OH! WOW! It can't get better than this, I tell myself. And each time is better than the last one. I refer to my foodie afternoons in Chennai. What a showcasing of talent and enterprise here.

Last week, we got together varied and exciting foodie talent. They came with samplings of their cooking and set up at the elegant and contemporary Park Hotel's banquet hall. From prawn pickle, rice flour thenkuzhal to chocolate mousse cakes, dried fruit chikki, tiffins and even designer coconut water... I got a taste of it all. Cooking class experts, caterers, chocolatiers and cooks by passion, they were all there. The affable General Manager of the Park Hotel, V.V. Giri (yes! he is the grandson of our ex-President of India too), Chef Willi, their talented chef and their entire team set up the banquet hall and readied it for our "Good Food Line" afternoon.

Thanks to it, I can now tell you where you can get yourself some scrumptious home made goodies, be they the rice flour thenkuzhal, chocolates, naankhatais, royal icing cakes, carrot cakes, prawn pickle and even designer coconut water shells. I have information on home-delivery of pure vegetarian tiffin dabbas and even pure non-vegetarian ones. There is a lady who specialises in Thai, Cambodian and Vietnamese cooking and another whose paneer lachcha bake and Rajasthani bake is in huge demand amongst the vegetarians. I am just tantalising your palate and giving you a whiff of the weeks to come in this column. So, watch this space and you will be given all the details.

P.S. The high point of the afternoon was of course the food and the talent here as also some of the readers who turned up with very helpful suggestions. But most of all, it was the presence of two "young" and spirited ladies, that had me smiling happily. The 81-years young Mrs Rangamani, who wants to share her traditional Tamil recipes with us all (and actually cooked herself and brought along `baingan rice' and the auspicious `thirattipaal' for the love of it. There was also the 73-years-young Saroja John who lost her leg to diabetes, but not her spirit and is now into catering. More about all of them in the weeks to come.

(Rashmi Uday Singh is a food reporter, critic and author for 21 years.

Food and health are her passions. )


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