Ivor Peters likes to share great grub with great mates – and, accordingly, in his incarnation as the Urban Rajah, he’s created the gastronomic Great Indian Food Feast series. A feast of such proportions is far too much for a single fellow, so Ivor’s recruited his longtime partner-in-crime, Indunil Sanchi, to help deliver a bounteous banquet to unsuspecting guests who think they’re just in for a tasty tea.
But the Urban Rajah‘s aim isn’t merely to feed the belly – it’s to sate the appetite for stories, adventure and multi-sensory discovery. He reckons that the travelling Great Indian Food Feasts will be an experience to really get one’s teeth into… and hands, too, when it comes to the interactive dessert demo. I am partial to the odd culinary adventure, and just as partial to partying with Ivor. But I thought it’d be a good wheeze to play hard to get.
Urban Rajah, you’re going to have to twist my arm to get me to let you fill my tummy…
Let’s be perfectly candid – there are currently more pop-ups in London than there are unsightly zits on an especially acne-ridden teenage boy’s face. What makes the Great Indian Food Feast the one to watch?
The Great Indian Food Feast, is more than merely imbibing 5 courses of sublime food from across the Indian sub-continent; it’s an immersive evening involving storytelling, discovery, hands-on interactive food demos and booze pairing! Think of the feast as the ultimate dinner party that you’ll wish you’d have hosted yourself.
Much of the Great Indian Food Feast’s – and, indeed, the Urban Rajah’s – schtick is based around telling stories through food. Being a sweet tooth, I’m rather partial to a bit of ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ myself. What are your own fave foodie reads?
I’m still enjoying Ottolenghi’s ‘Jerusalem’, but for everyday food, I’m using my mates, Tom & Henry Herbert’s, last book – ‘Fabulous Baker Brothers’ Glorious British Grub’.
For the Great Indian Food Feast series, you’ve partnered with The Noel Arms’ chef, Indunil Sanchi. Seeing as he’s been thrice rated the UK’s Pub Curry Chef of the Year, I’m a bit concerned you both vying for kitchen supremacy might result in a messy food fight. Will you need me to play referee?
Ahh… a bit of healthy competition never hurt anyone! But I think you’ll find our kitchen is a pretty chilled place to be. Indi and I are ying and yang when it comes to our culinary craft.
Since the Great Indian Food Feast is being held at the swanky Bermondsey Square Hotel, I think particularly glad rags are required. Seeing as the Urban Rajah is such a sartorial style guru, what would you recommend? I don’t much fancy donning a fake ‘tache…
Hah! If anyone comes wearing a fake tache, I’ll give them a free wine or beer flight! Whilst we might be treating our guests to the finest elegant Indian food, we’re no fashion snobs. But style never goes out of fashion. Just remember to account for belly expansion!
The 5-course Great Indian Food Feast roves across the entire subcontinent – you’ve given me jetlag just reading the menu! I rather fancy the pre-starter dhokla; which I know will surely amuse this bouche; and the Lucknowi Siege lamb, if only for its intriguing moniker. What else will I be very merrily munching?
We’ll be dishing up a streetfood platter teetering with treats such as Chappli Kebabs from the Punjab, Red Lentil & Chicken Patties from Andra Pradesh, Garam Masala Whitebait from the Malabar Coast and…. Wait, I’m not giving the whole game away! An international spice man has to reserve some mystery.
The night is styled as a multi-sensory journey for culinary adventurers. What does this mean for those of us new to gallivanting Great Indian Food Feast-style? Should I start breaking in my walking boots? Bring headphones? Binoculars? A sat-nav?! I’m wondering whether I need Indiana Jones on my arm…
We’ll be touching all the senses – you’ll hear amusing and touching stories of some of the recipes’ origins, including family stories of migration. You’ll smell and taste food which will arrest your foodie attentions, and you’ll handle (after washing your hands!) the ingredients to re-create a lip-licking pudding. It’s a big old foodie adventure.
Your very own Indi – chef Indunil – is trying out a tableside dessert demo. I do hope this will be rather less cringey than the cheesy Crepes Suzette/flambee fiascos of yore… what fancy-pants tricks has he got up his sweet sleeve?
The only cheese in our routine would be roasted paneer, thank you! For pudding, Indi will be demonstrating how to create honey coconut pancakes. but I’m no telltale… You’ll need to come ready for action, and also armed with an appetite.
Awwight, you’ve convinced me. In fact, you pretty much had me at ‘Great Indian Food Feast’. But it was far more fun to haul you over the coals like a chunk of chicken tikka. I’m sure the Great Indian Food Feast will look good, and taste good, but will it ‘gor, blimey, do good’ too?
Yep, Team Rajah is all about transformation, and we’ll be supporting two charities who help liberate people trapped in the human trafficking chain in India, as well as providing healthcare and education for families living in Chennai’s slums. That’s what good food is all about.
Urban Rajah, my old buddy, my old pal, it’s been a pleasure (not all mine, I know you’ve thoroughly enjoyed my company, too). You really are a legend. See you at the table!
- The London edition of the Great Indian Food Feast takes place on Thursday 3rd October at the Bermondsey Square Hotel.
- Tickets are priced from £45. For further information on the entire Great Indian Food Feast series, and to book, visit http://www.thebite.co/INDIAN-FOOD-FEAST
- Follow @urbanrajah and @indianfoodfeast on Twitter.
- ‘Friend’ Urban Rajah on Facebook.
- Follow Urban Rajah’s ‘Great Indian Food Feast – London edition‘ board on Pinterest.