Organizing a food festival that aims to introduce the average American Joe to the diversity of Indian cuisine in Manhattan, just a few blocks away from a neighborhood known as Curry Hill for its many Indian restaurants, may appear curious.
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Varli Food Festival aims to introduce the average American Joe to the diversity of Indian cuisine.
Yet the inaugural Varli Food Festival, which will take place April 7, has attracted quite a lot of attention: Close to 600 people are set to attend the event, for which tickets have already sold out. Around 30 restaurants and 14 high-profile chefs, including celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor will be participating.
“The aim of the event was to attract people who don’t eat Indian food and to give them an opportunity to try samplers,” says Varli Singh, the event’s organizer. She said the pattern of ticket sales showed there is an equal interest among Indian expats living in New York.
Ms. Singh, 33, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Varli Magazine, a monthly that is distributed across restaurants in the U.S.’s Northeast.
One of the aims of the festival is to showcase the diversity of Indian food, an aspect that has been overshadowed by cultural stereotypes, according to Mr. Kapoor. “Unfortunately for many foreigners Indian food is chicken tikka masala, naan, tandoori chicken or saag paneer,” he says.
The festival advertises itself as a food, wine and dessert-tasting event, an odd combination since Indian cuisine is rarely matched with wine.
“We need to analyze the different tastes in a particular wine and scientifically match it with the spices in the food,” said Mr. Kapoor.
About 30 New York City-based Indian restaurants, including Baluchi’s, Tulsi and Devi, will get a chance to lay out their dishes during the four-hour event. But visitors are unlikely to taste Indian street food–which tends not to be very well represented in New York City, even among Manhattan’s many food trucks.
But Mr. Kapoor suggested that was because street food establishments are managed differently in the States than in India.
“People who run these successful carts are entrepreneurs–one person will do the job of a chef, manager, dish washer, and business owner,” said Mr. Kapoor. “The way street food carts work back home in India – one person cooks, another sells, another washes dishes.”
Fuente: India Real Time