Chefs and interior designers alike are using their travels to inspire new dishes, flavours, and home décor ideas.
Travel is the flavour of the year, and it is playing a key role in inspiring food and decor trends to attract millennial consumers this season as well. While chefs are creating new menus inspired by places they have travelled to, interior designers are using destinations to create new prints and design themes for homes. Creators are using unusual media like food, drinks, and décor in efforts to hope on the wanderlust bandwagon.
Cultural memorabilia gathered from offbeat destinations often doubles up as muse for new fusion trends. Akanksha Dean, chef manager at Imperfecto Shor café, shares that her trip to Singapore inspired her to recreate popular Singaporean street food for her guests in Delhi. “The Hainanese chicken rice at the Maxwell Hawker Centre in Singapore’s Chinatown is perhaps the most famed chicken rice stalls that attract thousands of foodies every day. I loved that it was warm, fluffy, and aromatic with chicken pieces as the highlight. This one-plate-meal chicken and rice are so prized in Singapore that it’s essentially the national dish. I introduced it on my menu at Shor Café as the dish of the month with my take on it, and got an amazing response for it,” she says.
While recreating flavours from famous destinations, one also needs to keep in mind the novelty aspect before presenting it to a well-travelled audience. Chef Osama Jalali and his begum Nazia, during their recent food escapades in Pakistan, discovered authentic cooking techniques and came back to create an indulgent North-West Frontier cuisine week at the Latest Recipe, Le Meridien Gurgaon. The chef explains, “We brought the ingenious flavours, cultures and delicious indulgence from a land so rich in spices and flavours. Highlights of the menu were the famous Murgh Chargah, Tikka Boti, Chandan Kebab, and Dhoodh Dulari, which were recreated for local guests using authentic ingredients and cooking techniques. We used the same slow cooking process, spices, and ingredients that we discovered on the streets of Lahore, and it was quite appreciated by our guests.”
Recently, during a collaborative initiative between Malaysian restaurant Nadodi and Delhi-based Together at 12th, the chefs created a brilliant fusion menu to celebrate the cuisines of two countries. “The idea was to showcase our home cuisine to the world in a way that we love for it to be seen and experienced. Along with beverage expert Nitin Tewari and Chef Vanshika Bhatia, we re-created artistic versions of our signature dishes for the guests. For instance, we made a variation of rasam with crab or chicken, but without disturbing the soul of it. We even used rasam in the distilled form to create a cocktail. We also use the Vadouvan Spice mix in our food. The French took this spice mix from Pondicherry and this spice mix is now more popular in France than it is in South India,” says Sricharan Venkatesh, Chef de Cuisine at Nadodi.
While chefs are bringing exotic food experiences to the plate, interior designers are also using travel destinations to create fresh takes on home décor. Good Earth recently launched a special-edition capsule collection of home collectibles for the mindful traveller, inspired by the tropical landscape of the Maldives. Speaking about the latest design collection, Anita Lal, founder of Good Earth, says, “Each year our design collections explore the myths, crafts, culture, flora, and fauna of varied geographies of Asia through a contemporary lens. This year, the tropical beauty of the island resort of Soneva Fushi in The Maldives inspired us to create our annual collection. Our commitment towards sustainability runs through this collection, which features Oceana, Maladvipa dinnerware and sea jasmine tapas plates and bowls. The designs are reminiscent of the wildflowers, white sand, blue lagoons, and turquoise waters of the tropical island.”
While the charm of the boho lifestyle continues with a riot of colours, textures, and prints at Portico New York’s ‘Africana’ collection. The line of bed linens, comforters, pillow covers, and blankets take inspiration from the traditional colours and vibrant embroidery of Africa, highlighting the tribal prints, multi-coloured patterns and a palette of earthy textures. The collection complements wicker chairs, cane baskets, and macrame tapestry to bring the bohemian dream to life for a traveller.