Indian cuisine a beacon of our soft power on global stage

Global popularity of Indian cuisine is due to its ability to cater to diverse palates

Indian cuisine stands as a beacon of our soft power on the global stage. Fuelled by our vast diaspora, Indian food has transcended borders, captivating hearts and palates worldwide. Behind this culinary revolution are immensely talented chefs, crafting extraordinary dining experiences in highly acclaimed restaurants that elevate Indian cuisine to new heights. No longer confined to the familiar, Indian fare now embraces the intricacies of regional cuisine, offering a delectable journey through diverse flavours and traditions. As ambassadors of taste, these chefs are not only satisfying appetites but also bridging cultures, fostering understanding and showcasing the richness of India’s culinary heritage to the world.

In recent years, regional Indian cuisine has experienced a remarkable surge in popularity on the global culinary stage. From the aromatic spices of Tamil Nadu to the rich flavours of Punjab, the diverse regional cuisines of India are being relished by food enthusiasts worldwide. This culinary renaissance is not only due to the impeccable taste of Indian dishes but also due to the pioneering efforts of Indian chefs who have taken their expertise to international platforms.

One such chef who has left an indelible mark on the global culinary landscape is Vikas Khanna, who hails from Amritsar. Khanna’s journey to becoming a Michelin-starred chef is nothing short of inspiring. His culinary prowess, combined with a deep appreciation for traditional Indian flavours, has earned him acclaim across continents. Khanna’s restaurants in New York City and Dubai have become destinations for food aficionados seeking an authentic taste of India.

Vikas Khanna Vikas Khanna

From London to Singapore, Indian chefs are redefining haute cuisine with their innovative interpretations of traditional dishes. Their success is a testament to the richness and diversity of Indian culinary heritage, which encompasses a myriad of flavours, spices and cooking techniques. Vineet Bhatia, Hemant Mathur, Gaggan Anand, Manish Mehrotra and Garima Arora are more such pioneers taking delectable Indian cuisine to the world, earning Michelin stars in the process.

One of the factors driving the global popularity of Indian cuisine is its ability to cater to diverse palates. Whether it is the fiery curries of south India or the creamy gravies of the north, Indian food offers something for everyone. Moreover, the rise of social media and food tourism has provided Indian chefs with unprecedented opportunities to showcase their talents on a global scale.

Sowndra Rajan Palanisamy, president of the Tamil Association of New Zealand Inc, in collaboration with the Arasan New Zealand Trust, is spearheading the Auckland Kari Virunthu 2.0 event, set to showcase local Indian cuisine in New Zealand.

Semma in New York City emerges as another bold exploration of southern Indian heritage cuisine, unveiling culinary treasures seldom seen beyond local homes and neighbourhoods. Chef Vijay Kumar, hailing from Tamil Nadu, channels the soulful essence of farm-life and his ancestral land onto the plate, infusing each dish with explosive flavours and regional ingredients. From the bustling streets of Mumbai to the vibrant lanes of London, Dishoom has captivated hearts with its rendition of Mumbai-style street food. Also nestled in the heart of London, Chourangi embodies the spirit of Kolkata cuisine, steeped in a legacy of recipes spanning over three centuries. Rasa by chef Das Sreedharan is a restaurant taking vegetarian recipes from the kitchen gardens of Kochi, Kerala, to the United Kingdom.

Across the globe, countless Indian chefs have journeyed abroad, ascending to the pinnacle of their craft and becoming culinary luminaries in their own right. India must harness this formidable resource by partnering with these chefs to promote Indian food through curated events and festivals. Recognised and supported by the Indian embassies, Indian chefs abroad can serve as esteemed ambassadors of their nation, leveraging their years of experience to champion Indian cuisine in foreign lands.

In the vast landscape of global gastronomy, modern and traditional interpretations of regional Indian cuisines emerge not only as a feast for the senses but also as a testament to the power of food to unite, inspire and celebrate the richness of our culture and diversity.

Author is G20 Sherpa. He is ex-CEO, NITI Aayog.