Best of Weekender: A tête-à-tête with Chef Niyati Rao, a glimpse of Mommy Network, and the delights of Chettinad

This week, don’t miss reading all about the beauty of Pichvai art, why bamboo furniture is a must in your home this year and the secrets of Chettinad food.

If you are a fan of Japanese food, a bowl of kani tacos, some white fish carpaccio, rock shrimp tempura, or a Teppanyaki seabass would definitely tempt you.

But don’t stop at only the top dishes in any menu, says young Chef Niyati Rao, who was one of the first female chefs appointed by a famous Japanese restaurant in Mumbai. “Always ask for the seasonal dishes of the restaurant to get the best flavours of the year.”

Chef Niyati Rao

Niyati says that once she entered the kitchen and loved it, she has never looked back. Today, she is best known for using French techniques in Asian flavours and is one of the few chefs shortlisted for a Himalayan Japan contest, as well as a trip to Copenhagen for a special assignment.

Read all about her culinary journey and how she believes that while food is ‘sacred’, learning to cook food beautifully, is like an act of pure worship.

When you become a new mom, you will face some unique challenges and come up against some mind-boggling problems. From 3 am feeds to sleep deprived days to worrying about whether your baby is receiving adequate nutrition and the right child-care, there are plenty of woes to keep you awake, even when you finally find time to sleep.

The founders of the Mommy Network

Why struggle with these problems, say a bunch of savvy and lovely entrepreneurs, Tejal Bajla, Shreya Lamba and Kiran Amlani, who call themselves The Mommy Network. Started as a closed group on Facebook, the community of educated and progressive mommies share advice and tips on raising children, feeding, baby gear, schools and different education systems.

Today, the platform has organically grown into a thriving Facebook group of almost 10,000 mothers across Mumbai and a Facebook page with over 25,000 followers. Don’t miss reading about how this exciting network works and how it helps mothers across the country.

A bowl of Mutton Fry

If you take the road less travelled from Tirunelveli to Chettinad via Madurai, you can enjoy a richly rewarding culinary experience as even in a tiny rural hamlet, one can always find a Muniyandi Vilas, serving an assortment of specials from ‘mutte barota’ (egg paratha) to ‘vartha kari’ (fried meat),” says our food columnist Ajit Saldanha.

Chettinad food is the traditional cuisine of the Nattukottai Chettiar community, who were the pioneers of the plantation industry in the Far East.

They use a variety of spices, sun-dried meats and salted vegetables, reflecting the dry environment of the region. Want to know more about this delicious cuisine? Don’t miss reading all about their culinary wizardry in our food column this week.

Art with a heart

Do you love traditional art? Please adorn the walls of your house with them as they can actually make your home look very modern, says Pooja Singhal, revivalist, Pichvai art. The Pichvai tradition was developed in a small temple town of Nathdwara, near Udaipur in Rajasthan, and is an ancient painting tradition of India.

This intricate, exquisitely detailed and colourful artwork, had its origin within a religious context, but has gone on to become a big collectable for art connoisseurs.

If you want to know more, check out this article and don’t miss her Pichvai exhibition in GallerySKE this weekend in Bengaluru.

Bamboo is beautiful but did you know that it has higher compressive strength than wood, is lighter than steel and releases 35 percent more oxygen than other plants, thus improving the quality of air.

Bamboo furniture is sustainable and gorgeous

If you are planning to make your home more sustainable this year, why not begin by investing in bamboo?

Read all about our entrepreneur from the North-East, S.M.S Bordoloi, who is the founder and CEO of Boocane.

His startup, headquartered at Guwahati, marries decor with sustainability. Here’s the story of entrepreneurship that could enrich your life and save the planet too.

Savita Kuttan

Are your favourite writers, Sudha Murthy, Eve Ensler and Sylvia Plath? Do you agree with American poet Emily Dickinson, when she says, “The mere sense of living is joy enough”? If so, you will find a kindred spirit in Savitha Kuttan, CEO, Omnicuris, who spent over a decade working as a healthcare consultant in USA and Europe, and returned to India to launch her own enterprise.

Read all about her collection of antique sarees, her heroes of fiction, her regrets, loves and so much more.

As for her motto, “Seek happiness in whatever you do. Don’t think of the risks,” is the best route to swift success in business and in life.

(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)


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