Chefs talk about the aesthetic and health aspects of this colourful trend
It’s Pride Month, and to celebrate the spirit of LGBTQI+ many interesting activities have been lined up. The rainbow flag that represents the community is usually reflected in creative ways in food, fashion, and pop culture. This season, a rainbow-inspired diet is gaining steam. Different chefs and food experts explain the mass appeal of this trend and why they are choosing to slay it with rainbow platters.
A rainbow diet includes foods of many colours — represented by different kinds of fruit, vegetables and meats, explains Chef Durgesh Tyagi of Papaya. Fruits and vegetables of varied hues are not only good for health but have specific antioxidants that prevent diseases. Speaking of the conscious use of colours in the menu, he says, “We serve rainbow sushi maki rolls, both veg, and non-veg. The veg variety contains avocado, asparagus, beetroot, cucumber, carrots and bell pepper, while the non-veg rolls are made using prawns, salmon, tuna and avocado. The delightful combination of colours and flavours make them very popular. And we often use beetroot, wasabi, red, green, and yellow bell peppers in the plating to add more colour to the platter.”
Dhruv Oberoi, Executive Chef at Olive Delhi, is focussed on rainbow shades this summer. He has created a special dish inspired by this theme, and calls it the Rainbow Roll. It’s made of a Kerala vanilla bean-infused Genoa sponge rolled up with phalsa (a fruit found predominantly in Varanasi) diplomat cream. “To celebrate the spirit of Pride Month, we will be serving “Pride in the Cloud” to our guests. And for the upcoming fall menu, we have used some colourful ingredients like honeydew and cantaloupe. We have a Yubari melon salad with butterfly pea flower feta whip and a rose dressing and hibiscus marmalade to make the menu more flavourful and bright.”
All for colours
Food without colours can look boring, and colourful ingredients are also rich in vitamins and antioxidants, stresses Chef Nishant Choubey, founder of Street Storyss, Bangalore. He says, “The Rainbow food trend is popular among foodies because of its amazing visual appeal and health benefits. In our menu, we use edible reductions from vegetables, fruits, and naturally colourful ingredients like beetroot, rosella flowers, and blue pea rice. This year, the blue pea flower is very popular and we do some very interesting things to set on the table with it. As soon as we add lemon to the food or beverage with blue pea extract, it turns purple, so dishes and cocktails using that are hit on Instagram.”
Supporting the idea of Pride Month and sharing the love for the community, Chitrangada Gupta, co-founder at Boju’s Kitchen, says, “There is so much that you can do with food and colours. We have some colourful dishes called the “Sadeko Momo” and “Sadeko Wai Wai” which bring out a burst of flavours and look very pretty. We mix raw Wai Wai with red and yellow bell peppers along with coriander and spring onions — it is one of our bestsellers.”
As summer is a season of colourful fruits and vegetables, this is a good time to experiment by mixing them on a common platter. Rainbow food is a cyclic food fad, and has paved the way for earthy and natural food preparations high on nutrition, flavour and refreshing aroma. According to Shiv Kr Mehan, COO of Leisure Hotels Group, “The trend highlights the use of loads of bright veggies and rice in popping colours to create new dishes. The secret is minimal cooking – so as to be able to retain colour. Hence salads and raw foods do well in this category.” Noting that the use of food colours has raised questions of health, he says,
“We try to keep to natural colours as much as possible and don’t use excessive spices or gravies. We source regional and organic ingredients to present the colourful food platters.