Celebrations and festivities are an important component of Indian culture. And apart from the traditional wear, rituals and family gatherings, the most anticipated part of such events is the food. It finds itself at the heart of any event, especially in India; be it a birthday celebration, a silver jubilee anniversary or a wedding function. Most events even end up being remembered for the food!
With a spree of celebrity weddings in the past year, ever wonder whose job it is to tantalise the taste buds of India’s leading actors, directors and industrialists at these high-profile events? In line with the luxury decor and designer fashion, these weddings see some of the best gourmet caterers ply their trade.
Mumbai-based Foodlink Services has catered for some of the hottest weddings in the past few months — Isha Ambani-Anand Piramal, Akash Ambani-Shloka Mehta and the one that almost broke the internet — actors Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone’s wedding in Italy.
“All three weddings were quite special for us. They all came with different challenges, which we were quite happy to take on,” said Priya Gogte, director, Foodlink Services. Their services cost for per person starts at Rs.3,000 and can go up to a whopping Rs.100,000. Their clients also include the mighty Bachchan family, JSW Group and Adani Group, among others. Foodlink also catered for Rajashree Birla’s 70th birthday and GVK Reddy’s granddaughter’s wedding.
Foodlink sent a team of 30 chefs to Italy for the Deepika-Ranveer wedding. "Since they had two marriage ceremonies — Konkani and Sindhi, we designed two separate menus. The Konkani meal was served typically to the guests seated on the floor, on special banana leaves that were flown in from Kerala. The Italian staff wore traditional Konkani uniforms and was also trained to pronounce the name of the dishes. Designer Sabyasachi couldn’t get enough of the food! The Sindhi lunch too left people wanting more,” said Gogte.
While finesse and style are given their due importance, the taste of the food is what is equally stressed upon. “To keep the food authentic, we bring in local chefs and indigenous ingredients. If someone wants chaat from Kanpur, we hire chefs directly from there. If someone wants crisp aloo tikki of Delhi, we bring in potatoes from there. The taste remains the priority,” added Gogte.
Custom-made cutlery and a tie-up with foreign pastry chefs were on the wish list for the Ambani weddings. “The family wanted a special design by Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla for the cutlery. We also roped in Ladurée Paris (French luxury bakery and sweets maker). There were special dessert carts, and we had foreign chefs supported by our local team, churning out more than 10,000 desserts,” said Gogte.
Delhi-based Indian Accent at Home is the luxury catering service arm of Indian Accent, an award-winning inventive restaurant, headed by celebrity chef Manish Mehrotra. They charge anywhere between Rs.4,500 to Rs.40,000 or higher for per person, depending on guest requirements and menu preferences.
“We have done events all over the world, including Switzerland, Turkey, London and San Francisco. We can replicate Indian Accent’s fine dining experience in an outdoor setup along with food demonstrations and culinary walks,” said Mehrotra.
They were given the charge for actress Sonam Kapoor and businessman Anand Ahuja’s wedding. They follow a confidentiality policy and hence, can’t share names of most of their guests. However, they have catered to some of the top business leaders, Bollywood celebrities and prime ministers and presidents of various countries. “We focus on the needs of the clients and maintaining our fine dining experience,” concluded chef Mehrotra.
Even though tastes vary from palate to palate, these caterers have maintained their standards and continuously satiated the appetite of India’s elite, the ones who are willing to spend the extra buck or a million.