“… food is not simply organic fuel to keep body and soul together, it is a perishable art that must be savoured at the peak of perfection.”
NRI – Not Really Indian, in Mumbai’s posh Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), is owned by three-time Michelin Star awardee Chef Atul Kocchar. He is hosting a MasterChef pop-up at NRI till Thursday, March 16, which is all about celebrating the world of food transcending all boundaries. The story began at MasterChef India Season 5, where he was the guest judge on the final episode. At the episode final, he recognised the talent of season winner Kirti Bhoutika, and runner-up Ashima Arora. It is then that he decided to take them under his soaring wings.
The result? This.
Chef Kocchar runs noted restaurants NRI and Lima in Mumbai, apart from the award-winning Benares in London, which now enjoys iconic reverence. True to the spirit of his culinary experience, he remains as humble as ever. “I’ve had mentors throughout my life, even today. The younger generation is always brimming with new ideas and I have to accept that I’d have to hand over the baton sooner or later, so I’ll call this pop-up the process and also a mutual learning experience,” states Chef Kocchar, when asked about this unique concept.
The popup at NRI necessitates the need for diversity and vibrancy in Mumbai’s culinary landscape. Infusing the world culture, as we saw, is also a crucial element here in establishing the food here as some sort of haute couture.
“We’ve never had a professional kitchen experience and when Chef Kocchar offered us this opportunity we were elated and jumped right at it,” states chef Ashima Arora.
Once you step in here, you’ll never have to wonder why. This is the first professional experience for both Kirti and Ashima after the culmination of MasterChef India, Season 5. NRI, meanwhile, believes in breaking the boundaries and creating food with global appeal, alongside indulging in researching Indian food history. This combination is what leads to celebrating food in a unique way.
Chef Kocchar is also planing a Benares pop-up in Mumbai soon, to bring to India the taste that brought him global fame. We are certainly looking forward to it.
Here’s what is on offer at the MasterChef pop-up,