As the team at JW Marriott Chandigarh sat together to plan their newest offering for their patrons, they had just one thought in mind, to offer something exclusive & unexplored. Chef Janardan, Junior Sous Chef at JW Marriott Chandigarh, who happens to be from Andhra Pradesh came up with the idea of a food festival on the unexplored recipes from down South. He knew that in the hinterlands of South India, there were very simplistic yet heavenly homely recipes perfected by Grand Mother’s and passed on by them from generation to generation; recipes restricted to the homes in the interiors of South India and untapped by people outside of those places.
To explore the unexplored, Chef Janardan packed his bags and undertook an Epicurean expedition into the hinterlands of South Indian states namely Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. For 15 days, he went from one place to another, spending time in remote villages to understand their distinct cooking styles and recipes. Being from South India, he had an understanding of the culinary basics of these regions. However, by spending time at different places within these states, he came across unique recipes and style of preparations for popular South Indian dishes.
This 15 day excursion helped shaped the distinct menu of “Ammamma Vantalu”, the South Indian Food Festival at The Café@JW from May 05 to May 10, 2017. During the expedition, Chef Janardan visited Venumbaka (Nellore) in Andhra Pradesh where he picked up home-recipes for Nellore Chepala Pulusu, a popular tangy fish curry and Bellam Pongal which is a sweet dish among others. From the time he spent in Medaram (Varangal) in Telangana, Chef Janardan observed signature dishes liked Telangana Lamb Chops and Majjiga along with others like Honey Lemon Chia Water.
In Karnataka, he spent time in Udipi country side at Kalthur where he gained insight into the traditional home-recipes for specialities such as Udipi Kai Khorma. Another key destination in his South India culinary exploration was Sivaganga (Karakudi) in Tamil Nadu, where delicacies like Potato Kara Kari and Keerai Parupu enthralled him.
A visit to South India is incomplete without exploring God’s Own Country, Kerala. During his stay at Arumanoor (Kottayam) in Kerala, Chef Janardan picked up from locals recipes and techniques to prepare signature delights like Kottayam Meen Curry and Ellaneeru Payasam.
Sharing his experiences from his expedition, Chef Janardan said, “As I observed the recipes used and the methodology adopted by the villagers in these 5 states, a common feature among all the dishes and recipes was the minimal use of spices and a very simple style of cooking. Despite this, every dish I tasted was heavenly and rich in flavours. Another aspect of these dishes was that the masalas used were prepared at home by grounding and mixing spices, eliminating the use of any added flavours or preservatives. One thing which I became sure of was that these recipes had been perfected by the grandmothers and were learnt from them by their daughters and granddaughters by watching and cooking along side.”
This inspired JW Marriott Chandigarh to name this South Indian food festival as ‘Ammamma Vantalu’ meaning ‘Grand Ma’s Recipes’. Full of hidden gems from South India, the menu explores common man’s uncommon food i.e. the food which is routine for those belonging to these hinterlands but uncommon and exquisite t0 those from outside. As you get ready to feast upon gastronomical delights from down South, you will find that the menu is full of some unheard of dishes and also some popular ones but even they will offer flavours never tasted before by you.
“The whole idea behind Chef Janardan visiting and spending time with the people from interiors of South India was to make sure he can back with recipes and techniques as close to the original ones used at those places. It is still easier to recreate popular dishes from different places as their recipes and preparation techniques are more or less the same with every chef adding a bit of his own magic. But this time around, the idea was to bring the hinterland of South India on the table at The Café@JW and give a truly unmatched and never-before kind of experience which one can only get at JW Marriott Chandigarh,” said Chef Vijay Prakash, Chef de Cuisine, JW Marriott Chandigarh.
You can savour this delicious meal for dinner from 7:30 pm to 11:30 pm at The Café@JW at JW Marriott Chandigarh. The vegetarian and non-vegetarian buffets are priced at Rs 1550/- onwards per person (exclusive of taxes), respectively. You can call at 0172-3955555 or +91 998 889 8309 to reserve your table.