Best of Weekender: From a candid chat with chef Vicky Ratnani to a toast to World Whisky Day

This week, read chef Vicky Ratnani’s tips on simplifying home cooking, find out about cricketer S Badrinath’s new venture and the new coffee culture.

As one of India’s most revered celebrity chefs, Vicky Ratnani has been a part of multiple cooking shows on Indian Television such as Vicky Goes Veg on NDTV, Vickypedia on LivingFoodz and more.

Vicky Ratnani

He is best known for curating Indian foods with an experimental edge. He loves to explore the local markets to check out the produce of any region he’s travelling to and enjoys creating produce-centric menus.

After his graduation, Vicky set sail to pursue his career by gaining an appointment on a ship. After six world cruises that took him through many countries, Vicky went on to live and learn in Genoa, Italy. He was personal chef to Nelson Mandela, on his journey from Durban to Cape Town.

After moving back to Mumbai, Vicky took over and launched restaurants and was also voted Chef of the Year at the Indian Restaurant Awards.

Don’t miss our interview with the celebrity chef as he speaks about the secrets of good cooking, how to simplify meals, and the top food trends of the season.

Former cricketer and IPL star, S Badrinath launches MFORE

Many sportspeople and athletes worldwide are slowly coming forward to address challenges and struggles — both on the field and off it.

Former South Indian cricketing champion Subramaniam Badrinath has started non-profit initiative MFORE to help cricketers, coaches, and parents venture into mind conditioning to reach peak performance in sports.

Along with co-founder Saravana Kumar, Badrinath — a right-hand batsman, who has previously played for the likes of Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore — is using his experience to build simple and sustainable training programmes for Indian cricket players.

Their tailor-made programmes will help individuals overcome anxiety, performance pressure, self-doubt, and fear and achieve peak performance consistently, with the help of mind conditioning.

Read all about the new venture in our interview with the famous cricketer.

The coffee culture of the country has changed after the lockdown

For some, it is café au lait, replete with creamy milk and warm foam that makes their mornings sparkle with happy vibes. For others, it is a deep, dark Americano, a frothy Cappuccino or a milky South Indian filter coffee that does the trick. Whatever the chosen cuppa of brew, it is coffee that brightens the day, helps form bonds among co-workers and sets the right note for the week at an office.

Now that the COVID-19 lockdown has brought an end to all regular office days, many office-goers miss those coffee breaks with their colleagues where they forgot about work for a few minutes before they got back on the bandwagon.

A coffee survey carried out by coffee brand, Lavazza shows that the brew is more than a beverage for most people as they see it as a productivity enabler in the office.

Don’t miss reading our interview with Jai Ganesh Ramnath, Managing Director, Lavazza India, the company that conducted the coffee survey, as he talks about the findings of the survey and the new coffee culture in the country.   

Ratish Nanda

In a city as populated as Delhi, there is a certain charm in rediscovering open spaces as they are a sensorial treat.

One of the newest hotspots in Delhi, the Sunder Nursery, a 16th-century heritage park, spread over 90 acres and dotted with water bodies, splendid monuments, and greenery, promises to be an oasis in the city. It is a popular place for people from all walks of life and has already found a place in Time Magazine’s widely recommended, ‘The World's 100 Greatest Places to Visit list.’

The man instrumental in reviving Sunder Nursery and monuments, such as the Humayun Tomb, is Ratish Nanda, who is the CEO Aga Khan Trust for Culture.

Check out our conversation with Ratish as he speaks about his passion for heritage buildings and his ongoing work in the field of restoration of heritage properties.

Staying positive is the need of the hour

Mental Health Awareness Month is observed in the month of May and this year, the occasion holds immense relevance as a number of people are suffering from mental health disorders, alcohol addiction, loneliness, and despair during the lockdown.

Not being able to go to the gym to reduce stress, or see one's family members and friends can make an already lonely time, feel even more isolating. As people constantly read about the number of new cases in the newspaper, or follow media and TV channels that are talking about the coronavirus repeatedly, they can feel overwhelmed and depressed.

Check out all our recommendations on what you can do to effectively keep your mental health in check and look after yourself or a loved one during the lockdown.

Decorate your balcony to bring the outdoors into your home

Up until the pandemic, a normal work-life routine in most of our lives ran like clockwork: it was a predictable pattern of exercise, work and outdoor activities, including time with family and for ourselves.

Ever since COVID-19 pushed us within our homes, we humans have been adapting to a new lifestyle that is focussed around our homes. Our homes are no longer places of rest and relaxation after a long day at work. They are now our offices, entertainment centres, and much more.

Read all about how to get ready for all the lifestyle changes in your house in the future.

Whisky ginger honey cocktail

Scotch whisky is one of the most celebrated spirits across the world today and one can find several occasions to enjoy a peg of their favourite whisky. But the one day, that whisky is officially celebrated is ‘World Whisky Day.

World Whisky Day is the celebration of all things whisky, however you like to enjoy it - on the rocks, with a mixer, or as a cocktail. This day is all about making whisky enjoyable for all and raising a toast to this spirit.

So, this World Whisky Day during the lockdown, be your own bartender and enjoy your favourite whisky, just the way you like it. Check out the recipes of fine whisky cocktails suggested by the brand ambassadors of Diageo and raise a toast to a special day.

Sanjay Kumar

Are your favourite authors Amitav Ghosh, Rohinton Mistry, Iris Murdoch and Saul Bellow? Is your fictional hero Perry Mason? Is your greatest extravagance a prized golf set?

If so, meet Sanjay Kumar, CEO of Elior India, a subsidiary of France based Elior Group, a premium contract culinary services company and a global player in the food services industry.

With an MBA in Marketing from IRMA, Sanjay started as a management trainee at Marico Industries Ltd before joining many other major companies during his illustrious career. His core expertise is in setting up new businesses and pushing multinational corporation market entries or expansions in India.

As for his motto, ‘It is easier to succeed if you have failed’ is the best way to forget about past mistakes and failures and aim for higher goals and bigger dreams.

Don’t miss his responses to our Proust questionnaire where he talks about his greatest loves, regrets, heroes and more.

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta


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