‘International brands will set quality standards for India’

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New Delhi, July 29 (IANS) Be it the food and beverage industry or fashion and cosmetics, India is flooded with products from international brands. UK-born chef Shaun Kenworthy sees it as a good move as he believes the international brands will set “strict standardisation of quality of products”.

Kenworthy arrived in India in 2000. And he is not that impressed with the Indian supply chain.

“I don’t know where my chicken is coming from or the vegetables. With the international brands coming in, all those things will change eventually… if we talk about the bigger picture. And that’s something that India needs.

“What they (international brands) do is set strict standardisation of quality of products,” Kenworthy, who was here, told IANS.

He also pointed out that India is now more open to global cuisine.

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“When I was in Delhi (2000), I couldn’t get a red capsicum or iceberg lettuce. The idea of getting a zucchini on a regular basis was impossible. People were used to ordering pizzas from Nirula’s. So, things have started changing drastically,” said the chef, who has worked at The Park Hotels, The Hyatt Regency and many cafes and clubs across the country.

Back then, people in Delhi were also against the idea of having something like the Japanese dish sushi, which is now extremely popular here.

“I was asked ‘Who is going to eat sushi? This raw fish. What rubbish. It will never work in India’. Obviously, India has changed that much,” said Kenworthy, who started his career as a pastry chef.

The change is not just visible in Indian metro cities.

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“Now the whole country is on the move and not just the metros. Cities like Indore and Bhopal… everywhere it is changing. Everyone is excited about something new.”

Kenworthy, who is based in Kolkata, is also the culinary director for Millie’s Cookies. The UK’s celebrated cookies brand’s first Indian store was launched here earlier this month. It has entered the country through a franchise route in association with World Iconic Brands.

“I have always liked Millie’s. We have started off with a variation of cookies. We have mixed nut cookies, chocolate variations and more. We have variation of cookie shakes and cookie-based desserts too. The chocolate, cocoa powder and all are imported. We are not using any compound chocolates. We want to keep the brand pure,” he said.

There is a bit of ‘Indianisation’ too.

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“When the festive seasons come, we will definitely work on Indian flavours which I am excited about,” he said.

Sharing some examples, he said: “We have an ice cream-based dessert. It is based on the idea of kulfi. There is also a shake like phirni.”

But is it necessary for international brands to give an Indian touch?

“I have an interest in introducing things inspired by Indian cuisine. It is always a good thing in India or any country. If I am going to China for a cookie demonstration, I would spend a day roaming around and then cook something that Chinese can relate to but within kind of my rules and style of cooking.

“I don’t think it is bad,” he said.

(Natalia Ningthoujam can be contacted at [email protected] <mailto:[email protected]>)

–IANS

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