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Poet and Chef – Abhishek Gupta

By Neelima Agrawal

Creativity is sans borders, encompassing unusual realms. For instance take the plating at a restaurant, where Chefs have taken the culinary craft beyond the masala box and secret recipes. Each plate is a work of art, an installation where the medium is of the edible variety.
abhishek-gupta-poet
Juggling the emotions of an artist and the panache of a magician who caters to the primary most evocative sensory experience – food, is Chef Abhishek Gupta, who is also a poet. So deep is his involvement with his dishes, that he describes them in short verses on the menu.

Many a poets have gone lyrical over their dinner or kitchen garden. Virgil, the ancient Roman poet (70 BC – 19 BC), penned an ode to his‘Salads’. But Chef Abhishek’s work is reminiscent of Haiku, such as the one by Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)

‘Coolness of the melons
flecked with mud
in the morning dew’

I will not take up this space to describe the flavors of his dishes, the crunchiness of the greens or the succulent lamb. But simply reproduce here the menu he composed in verse, for each of the entrée in the signature course he prepared.

Here is the Haiku by Chef Abhishek Gupta. We couldn’t get pictures for each poem, but should you be at the Epic, ask him.

finger-millet


One day I found two seed,
 I planted one & pulled the weed
It sprouted roots and a big long wine,
a seed grew & I called it mine

Dish – Finger Millet Tart
(Edamame& green peas cooked in their own juice, sour bread sauce, pickled roses and seaweed dust)
***

 

Between the flora & fauna,
everything can be seen, the black, the yellow and the orange. They were young and so were only stewed

Dish – Stewed Seasonal Carrots, Honey & Black Carrot Syrup, Fermented Capers,
Soy Milk Yoghurt, Methi Parantha

***

sheken

While the flavors are shaken
and not stirred,
the meat is rested
before it is tested

Dish – Chicken Supreme Galouti Mouse, Ulta Tawa Parantha, Crispy Borage Leaves, Celery Salt

***

quali-egg

When I woke up
in the cool breeze,
my garden was left
alone to freeze

Dish – 25 Types of Pickled Vegetables, Smoked Quail Egg, Podi Idli, Elaichi Dust. An interpretation from Bed & Breakfast emotion.

***

white-water-fish

I tried to swim
but fell in mud,
the leaves around,
held me with my gut

Dish – White Water Fish Cheviche, Mushroom, Mirin Shallots & Miso Broth

***

wind-chill
The wind is chill
& my oven is hot,
 I wait for the yeast
to ferment my flour

Dish – Fermented Mandua Aata Bread, Coriander & Thyme Paste, Sandal Wood Smoked Butter
At the start of the curated dinner, the center piece placed before each diner was a ball of leavened dough, which sat there fermenting as we made our way through the drinks and starters. This was later baked and brought back as accompaniment to the main course.

***

While the shepherd
bought his treasure,
the grains so strong
 I tried to measure,
nothing happened but am sure
is a morning mystery

Dish – Tandoori Lamb, Parsley Emulsion, Walnut & Red Wine Sauce, Mushroom & Barley Khichadi

***

fruit-surprise

Season of berries
gave us a boost,
we create an illusion
that may be deceptive

Dish – Cape Gooseberries & Passion Fruit Surprise
***

candy-floss


Winter is leaving

with its sweet surprises,
leaving the sheep,
grazing around

Dish – Chocolate, Mint Sorbet, Candy Floss, Lacto Fermented Blue Berries

***

 

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