Rashmi Uday Singh© HelloIndia

HELLO! 100 Most Influential: Rashmi Uday Singh

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As told to Shraddha Chowdhury

Why she matters: Her unrivalled gastronomical knowledge aside, so delightful is her disposition that this author of over 40 books endears herself to all. With a global job portal in hospitality the latest feather in her cap, the culinary expert reflects on how food brings people together!

I’m more of a Christopher Columbus. I love to explore and venture into uncharted territories. That’s why I researched and wrote A Vegetarian In Paris, the world’s first vegetarian guide to the City of Love. I loved every moment of it!

I have plenty left to do in the F&B space! But my current passion project is a global job portal for the hospitality industry. It’s totally free, with no revenue model in place. In fact, I’m financing it with my own savings. It’s meant to spread hope and sunshine and enable jobs and internships... It’s extremely exciting and challenging.

Memories Over Meals

Food unites all! It needs no language and crosses all frontiers!

Considering this very train of thought, it’s simply impossible to isolate one single cuisine as my favourite. Although, I must say, I appear to always turn to the pristine Cantonese flavours and textures...

Imprints on the Palate

Among my most memorable experiences was El Bulli in Spain, in the middle of nowhere... It was a culinary pilgrimage! The place overlooked the magnificent Spanish Riviera. Head Chef Ferran Adria was a trailblazer with impeccable concept and execution. The place was cutting-edge and gutsy, and the food, delicious. It surprised, seduced and flagged off molecular gastronomy. While it closed several years ago, it will live on in my taste buds forever...

Another unforgettable experience was the extreme opposite of this... Asador Etxebarri in Atxondo, Spain! This, too, was in the middle of nowhere, in a bungalow. The chef here cooks everything on a woodfire using different kinds of wood. It’s simply superb, and superbly simple.

Around The World, One Plate At A Time

Travel is God’s greatest blessing. It’s a teacher, seducer, entertainer... I’m on this elaborate trip as I write this. I started in Cairo, where I was invited for the Cairo Food Week. Here I dined on Egyptian delights at Khufu, within airkissing distance of the Great Pyramids, and also savoured the city’s contemporary fare. Next was London for a fundraiser. I revisited Dinner by Heston Blumenthal for some historical British dishes, among other restaurants.

On the itinerary next was Valencia for the The World’s 50 Best Restaurants shindig: On the menu were amazing meals by El Celler de Can Roca and Quique Dacosta Restaurante. This was followed by the India Shining showcase in Bilbao, where — to my delight — I could share my experience and watch two brilliant young Indian chefs, Sameer Taneja and Hussein Shahzad.

Paris was the following stop, for the opening of my friend and San Francisco’s Chef Dominique Crenn’s new restaurant (he has three Michelin Stars to his name!). What followed was a treat to beat all treats: dining in the kitchen of the three-Michelin-starred George V, helmed by Chef Christian Le Squer. Then I went back in time at Jean Imbert au Plaza Athénée in Paris. In the French Riviera, Mauro Colagreco’s Mirazur dazzled, as did Alain Ducasse’s Le Louis XV in Monaco. I’m still on this trip, and there’s so much more to come!

Rapid Fire With Rashmi

Favourite ingredient: Cocoa is magic happiness!

The most underrated ingredient: The multi-textured drumstick

Favourite chef: Massimo Bottura is inspirational, lovable and forever helpful!

Favourite country for food: Basque Country

Favourite culinary book: There are too many!

To see who else is on the list, grab the copy of HELLO! India’s August 2023 issue right here!