Frozen food as nutritious as fresh products, says Michelin star chef Alfred Prasad
Also read: Chef Alfred Prasad is back - with a bit of Michelin at the table
What brings to you Bengaluru for just 24 hours?
I have collaborated with frozen food company Sumeru Foods for a gourmet line. As a chef in London for 18 years, I have come to accept that frozen food can be as good as fresh food in nutrition value. In India, the supply chain and logistics is still in its infancy. Our fresh food is not as fresh as we think.
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Where does India’s F&B industry stand on the global culinary map?
In 1999, the Indian foodscape did not look exciting. Good restaurants were the mainstay of five-star hotels. The upper middle class would eat out less often. Today, I see exciting concepts across the spectrum. It is no more the domain of hospitality-trained professionals. Anyone with an interesting idea can open a successful concept restaurant. A small kiosk selling moong-dal dosa becomes an internet sensation. Mumbai and Bengaluru are India’s leading cities in gastronomy. Internationally, I would rank India in the top 20 with Tokyo, London, New York, San Francisco and Copenhagen.
Yet we don’t have a single Michelinstar restaurant.
Michelin cannot afford the manpower to rate the length and breadth of India. They would need about 5,000 inspectors to follow their model of making repeated visits to a restaurant 8-10 times anonymously to decide whether the eatery has earned a star. For example, Michelin doesn’t cover Southern California. It’s not because they don’t have good restaurants but because Michelin doesn’t have the manpower. They could do a city rating, though.
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What does it take to keep the Michelin star year-on-year?
It is a lot of hard work. Focus has to be on each plate, each accompaniment, each bowl of rice and each naan going out of the kitchen. You need a team to deliver the consistency even on your day off. There is external pressure to hold on to the stars from the owners, media and colleagues. But I don’t have sleepless nights over it.
One change that you would like to see in India’s F&B industry.
Indian consumers are not discerning about their food produce as they are about the size of their TV or brand of shoes. In Italy or France, even the shopkeepers suggest, appreciate, cooperate and communicate with consumers. When the mass consumer becomes demanding at stores, restaurants and dining tables at home, there will be a shift in the way we produce and transport food. It will impact the F&B industry.