oats, healthy eating and celebrity chefs... meeting Vikas Khanna and getting bowled over...

Meeting a few accomplished Chefs and knowing about them has been a humbling experience for me. More so because all of them talk about simplicity in food being the best and all of them talk about food memories of childhood.

Chef Arvind Saraswat spoke about preserving the traditional recipes when I chatted with him once, adding how he like more the simplest of foods. Masterchef  George Colambaris talked about growing one's own food, real food and simple pleasure of home cooked meals. David Rocco talked about how the seasonal produce has the best to offer in terms of flavors and nutrient availability. How his mother used to cook simple meals and that he is training people about sustainable food. 

It sort of confirms my belief in the psychology that connects food to our inner core. The childhood food memories always stay special and always mould our food preference, cooking and eating patterns. Just like all other behavioral patterns. We definitely learn a lot and keep adding up on our knowledge and palette, the basics start much before.

I met the Michelin star Chef Vikas Khanna last week at an even by Saffola oats held at Blue Frog. I was  completely bowled over by what I saw, and heard. He is a born star, an entertainer to the core, probably he picked up early in life as well. He just kept telling stories of how his bauji used to be strict and how his mother and grandmother would cook the tinde (apple gourd) with chane ki daal (split chickpeas). How ghee was used liberally for cooking and how he is called as someone not so successful in his hometown as he doesn't have a potbelly. Back in Amritsar (pronounced ambarsar in the dialect he speaks) all successful rich people have the trademark potbelly.

I had read quite a lot about Vikas Khanna and had admired him for what he is, the admiration grew by leaps and bounds that day. Someone so rooted, so proud of his mother tongue and the accent that goes back to the pind (village). He is super energetic, charming and extremely talented. You see I just can't stop blabbering...the after effects of Vikas Khanna.

He had actually come for an event for bloggers organised by Foodathon for Saffola masla oats which is  a savory quick cooking oats mix. Michelin star Chef Vikas Khanna was there to emphasize how healthy can be tasty too. We at Healthfood desivideshi are quite well aware right?

The invite for this event was really interesting. A small yellow box that opened with a printed invite on the top lid and an assortment of 'healthy' fresh vegetables inside. 'The other side' was the tagline indicating healthy can be tasty too. It was a window to the actual event, a curtain raiser to what was coming next.

The event was organised really well. We were engrossed in the ongoing action all the time and some of us tried our hands at cooking on the live stations that were set up.

The Chef cooked a nice stuffed tinda (apple gourd) with a paneer scramble and we all tasted it. I have had stuffed tinda before but never was the tinda so perfectly textured. Just rightly cooked. The small tricks to make the ugliest and most boring vegetables tasty lies in an honest intent to create good food.

Many bloggers participated in a contest for creating tasty dishes using the boring vegetables and the saffola masala oats mixes. Ruchira created a pizza with masala oats mix and Parul created arancini balls using the same. Rekha also created a dish.The results were appreciated well, Ruchira even won the contest and got herself some goodies.

I personally had never tried saffola masala oats or any other brand of flavored oats mix. We were presented a huge hamper of different varieties of flavors along with a book by Vikas Khanna called Khanna sutra. The book has some amazing recipes that would keep coming on this space hopefully. 

But the masala oats was disappointing for me. The flavors are alright but there is a synthetic feel to the flavors as it smells suspiciously like the ever so popular junk food maggi. Keep guessing what would be the common factor between the two instant packaged foods. I wont buy these packets for my convenience ever. Plain oats are as much quick to cook and a few instant curry mixes that we can make on weekends and refrigerate would work better for me. Moreover, the oats when cooked as per instructions, is as slimy and gloppy as any other oats and if you want to cook something different like the arancini balls or pizza, you have to spend some time on it. There goes the convenience of saving time and you might work better with a plain unflavored oats and some add ons.

You know well how I critically examine all packaged food if you follow me on my facebook page or read this blog regularly. My nose and palate is super sensitive to any synthetic flavors. 

That apart, I loved being at this event. A good change for someone who is stuck to her work desk for hours. Meeting some blogger friends, chatting over some good food and being introduced to some new products is something we look forward to. New products are almost always an indication of how the food market is changing and moulding the dietary habits of busy people. For good or for bad.

PS : Image of Michelin star Chef Vikas Khanna belongs to Vj Sharma of phototravelings.


  1. Oh, great - i don't have to try them then!

    In any case, there are tastier traditional quick-fix foods than oats. Oats are getting a lot of good press but there are plenty of our own super grains that we already know how to cook!

    Do you know if oats are grown locally, or are they imported?

    1. To my knowledge most of the oats is imported Anita. And yes, I would prefer poha and malted ragi flour for my breakfast cereal more than a gloppy bowl of oats if I eat cereal at all. Although I use oats for adding texture to many things, to benefit from it's good fiber too, but oats going 2 minute packet way is not my idea of eating healthy.


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