Celebrity chef Ranveer Brar on crimes against food, the keto diet, and the evolution of Indian fusion dishes
In the times of increasing crimes against food, Firstpost got Food Detective Ranveer Brar to get to the bottom of the curious cases like superfoods, fusion foods and the keto diet.
Crimes against food are punishable under Section 351 of the Balanced Diet Act. However, dieting has proved not to be a deterrent in crimes against food. What, then, must one do to tackle the increasing crime rates? Firstpost roped in a Food Detective to help us kill all the fads that come in the way of good food and us. Ranveer Brar is a celebrity chef, former judge of Masterchef India and a food stylist.
His upcoming food anthology Secrets Behind Food will go on air on Sony BBC Earth on 23 July. He will be seen investigating the crime spots of supermarket chains in the UK and food factories in order to get to the bottom of the issue. In the third show, he will join fellow Food Detectives in a demystifying interaction with food aficionados, where he will debunk multiple myths. Firstpost got early access to him and asked him to comment on 10 contemporary food trends.
On the plastic ban's impact on the food industry
Whether food items with non-plastic packaging (Cornitos) are more environment-friendly than those with plastic packaging (Lays, Kurkure)
I do not think there is a choice. Whether we want our world with plastic or without plastic is not even a question today. The permanent damage that plastic is doing is unacceptable. I don't think the food industry, or any other industry, has a choice. The sooner we accept the reality that if we want to leave our planet worthy of anything for the next generation, plastic cannot be a part of it. And it goes not only for the food processing industry but also restaurants.
On home-cooked food over processed food
Whether he recommends a muesli and oats meal or a home-cooked, mixed grain parantha for breakfast to an Indian family
It is a fair mix of both. I am always in favour of cooking your own food. Processing is not something I stand for. But processing brings a lot of things to your meal which are not in your kitchen. For example, muesli. If you are making muesli on your own then you will have to figure out the grains, the nuts. But if you order, somebody will do the job for you. So processing is good as long as it does not come in the way of home-cooked food. As I said, it should be a fair mix of eat-out food and cook-at-home food.
On why the keto diet is in vogue
How safe is this low-carb diet that increases fat burning and reduces hunger
Keto is a modified form of the Atkins diet, and the Atkins diet has been there since forever. It is a method of shocking the body. Shocks are good for the body, but only for a limited period. You should follow the keto diet only for a fixed period of time. Perpetuating has a really bad effect on the body. It is a good medium to shock the body, but sustaining that body is what you will have to do through lifestyle and regular food. So the diet can help you get there but it cannot keep you there.
On turning to grandmothers for food advice instead of nutritionists
Whether he agrees with nutrition expert Rujuta Diwekar's advice of whom to consult for diet issues
I totally agree with that. I have been saying that for a decade. You look at us people who are fit emotionally, mentally and spiritually, and you ask them what they eat. In the generation of grandparents, everyone was so fit!That is because there was a healthy balance of a right diet and the right state of mind.
On how fried foods like fritters be made healthier and tastier
How to make the go-to food item of the monsoons — the pakoras — apt for a health-conscious foodie.
To make them tastier, I always say you should add a little bit of tamarind water to your batter. It adds character to the bhajiya batter. To make it healthier, if you are frying it, the trick is to fry it in hot oil. If you fry it in medium or low oil, the oil will soak in.
On the world warming up to Indian fusion foods
Whether fusion foods like naanza, tandoori momos and noodle samosas will make it as big as turmeric latte
No, I do not think so. All the fusion foods or evolved foods are popular in India because you have to be able to understand what a kadhai chicken is to know what its evolved version is. The West does not even know the original food of India that much, so how can they appreciate the evolved food of India?
On the tectonic shift to greens in India
Why Indian foodies are turning to zoodles, shell-less tacos and root-to-stem cooking
I think it is a result of going back to our roots. We are going back to the past generations and analysing what made our grandparents so healthy. Also, there is a growing cultural consciousness in India. There is an understanding that culture cannot be studied without food and vice-versa.
Whether global superfoods like macha and chia seeds gel well with the Indian palate
It is great that we talk about superfoods. But we already had a superfood in basil leaves or sabza or tukmaria. It is an equivalent of the chia seeds in India and we have had it since forever. Then people talk about how good green macha is for you. But at the same time, moringa is healthier than macha. It is the drumstick we put in our sambhars, whether in North India or South India. So there is a lot of conversation around 'superfoods' but we should see this as an opportunity to look at our own superfoods.
On ambience over food in restaurants
Whether restaurants and other food outlets are investing more in experiences and decor to sell their food
We are becoming a very product-oriented society. I do not think this is a trend that is going to last.
On Instagram food
Whether Instagram has boosted food styling
Oh, in a big way! I see the quality of food styling and food photography has substantially improved since the pre-Instagram days. Obviously, it has got a lot to do with the coming in of DSLR cameras. But for a novice entering into the industry to get the concept of lighting in food photography is great. Both food styling and food photography have improved by leaps and bounds.
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