A meal of tiny proportions with Le Petit Chef

Le Petit Chef

Le Petit Chef  


Le Petit Chef combines technology with theatrics at Grand Hyatt Mumbai. But does the food match the hype?

When someone mentions fine dining, people think large plates with small portions, where it is hard to tell the starter from the mains. So when I was invited for an experience by Le Petit Chef (described as a chef no higher than my thumb, cooking on my plate), I figured the food would certainly be microscopic.

In a format that is spread out over many courses, the eyes have to be regaled even before the nose and tongue get to it. And so the Grand Hyatt Mumbai decided to host the Le Petit Chef dinners at their Italian outpost, Celini. This “Cinema on a Plate” is a first for the hotel, as also for the country. The concept, which uses 3D mapping, was developed in Belgium and made its way around the globe — Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, among others.

This tech has been used for everything from scientific to military and medical purposes, but when the guys in the white lab coats get bored, they do stuff like this. In an animation projection, a tiny chef walks on to your table and knocks together a meal. For example, the first course was salad, so the table was a verdant garden where our little chef went about plucking vegetables, throwing them onto our plates and then dices them up. A small, quirky narrative accompanies each course — in this case, he tried to get rid of a garden mole — and once it is over, the servers bring in a plate with the exact same dish.

Overall, the cartoon-ish visuals and simplistic narrative managed to to be engaging. The idea wasn’t as much participative as it was immersive, involving our senses in a more comprehensive manner. There was enough fodder for the ’Gram-folk who like to visually document all their meals. There were three menus on offer; we had opted for the gastro, so our courses came drenched in truffles, pan-fried duck liver, fresh lobsters and octopus, gold-leafed desserts and so on. The alcohol was separate and we chose to stick with wine.

The food was prepared by in-house chefs who have worked with the design team to develop the recipes. Each course was well-prepared, cooked right and did not look like they needed to be eaten with mini-tweezers. Portions were definitely on the generous side and I guess this was because of how it was priced (from ₹7,000 to ₹11,000). I, for one, ended up having a lot of leftover. Like every menu, there were dishes I liked better than others, but the general consensus — gathered while involuntarily eavesdropping — was that it had been a memorable experience for most. So, don’t go there expecting to interact with a live chef and mull over the provenance of each dish. Instead, treat it as a fun, alternate way to enjoy an elaborate dinner.

Would I do this again? Not any time soon, as the novelty would run thin the second time around. But I would definitely recommend you try this if you haven’t, for a fun yet flavourful experience.

Till March 20, 2020.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 4:38:50 AM |

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