Conde Nast Traveller India


These creative young minds are transforming India’s culinary landscape and reimagining how diners eat out. Profiles by Roshni Bajaj Sanghvi, Joanna Lobo, Krutika Behrawala, Rituparna Roy & Sushmita Sundaram

With inputs from AD Singh, Akash Devaraju, Anubhuti Krishna, Fahad Samar, Jonty Rajagopalan, Kapil Chopra, Kaveri Ponnapa, Kumud Dadlani, Manish Mehrotra, Marryam Reshii, Odette Mascarenhas, Priyadarshini Chatterjee, Rahul Akerkar, Ranveer Brar, Ritu Dalmia, Riyaaz Amlani, Shaun Kenworthy and Vivek Menezes

There’s never been a better time for food in India. We’ve always been concerned about what’s for lunch, but eating is a near-24x7 fixation now—we obsessively track new restaurant openings, flock to farmers’ markets, fawn over artisanal crockery and hunt down heirloom recipes, all while trying out new diets and superfoods. Fuelling this feeding frenzy is a host of young Indian chefs: not only are they delighting our taste buds, they’re reinventing supply chains to make them more sustainable, using social media as a teaching tool, telling compelling stories and bringing the focus back to great local and seasonal ingredients. With this compilation of culinary talent—put together with suggestions from industry veterans and experts, as well as our own expertise in gluttony—we’re raising our hat to the future of India’s food movement.

VINESH JOHNY, 31, CO-FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE PASTRY CHEF, LAVONNE, BENGALURU It comes as no surprise that Bengaluru boy Vinesh Johny, who founded Lavonne to meet the need for an international-standard pastry school in India, supports the philosophy of never turning down dessert. He believes there’s a way to introduce mindful indulgence to eaters used to ghee-laden, sugar-soaked flavours. “At Lavonne, chocolate-based desserts are our bestsellers, but we still offer a variety of options—from eggless desserts to nut-and-fruit-based options,” he says. “Our treats should feel balanced and light, not something customers give up on a few bites in because they feel overloaded by the sweetness of traditional recipes. I want people coming to the shop to treat themselves and not be restricted by dietary requirements. Everyone should have options.”



MEGHA KOHLI, 30, EXECUTIVE CHEF, LAVAASH BY SABY, DELHI One of India’s youngest chefs, Megha Kohli isn’t content with just cooking food—she’s passionate about reducing wastage, using indigenous grains and ingredients and cooking sustainably. Her food philosophy is best explained through her star dishes, like her Bihari thali with Champaran mutton, sarson rohu, chicken tarua, litti, aloo chokha, balushahi and kochu chutney, and her cheese platter with indigenous varieties like smoked Kalimpong and Bandel cheese. “My thalis showcase the biodiversity of India and celebrate lesser-known dishes,” she says. Kohli even uses Manipuri black rice, chakhao, in her kheer “to show that you can make a traditional recipe unique by substituting just one ingredient”.



Sheik Mohideen once believed South Indian food was “home food” and preferred cooking “Western” meals. Now, his mother’s special rice, avarai paruppu saadam, which he learned to prepare as a child, is a signature dish at Savya Rasa. The turning point

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