyderabad is a lot more civilised than arriving into Calcutta, it's a pleasant drive on a good road into the city, lots of buildings going up all around and a city that sits on a huge expanse of flat land, a feeling of space, rather than lots of buildings on top of each other. The saying goes, Hyderabad is the soft introduction to India, when you arrive at Calcutta it is insane from the moment you leave the airport. I was now in Southern India and the initial feeling I got was that the people were far more relaxed and laid back about life. I love the feeling of arriving in a new place, excitement and anticipation are great emotions. There is no better place on earth to ignite those emotions than India, such a vibrant country, the smells, sights and action everywhere is totally exhilarating. Having arrived at the hotel, it was straight to the press launch, I sat on the stage with the curry life team, the GM of the Park Hyatt, Hyderabad and Andrew McAllister, the British High Commissioner for this region. We welcomed the local news teams and journalists and introduced the festival, we then opened the floor to some questions and answers about the festival and why we were bringing curry to India -what was different about our offering compared with the food the locals were used to eating. The response was brilliant, the local people were hugely enthusiastic about our mission and the fact we were interested in sharing our knowledge about food and learning more about where this food had originated. Press Conference We then enjoyed some of the dishes available throughout the festival and gave various interviews to news teams and journalists. It was a successful press launch, and a good start to the festival for the Curry life team. Next I met the executive chef of the Park Hyatt, chef Lars Windfuhr, a German man, trained in Germany and London, he showed me around the massive hotel kitchens, 75 chefs and 4 separate hotel restaurants, a huge operation, banquets for 1000 covers, a staff canteen (apparently the busiest restaurant in the hotel), 24hr dinning, a Chinese restaurant, an Italian restaurant, a meat preparation room, a fish preparation room, a huge pastry area, a stock making area, different fridges for eggs, vegetables, meat and fish, a very Indian grinding room, and a demonstration kitchen - the place was huge! There was every piece of equipment you can imagine - wood fired ovens, 20 grid rational ovens, tandoor ovens, huge pots for making biryani's in, induction and gas kitchens, these kitchens were properly equipped and incredibly well organised. My role at the festival was to run my restaurant for 10 days, I would offer dinner and an 'a la carte' menu alongside a tasting menu. Guests would be able to enjoy my dishes in the Italian restaurant at the hotel, this would be a more traditional British offering, classic fish pie, roast chicken, braised Lamb and some good honest desserts. I was in charge of the more traditional British food and in another restaurant the rest of the team would offer a selection of British curries. After a good meeting with chef Lars and his kitchen team, I placed my orders, arranged to meet my team of chefs in the kitchen the following day. I was now ready for my part in the 2014 Hyderabad festival of food to begin.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 12th June 2014

Dominic Chapman Launches Hyderabad Food Festival