A star studded affair with lots of 'adda'
Post the announcement of the winners of IIHM presents The Telegraph Food Guide Awards 2021, Jimmy Tangree hosted an adda session that was all about food. On the panel were jury members Shaun Kenworthy, Richa Sharma, Ridhima Ghosh and Rohan Arora. From discussions on being on the jury and favourite dishes to some humorous moments, the socially distanced Food Adda was a fun breather.
Jimmy Tangree: Rohan, being jury members and going through so many categories, was it tough?
Rohan Arora: Really tough. Firstly, categorising them is a very difficult job but hats off to team t2 for doing that. It’s one of the best selections of restaurants in the city and for us it gets even more difficult because it’s choosing the best out of the best.
Jimmy: Just curious, what’s your favourite dish?
Rohan: Biryani, of course!
Jimmy: Ridhima, how was it judging?
Ridhima Ghosh: I don’t really look at it as judging because I look forward to it every year. I look forward to another year where I have to try out new places and eat. It gives me all the motivation and encouragement to eat more and try more places.
Jimmy: What’s your favourite grub?
Ridhima: I am more of a dessert person and tiramisu is my favourite.
Jimmy: Shaun, you have been into food and been a foodie all your life. If I have to ask you... there’s your favourite dish and then someone gorgeous side by side… who or what would you choose?
Shaun Kenworthy: The chef in me would choose food over women first!
Jimmy: I like that honesty. And your favourite dish?
Shaun: Good old Calcutta biryani! It’s technically an almost perfect pulao, almost in the Persian sense.
Jimmy: Coming to The Telegraph Food Guide Awards, how tough was it to choose the winners?
Shaun: I have been judging this right from the first time, since 2006, I think so it goes quite sometime back. We sit in a room and fight a little bit and there are discrepancies at times where the t2 team then gets involved. We decided this year that the heritage section doesn’t need to be there because they are the heritage spaces and they will be great forever.
Jimmy: There must be a huge difference in terms of how the restaurants have changed over the years and how Calcutta has changed?
Shaun: Praying for our industry at the moment. But there has been an incredible change and lots of new brands coming into Calcutta and lots of new restaurants coming up too. It’s a great sign for the industry.
Jimmy: Richa, you visit a lot of places and you have been a judge at various events. How tough was judging this?
Richa Sharma: This was my first time and I had a great time. We had to dig out the best. I am very much into food... do you know that I can make more than 70 kind of parathas?
Rohan: We wouldn’t know because we haven’t been invited yet! (Laughs)
Richa: I love to eat south Indian food though. I love khichri too and it’s my comfort dish.
Jimmy: Are you a foodie Rohan?
Rohan: Of course, I am (pointing at his himself)
Jimmy: If you look like a foodie, I don’t know what I look like…
Rohan: You look like a restaurant! (Everyone goes LOL)
Jimmy: Ridhima, how do you keep yourself educated in terms of food and eating? What is that energiser of yours that helps you get through your shoots?
Ridhima: I eat the food available at shoots. Very Bangali, homely food and we love it that way. Sometimes biryani too. I look forward to days when I have an off so that I can go out and try new places. I can bake but I didn’t know how to cook so during the lockdown it’s something I learnt.
Shaun: So, there are three people on the panel who we now know can cook… what about Rohan?
Rohan: I can only cook up stories. (Everyone laughs)
Jimmy: Shaun, if I ask you to cook something special right now, what would you cook for all of us?
Shaun: Something like sheddho bhaat and aloo sheddho!
Jimmy: Your favourite dish and your finest shoe design. Which one would you choose, Rohan?
Rohan: All the shoes are really special so, food, any day.
Jimmy: What would you all like to tell the people watching?
Shaun: These are challenging times and we all need to be prepared for changes and make the most of it. We just have to be ready for it.
Richa: We just have to be careful and need to maintain the protocols and sail through this.
Ridhima: We have been going through this for a year and we can do it for some more time. Just need to be responsible and not just think about us but about others as well. Please wear mask and sanitise.
Rohan: Like Shaun said, we have to change. Wearing a mask is more for the rest of the people around you. Maintain social distancing, continue what you are doing but just take precautions.
“These days there are so many awards and even more Food Awards. But the one that’s most trusted is undoubtedly The Telegraph Food Guide Awards. IIHM has always been an integral part of this most trusted awards and is extremely proud about our long history of working together as a partner. I really missed not being there during the launch of the Food Guide book,” said Suborno Bose, CEO and chief mentor, IIHM.
“Every year we look forward to hosting The Telegraph Food Guide at our hotel. It’s the third consecutive year for us as hospitality partner and personally an event for which I am keen on meeting people from the same fraternity. This year was quite an exception with strict physical distancing norms and precautionary measures in place with a limited number of guests. We wish to host the next edition in a bigger format like always since it’s one award that the city’s F&B industry looks forward to. Many congratulations to all the winners!” said Kumar Shobhan, general manager.
“Being jury at The Telegraph Food Guide Awards takes me to a trip down gastronomic lanes. During the jury meet we all come together to fight over, for and of food... that’s my fave part. Moreover it’s always been a pleasure appreciating all the new and old eateries of our very own city. t2 gives me that opportunity,” said Nusrat Jahan, actress-MP and a member of the TTFGA jury who could not attend the event.
Calcutta is a city where you cannot talk to anyone without discussing food. For me being a part of The Food Guide is just not about discovering new places but so much more. An average customer wouldn’t be able to go to all the places, but the book gives the people that knowledge of what’s new, happening... the Food Guide Awards is a fair guide and I am the only one who has been a part of it since the beginning and I can only say it’s been a great pleasure
— Shaun Kenworthy
It was my first time being a part of the jury and it been a great experience. We had a lot of arguments and discussions while deciding but at the end of the day considered the overall experience that each place offers. The Telegraph Food Guide Awards are known for its genuine and honest judging and it was great being a part of the same
— Richa Sharma
I think the Food Guide serves as a perfect handbook to foodies like me! I always make it a point to try out the places I have not been to and the book is the perfect guide. Also, I have been a part of the jury for three years now and it’s always an honour to be a part of it. It’s always great to choose the best of the best
the city has to offer and bring it in front of everyone. Also this really encourages me to eat out more, that’s always a plus
— Ridhima Ghosh
This was the cutest Food Guide Award I have been a part of. Considering the current situation in mind, keeping it short was the need of the hour. That aside, I think we are all judgemental as people so judging the awards wasn’t an issue. My fave categories were the nightlife and pubs