What’s The Future Of The Global Culinary Scene? Celebrity Chef Ritu Dalmia Weighs In
The famed restaurateur also lets us in on her new venture—DIVA Casa Pantry
With an insatiable appetite for never-ending gastronomic experiments and her fine collection of wines warming each soul, Chef Ritu Dalmia is a name to reckon with the in the hospitality biz. Her love affair with Italian cuisine began on her frequent trips to Italy which she undertook in order to support her family’s marble business. And from there, there was no stopping. Without any formal training, Chef Ritu Dalmia has become the award-winning chef who we know of today. From her first restaurant Mezzaluna in Delhi at the age of 21 to a more refined, brainchild of hers (DIVA)—her passion for food still continues to reign supreme. Today, the chef has published her own cookbooks and has also received the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity by Government of Italy. It’s only right to state that the LGBTQIA activist has earned her own name.
Ahead, she talks to ELLE about her favourite Italian dish and cravings, food trends for the year ahead, her new DIY kits venture and much more.
ELLE: Where do you see the global culinary scene heading in the future?
CHEF RITU DALMIA: I feel this pandemic has taught us a lot. I think people will now appreciate and be choosier about where they eat. It will be again based on very good quality ingredients, easy dining and not food that intimidates them. Also, I think that more focus will be on locally sourced ingredients than on importing fancy things.
ELLE: Which food trends are headed to be a rage in 2021?
CRD: I think home cooks will take up regional home-style cooking. There will also be a rise in the number of zero-waste restaurants.
ELLE: What is your quick fix when you crave an Italian dish at home?
CRD: It has to be spaghetti with tomato basil and a splash of olive oil!
ELLE: Tell us about your new venture, DIVA Casa Pantry.
CRD: DIVA Casa Pantry is for someone who likes to cook, but doesn’t have the time to partake in the difficult steps involved in it. For instance, making fresh pasta at home is a nightmare. But when we make it for you—all you need to do is make a sauce, boil the pasta and just toss it. Best part? If you are too lazy or don’t have the time for that, then you can even take the sauce from us! Same goes for salad dressings. Our rubs and seasonings are certain to give any of your meats, fish and veggies that extra ‘oomph’ factor.
I am a chef, but I have to admit: I too don’t have time to cook a meal from scratch at home, and always prefer if I have these little things handy!
ELLE: What sets DIVA apart from other Italian bistros in India?
CRD: I am a purist. I have never tried to Italianise my Indian food in Italy. Nor have I ever tried to Indianise my Italian food in Delhi.
ELLE: What has drawn you towards Italian cuisine in particular? If you had to pick one favourite Italian dish, what would it be?
CRD: I was born in a vegetarian household and was lucky enough to travel to Europe from a young age. It was only in Italy where we had abundant choices for vegetarian, and not just the mundane boiled vegetables. So, my love affair with Italian food started at a very young age.
I remember that I had gone for a school trip to the Vatican City where all the other girls were fed up of Italian every night. Every time we were taken to an Indian or Asian restaurant, I would come back and ask the receptionist if they had any Spaghetti Pomodoro for me. I was 10-years-old back then!