20.3.12

The Naked Chef

No, I am not just going to launch into a diatribe on Jamie Oliver -- remember he is often referred to as The Naked Chef. I am assuming not because he cooks in the nude, but more probably because of his book that went by that very title.

My naked chef was a petite lady in an all-white ensemble and a white turban who presented her guests with the most fantastic naked food lunch on her 60-something birthday.

So have you ever been to a raw food party? If the answer is a resounding no -- given that you are probably thinking I am loony to even suggest it -- you should simply procure an invitation to one. Seriously.

On a particular afternoon, while feeling horribly bloated, I had to still make my way to a studio in Jangpura for Ms S's lunch. Lest you are a bit curious, she is a raw food specialist along with a host of other things. Read: acupuncturist, hypnotherapist and yoga instructor.

You can imagine my state of mind. It was ruled by three things at that point of time – bloating; the fact that I was working and had to be on my toes noting down everything; and last but not the least, the prospect of digging into raw food.

With great reservation, I climbed the steps of a two-storey house to find a round table of lunching ladies – a gathering of a bunch of socialites and expats. At the head of the table was the hostess.

It all started with a prayer and an exhortation from Ms S to start chewing in slow motion.

The first bite had me hooked. It was a dehydrated onion cracker that kind of inaugurated the session for me and I cannot tell you how I craved for more. But all I did was tell myself to behave and continue munching demurely.

The affair with raw food started with a plate of appetizers of those delectable onion crackers, a dense non-flour bread, non-dairy cheese, fig tapenade and sundried tomatoes.

Next in line were small crunchy sticks of vegetables wrapped in collard greens, mushrooms stuffed with raw falafel and a zuchini apple salad. Then came a course of ravioli, made not of flour but ingredients like spinach, flax seeds and non-dairy milk (churned out of almonds).

Yes the courses were many.

The denouement but lay appropriately enough towards the end when Ms S started rolling out the desserts bit by bit.

Mint cookies that were inspired by American style- Girl Scout-esque cookies (reminiscent of Ms S’s childhood growing up in America), a parfait of vanilla cream, strawberries and chocolate, macaroons, some spicy ginger sweets, chocolate hearts, chocolate brownies, and whew, a non-dairy ice cream too made with coconut and non-dairy cream.

It was washed down with soothing lemongrass and ginger tea at the conclusion of the afternoon.

Sounds like a food-filled noon right? Yet I felt not the slightest hint of sluggishness and returned a raw food enthusiast.

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