Amrita TV’s signature cookery show, ‘Taste of Kerala’, has had a successful run since its launch in 2006. The show has now got a new look. Actor Reena Basheer has stepped in as the anchor. Also, the show has been re-formatted – it now combines travel with cuisine. More from Reena, who is excited about her role…

What’s new about the show?

It was ‘Taste of Kerala’ which saw cooking being taken out of studios and sets to homes and kitchens in different places. The anchor travelled the length and breadth of the State and brought in recipes from all over. The new season has added a dash of novelty by taking viewers to exotic and unseen locations. We stay at a resort or homestay, introduce viewers to the highlights of the region along with presenting two dishes prepared by a chef there. The culture, landscape, lifestyle and every other aspect related to the place is presented.

The research

The new format is the brainchild of our producer, Saj Kurian. He had earlier produced, ‘Harithabharatham’, a pan-India travelogue that focussed on farming and ran for four years. An avid traveller, he wanted to blend travel and taste.

The experience so far

Great! The first episode was shot at the Misty Mountain Plantation Resort at Kuttikkanam in Idukki district, which was owned by the royal family of erstwhile Travancore. It was heavenly staying amidst the plantation and thick vegetation.

Then we covered Kumbalangi Tourism Village, where we stayed at the heritage bungalow, Heritage Methanam. The fresh catch from the backwaters and the ambience were simply terrific.

There was a complete shift of landscape as we stopped at Nutmeg Greens, a farmhouse at Ezhattumugham. The farm tour was a special treat. The farms, which grew hundreds of varieties of fruits and lots of spices, are really amazing. The ethnic dishes added to the flavour.

The chef, who knew a lot about the local tribes, showed us a special mode of cooking. We have some exciting episodes coming up, one at the Vanilla County plantation farmhouse at Wagamon, in addition to the Ramzan special episode and an Onam special episode shot in a houseboat!

Being an anchor

Not many know that I wanted to become an anchor once. In fact, after my marriage, which happened when I was only 16, when a regional channel had called for anchors, I was among those who applied. But that never happened! Although I wanted to do many things, I waited for my children to grow up. And the right platform was given by Amrita TV in 2007.

I took part in ‘Vanita Ratnam’, the reality show for mothers, which opened my way to movies, ads and now anchoring. Well, I’m quite talkative and that really helps! But still I know I have to improve a lot.

Add-ons

I run a homestay in Fort Kochi. Also, I love cooking. In fact, I experiment a lot with my cooking. I have tried making many varieties of juices. My family loves the biriyani I make. However, I can’t afford to be a foodie, since I have to be conscious about my acting career as well (she has done 15 movies and her forthcoming work is Pigman). How I miss icecreams and pastries…