Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Lets all switch to canola oil!

           Firstly, let me begin this post with a heartfelt apology because I have delayed this post a lot. Had been tied up by a few festivals that took up all my time. So this poor little post was sitting patiently in the drafts folder, biding its time to make an appearance. Anyway, better late than never, so here we are!! :) P.s. This is going to be a LONG post. I enjoyed the event so much, that I couldn't bear to let go of even a little bit :)

           This event was organised in the first week of September by (go check out the website, its very informative), to spread the awareness about the wonderful, nutritional values of canola oil. The event was being held at the Four Seasons Hotel, Worli and the event had a line up of exciting events and and the most amazing panel of speakers which included, Mr. Bruce Jowett - VP- Market Development, Canola Council of Canada; Ms. Naini Setalvad - a well known nutritionist and columnist; Dr. Aashish Contractor - HOD: Preventive Cardiology and Rehabilitation;  and last but not the least (the person I was SO excited to meet) Chef Ajay Chopra - Executive chef at The Westin Mumbai and celebrity judge on Masterchef India.
Speakers from L -R : Dr. Contractor, Ms. Setalvad, the Communication head for the Canola Council, Mr. Jowett, and Chef Ajay.

            It was a modest gathering of about 25 to 30 people, but what made it so memorable was that all those present, were food lovers. I had such a wonderful opportunity to meet new people from the field I love so dearly, talk to them, listen and learn to so many new things. I was able to meet so many knowledgeable people who have been in the food blogging arena for so long, I felt like a baby among them :) . And most importantly, I was introduced to a life - changing food medium, i.e. canola oil.
P.s Thats me in the red next to Chef Ajay! :) 
             The session began with Mr. Jowett introducing us to the reality of oil consumption in India. Trust me, I was shocked to know that we consume 17 million tonnes of vegetable oil a year which is increasing at the rate of 1/4th million tonnes extra each year. Out of this humongous quantity, our country is able to produce only 7 and a 1/2 million tonnes and import the rest. Gosh, we are a country who love their fat and fried food, aren't we? :o Cooking without any oil or fat is not for the faint -hearted (I'm faint hearted, I love my pakoras; don't judge me! :P ) So if we are going to continue this way, we must  look for healthier options within oil, or else, the future of our health looks very bleak :(

           Canola oil comes in like a miracle option for us, with the lowest amount of trans - fat, no cholestrol, a very high smoking point, clean in taste and light in color and density!! I would really request you to visit their website that I mentioned above and go have a look!! I am now going to get on with the details of the event! Mr. Jowett was followed by Ms. Setalvad who was able to eloquently put the current food habit issues we Indian's face into  perspective.  Dr. Aashish Contractor was able to tell us shocking realities of the Indian health scenario. We are slowly turning into the diabetes capital of the world and the need for healthy food and healthy habits is increasing to the point where medication may stop providing any sort of help in the future. :O
             And after being shocked so much, came my favorite part (yes, it involves cooking and eating :D ) Chef Ajay Chopra spoke about canola oil being an efficient kitchen mate and substitute for all things oily! There was a demo kitchen set up in the room for Chef Ajay to demonstrate a few recipes using canola oil, so that we could experience the difference right there! There were three well chosen recipes, which were all deep fried food - stuffs. Also, we were each given a sample of canola oil accompanied with some sourdough bread to look, feel, smell and taste. Believe me when I say that I was as shocked as you are! It was everything it claimed to be! Odorless, very light and non - sticky, almost tasteless and yet a wonderful medium to cook in ! :O Along with plain canola oil, Chef Ajay whipped up three flavored oils for us to taste - Red chilli, Thai Basil and Rosemary. Honestly, you could serve the flavored oil and bread combo as  hors d'oeuvres to your guests!
The Sourdough bread
The Plain Canola oil
The Rosemary Flavored oil

The Chilli Flavored oil

The Basil Flavored oil



                   Chef demonstrated three recipes - Green pea karanjis, chocolate samosas and kothimbir vadis in detail. The room was full of the aromas wafting around, making everyone terribly hungry! All the speakerss were so nice and friendly that it was a very happy and interactive session. The results for the recipe contest was announced too. The recipe that one the contest they had had, was by Pradnya Desai. She runs Go check her out! She sent in an amazing recipe for cupcakes using canola oil ! I was certainly impressed!  Lastly the event was closed with high tea, where they served loads of yummy delectable bite sized foods and plus the deep fried yummies that Chef Ajay Chopra had made. During the High tea, I had the opportunity to speak to Chef Ajay and discuss a few things I needed some professional advice on, and my, wasn't he an absolutely refreshing person to talk to! It was the icing on the cake. So patient, friendly and polite. No wonder he is counted in one of the top chefs of the country!




                    All in all, the event was an experience in itself, I returned home tired but happy; having made a few new friends (Neiyaati!! If you are reading this, Hi! :P ), and learnt numerous new things. In the beginning, I was skeptical, having never tried Canola, but now,  I'm certain that I will give canola oil a fair chance in my kitchen, I suggest that you give it a try too! And while leaving we were all gifted a little goodie bag with some lovely stuff.. Here's a picture :)

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         PS. A big shout out to Radhika Vyas and her team for pulling off such a wonderful event so smoothly. You were an absolute delight to speak to, and I'd like to thank you for giving me the chance to experience something so awesome!

            I am going to leave you guys with a few more amazing food bloggers whom I had the opportunity to interact with (and their blog addresses). They are truly brilliant at what they do and they inspire me to keep doing better :) . Please visit them and show them some love! 

Priyanka Sirohi runs -
Purabi Naha runs -

So until next time,


  1. Wow!!! This sounds like such an amazing experience!!!!! :) Congratsssss Karishma! :)

    1. Sam!!! Its just thanks to you that I had the opportunity!! I was so sad you couldn't make it!! :( Thanks a lot for thinking of me!