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Cooking up a storm
Sanjeev Kapoor in Calcutta. Picture by Rashbehari Das

Calcutta and its passion for gourmet fare will feature prominently on celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor’s upcoming TV channel ‘Food Food’, to be launched in the first quarter of next year.

“This will be the first dedicated food channel on Indian television and will appropriately showcase the quintessential Bengali’s penchant for good food. In fact, of the 10 shows canned till date, three feature Bengali hosts,” said Kapoor, in town to launch an American food festival.

Food Food, owned by Kapoor’s Turmeric Vision Pvt Ltd and to be made available on cable TV and DTH platforms as a pay-and-watch channel, will be test-launched on February 14, 2009. It will bring home a platter of fine-food features and food-related entertainment content.

Park Street will be featured as a unique restaurant rendezvous. “We will of course turn the spotlight on Bengali sweets, picking out regional jewels like Nakur and K.C. Das, bringing their story to the world,” he stressed.

The chef, TV show host, cookbook author and restaurant consultant, who had made his first foray into the city’s dining domain in April 2002 with Grain of Salt in alliance with the PDK Shenaz Group, is also preparing for a second coming.

Kapoor’s restaurant business Kars Foods is planning to bring in all its formats to Calcutta over the next three years. The city will have four Yellow Chilli outlets, which offer casual Indian fare, one destination dining den in the shape of his premium brand Khazaana, and maybe the first stop of Grain of Salt reborn.

“Yes, I have very fond memories with the Grain of Salt brand in Calcutta and this is where I would like to begin the second innings of this multi-cuisine format, which will now become a pan-India chain,” the celeb chef said.

Hot Rocks, the new brand of the group, being introduced in Hyderabad soon, will come to town as well, as Kars Food plans to bring in over Rs 15 crore worth of business to Calcutta through the franchisee route over the next few years.

“Bengalis love to experiment with their food and the average ticket size for a family meal is very encouraging. So it sure makes sense to have a strong presence here,” Kapoor said. His company has entered into a JV with Praxis, which runs an international chain of health clubs, to man logistics for its India operations.

There are two outlets of the Khazaana brand in Dubai and the third was opened in Doha last week. While Kapoor is aggressively scouting for property to open the first Indian Khazaana in Mumbai, plans are afoot to take it to London and New York as well.

Subhro Saha

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