Insight column presents various aspects of the food industry by an expert and experienced food connoisseur, a foodepreneur at heart, Mr. Vijay Gupta the Managing Director and founder of Honest group of restaurants. We present in this episode, his thoughts on ‘ cooking environment ‘
The cooking environment is a function of many factors. These include the lifestyle and culture, availability and affordability of resources, technology, and the population that the kitchen serves. All these factors are intertwined to produce a rich milieu of different kitchens.
Culture and lifestyle have a major say in what kind of cuisines is made and how they are made. Many a time these two most important factors would determine the physical structure of the kitchen and the cooking methods adopted. Obviously cooking Bakhri and Rotella would require different equipment and utensils than the baking of pizza. In many Indian households, the kitchen is a room that is almost considered sacred. It is the central hub that is used to store and prepare home-made food, a key part of maintaining a happy, healthy lifestyle for all in the family. As the kitchen is such an important area, it makes sense to keep it as organized and family-friendly as possible. For us, at Honest we have kept the usage to the minimum. The array of equipment is such that there is minimum clutter to ensure optimal cooking time and quick delivery to the client.
Indians in response to the physical environment over the years has a history of enriching facts when it comes to cooking methods. Dating back to Vedas and Upanishads, Indians adopted various cooking methods to come up with unique meals that were suitable to people in different regions and seasons. Cooking styles developed in different parts of the country gave rise to regional cuisines with distinct tastes. So we have today the same Indian vegetable curry cooked differently in Bengal, Punjab, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu – each rendering different taste. And such variations are endless. At Honest we were impacted by the choices of customers. The very idea of going for ‘PavBaji’ as our signature dish was the outcome of Mumbai culture that is swirling with a fast-paced metro lifestyle.
Apart from the cooking area the storage place in equally important. Recent studies indicate that proper air circulation, levels of humidity and temperature not only impacts the shelf life of stored spices, pulses, grains, and oils but can also significantly alter the taste and nutritional value.
A proper wash area with good ventilation and sunlight needs to be separated from the cooking area. At Honest we have ensured that the area next to cooking is well ventilated, less cluttered, away from wash so that more working space is available for cooks who work relentlessly like human robots. Divided drawers, the pull-out pantry, Clear glass jars, Freezer containers, Magnetic storage, and Easy access crockery can all be added to ease cooking.
Going green is rapidly becoming the norm, and the kitchen is a great place to start making environment-friendly changes to your lifestyle. From the food you buy to the way it’s cooked and stored, you can save energy, reduce your carbon footprint and keep an eye on your budget in many different ways. Eco-friendly cooking not only benefits the environment. It’s healthier for you and your family, too. Choosing organic vegetables keeps chemicals out of your body, as well as the air, soil, and rivers. Many eco-friendly habits are also budgeting friendly. And these days, who sin are watching every penny? Finding ways to cook more efficiently —like using the right appliance for the job—can help you reduce monthly energy costs. And you can cut your total grocery bill by reusing products like aluminum foil and glass containers, buying and cooking food in larger quantities and making the most of leftovers.