Wednesday, 2 April 2014

The Good Food Show, Mumbai - 2014

If you have been keeping track of whats happening in the Mumbai foodie circuit, you must know that the first ever edition of BBC's Good Food Show was held in Mumbai, India.
Honestly, I was disappointed, to say the least. Disorganization and chaos ruled. I was shocked to see that an organisation of such reputation could do such a shoddy job. My friends and I had booked VIP passes (thats INR 1500+ convenience fee a pop) and what we received was nothing near VIP treatment. Either there was miscommunication between the ticketing agent and the show organizers, or the organizers failed miserably at fulfilling their promise, we were left tired, heartbroken and terribly upset. Firstly, there was no proper seating arrangement on both the days (the event was on the 29th and the 30th of March - 2014) . I was standing for a good 3 to 4 hours both the days; even after I was at the venue an hour earlier than the scheduled time - and mind you, I live bloody far away.
No distinction between VIP seating or the normal seating. Substandard, mediocre food was being served in the VIP lounges. They did not let the VIP guests interact or interview the Chefs like they had promised. The gift hampers (read- random stuff from sponsors being shoved into a bag. The second day hampers were literally nothing but a pile of different crisps.) Some people had stuff missing from their hampers that others had in theirs. The air conditioning in the VIP lounges was not even functional. The crowd was left fuming. More than half of them demanded refunds. I did not get to see the master classes that I wanted to. It was a sheer waste of time, energy and money.
With not a single person answerable, the poor volunteers had to bear the brunt of the angry masses. I sincerely hope that they up their game for next year, or I doubt anyone will even bother to take a look at what they will have to offer.
Another thing that annoyed the crap out of me was that people who had come there simply to while their time away. They ruined the entire experience for others by either being too loud (conversation + phone), passing smart comments about what the chef was saying/ doing ( a line of annoying aunties behind me actually said "why is she wasting time in telling us this, doesn't she have some common sense?) - when a chef was demonstrating how to pipe and decorate choux pastry. All this from women who dint know how to pronounce "choux".
Honestly, such events should be open only for people who are genuinely interested in what is happening and want to learn, not for people who just want to sit, heckle and take up seats. :|
Another thing that I found rather amusing. Whenever a Chef would finish demonstrating a recipe, she/ he would prep a few plates and send it out to the crowd so that everyone may taste. In such cases, it doesn't help to have too many people (as it was in our case), also it was even worse because people were acting like they had not seen food for weeks, nay, months. I literally saw aunties running to the chef's table to gobble down what was made; only to turn around and make a face because they dint like it. Come one people! use your heads. When the chef says that there is miso in the food, do you honestly think, shoving it down your throat is going to be brilliant? Exquisite food is meant to be savored and relished. Not devoured at the speed of light. I actually saw aunties sneaking in food tasters (in multiples) into tissue papers and into their bags :O .

I know, this may sound like a complete disaster, and I assure you it was. But being around people from the same industry, who are so passionate and so brilliant at what they do, inspires you to another level and makes you happier. This is when you can't help but try and look for the silver lining in the grey clouds. I was happy that even though my legs were crying at the end of two days, I was able to have at least a sneak peak at the people who inspire me to better myself each and every time. I had the opportunity to go around the product stalls, see and learn about all the new things that are coming into the Indian market. And if I can ignore the fact that the Good Food Show, just fell short of being a money making racket, then I am grateful for being able to afford to go to an event like this, even though now I am broke after paying for the tickets, my traveling, food etc. But I did make a few good friends (hello! you know who you guys are! :D )

Sigh. I know this has been a big, humongous rant. I hope you dont feel that I am nitpicking or being extra critical and judgmental. But you know what, I don't care, because all of the above is exactly what went through my head in those two days. Nevertheless, I shall always think of it as a learning experience and hope for better stuff the next time, yet be prepared for the worst.

On a parting note, I shall leave you with a few pictures of the masterclasses I was able to take with my camera (all hail the power of the zoom lens! :D ). Enjoy. Do comment and tell me if you were at the show too, or if you have been to a similar show (better or worse :P ) !

Chef Gresham Fernandes (Impresario) 

CHef Vikas Seth (Sanchos) 

Chef Himanshu Saini (Masala Library)

Chef Manu Chandra (Olive, Bangalore) 

Until next time,

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