PGC's 6th Anniversary Lunch - Oct. 2012

Over the past years, Pune Gourmet Club members have got used to a higher than normal level of culinary experience and it is always a challenge to create menus to deliver the WOW factor.

This time round, Yeyati Nafrey, a man of many talents, was in town and by happenstance Ravish Ahuja of Kiara Wines expressed interest in providing his portfolio of Italian wines from the famous Emiglia-Romagna region for PGC's 6th anniversary meet. On Ravish's suggestion we met chefs Shambhu and Sanket of The Orchid Hotel to design the menu.

All chefs have a portfolio of dishes they'd love to present but cannot do so due to commercial considerations of their workplace. Shambhu and Sanket were given free reign to express their creativeness and when Meghna and Yeyati attended the tasting, they were impressed.

On Sunday October 7, 2012, 40 PGC members walked into The Orchid for the 6th anniversary lunch. Ravish Ahuja, along with Ms Diana, export manager of Braschi Winery from Italy were at hand to talk about their wines. There was a free flow of tastings and each table was well served with wines of their choice. Yeyati introduced the chefs who gave a detailed description of the dishes as they were served. The amuse-bouche, a complimentary hors d’œuvre,  offered a glimpse into the chef's approach to the art of cuisine. It was a pappardelle of vegetables with balsamic reduction topped with feta cheese and fennel.

Consomme, a clear soup made from richly flavoured stock, that has been clarified to remove fat and sediment is a starter not often found on menus. The process is time consuming and requires a high level of skill to get the right depth of flavour and smooth mouthfeel. The chefs of Orchid went the extra mile. They created not just a variety of consommes, they set them in shot glasses and served up a petit selection of jellied consommes much to the delight of the guests.
 The second course was a salad of beef/chicken carpaccio with, hold your breath, edible flowers. This item, served in a short whiskey glass, delivered the WOW factor. It was as if one was in the Masterchef Australia dining room! Edible flowers icluded orchids, tuberoses and red rose petals. Many asked if the flowers could actually be eaten. The chefs were all smiles and said yes! 

For the main, vegetarians were served a petit moussaka layered with aubergine and mushroom in a light pomegranate jus and Feta cheese.
Carnivores indulged in a chicken roulade with an Indian touch - delicately spiced chicken stuffed with a shahi khuska and served with a mushoom butter sauce and tomato cream.

Les Trois Jolies Desserts consisted of cashews flavoured with cane sugar wrapped in a phyllo veil, a betroot and balsamic vinegar sorbet and a semolina and coconut crepe. Demand for seconds had the chefs scrambling.

Overall it was a very satisfying experience. The chefs got a standing ovation for creating a fine dining experience.

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