If guests won’t come to restaurants, chefs will have to visit homes. With footfall in restaurants yet to pick up, star hotels in the city are offering customers a five-star experience at home, with master chefs either doing the honours in the guests’ kitchen personally, or guiding them virtually for a unique gastronomical experience.
At JW Marriott, executive chef Paraksh Chettiyar says the idea evolved during a brainstorming session with chefs. “We began home-delivery, as did several other hotels. But there was still a lot of idle time and the team was raring to reach out to guests in some way. That’s when the suggestion cropped up: instead of delivering food, why not travel to guests’ homes and cook dishes there? We were lucky to get a break soon afterwards — a guest called to inquire how she could organize a special dinner for an occasion in the family, and we got rolling,” he recounts.
The preferred cuisine for the special dinner at the house of a prominent fashion designer was Italian. So, the team carried with it Grana Padano cheese, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. There, at the guest’s modest kitchen, the chefs crafted handmade pasta — fettuccine and lasagna — and salad. “We cooked everything from scratch right before the guests,” Chettiyar says.
The Park is not only sending its chefs to prepare a meal at a mini-party organised by a guest, it is even offering bartender service. And if the order is substantial, the cook and bartender are free. Since the space in guests’ homes is limited, the hotel semi-prepares the food at the hotel and finishes it at the guests’ home.
“We recently did a dimsum and chaat party at a guest’s home in Alipore. We have had two bartending orders as well, both from nightclub regulars who were missing out on the excitement,” recalls Sharad Dewan, regional director (food production), The Park.
At Hyatt Regency, chefs were getting bored during the lockdown; so were customers ordering in food from the hotel. With plenty of time to spare, many were beginning to try out their hand at cooking. Others were honing their culinary skills. They wanted the result to be top-class, almost like the dishes they were ordering in from the hotel. This feedback led to a discussion among chefs, from where the out-of-the-box idea emerged.
“One option was to send a chef to a guest’s kitchen and assist cook the dish. But then there were concerns about how welcome someone from outside would be in a person’s home. So we worked out the concept of a box containing all the ingredients that goes into a particular dish, along with a recipe note. This box is delivered to the guest along with a video link, where our chef demonstrates how the dish is cooked,” explains Hyatt Regency executive chef Vikas Singh.
Those who have ordered in the box include husbands wanting to surprise their wives with their culinary skill in whipping up pasta and pizza, and young IT professionals in New Town who have tried out tikkis and kebabs. The idea has been a hit, with repeat orders from multiple customers.
The Taj, too, has lined up takeaway gourmet hampers with everything needed to cook a scrumptious meal — from the pasta and herbs to a spread of cheese and crackers. The hampers include ingredients and recipes for dishes like Bhatti da badami aloo and crispy silken tofu in Sichuan sauce. Also on offer is a breakfast hamper that includes a choice of teas or coffee.
ITC, on the other hand, forged a tie-up with a television network to launch a cookery show from the ITC kitchen on both conventional cable channels and OTT platforms. “The genesis of the thought came from our commitment to reach every Indian kitchen with authentic regional recipes that came from an enthusiastic kitchen brigade at ITC Hotels. This initiative ensured that while people are staying home, they have access to some time-honoured and contemporary creations that bring joy in the lives of their near and dear ones,” says ITC Royal Bengal and ITC Sonar executive chef Vijay Malhotra.
With search trends indicating a surge in dessert creations that people could prepare at home with chocolates, the hotel collated interesting trends like chocolate mango pudding, vega dark hot chocolate and molten lava cake, which customers can try at home with limited ingredients.
Source:Times of India