A Culinary Crossroad by Chef Bakshish Dean At The Leela Bhartiya City

The Leela Bhartiya City proudly unveils the third edition of the Chapters of Heirloom, by the renowned Chef Bakshish Dean brought in by Akanksha and Rupali Dean of ‘Dean With Us’ this time culminating into the culinary journey envisaging, one of the best-kept secrets, the Punjabi-Christian cuisine emerging from the heartlands of India that is still very puritan, homey and uninfluenced by Western cuisines. And therein lies its honest charm. Taking place from the May 29 and May 30, 2024, the third edition of this hyperlocal series celebrates India’s rich culinary heritage by applauding the local Indian flavors and bringing them to a platform that celebrates gastronomic perfection.

Discover the fascinating world of Punjabi-Christian cuisine, a hidden gem within the culinary landscape of India. For ages, a small but significant Christian community hailing from the Punjab region in India has preserved its homey cooking that is robust in flavours and has a unique identity of its own. A leading authority on this cuisine is Chef Bakshish Dean, a renowned figure in India’s culinary scene, with 33 years of experience in the industry, who not only grew up relishing these dishes but also champions their preservation and promotion. Chef Dean stands as one of the last custodians of Punjabi-Christian cuisine, ensuring its legacy continues to thrive. As one of India’s most celebrated chefs and a pioneer of modern Indian cooking, Dean possesses unmatched expertise in this culinary tradition. Drawing on his personal experiences and deep-rooted connection to his heritage, he has become an advocate for this little-known cuisine.

On the menu are dishes like Chaati Di Lassi (In rural Punjab ‘’Chaati’’ is the round earthen pot used to hand churn butter, what is left behind is thin buttermilk, this is what we call ‘’lassi’’ in Punjab, in summertime this is served to all at meal times and to the ones who went out in the sun.) ; Phugdian (A treat left behind from the slow rendering of high fat cuts of meat, crispy odd bits of meat-fat-skin, this is salted and served as a quick snack, unique to the region Chef Bakshish Dean comes from). Cchai Di Arbi, a unique preparation with Colocasia, steamed, smashed and then shallow fried in ghee with ajwain and Raau Di Kheer (A traditional preparation to mark the start of harvest season, made with sugarcane juice, milk, rice, ghee and dry fruits), to name a few.

Sharing his excitement, Chef Bakshish Dean says, “Having traveled extensively around the world, I have always been captivated by the diverse flavors of different cultures. Yet, there is a special allure in the flavors that connect me to my roots. The third edition of the Chapters of Heirloom is a unique opportunity for me to blend my experiences to pay homage to the heritage and soul of Punjabi-Christian cooking. Exemplifying the purist nature of Punjabi-Christian cooking, I remain steadfast in utilizing homey and local ingredients.”

Chef Dean shares a personal connection to this cuisine through his parents, who hailed from Punjab. His father originated from a small village called Sunaiya located in Batala, in Gurdaspur district, while his mother’s family has roots in Bholath a small town in Kapurthala district. Few people are aware that certain regions in Punjab have a significant Christian population, such as Chef Dean’s village of Sunaya, located on the outskirts of Batala—an industrial town where nearly 80 percent of the population is Christian. Over the years, this community has masterfully crafted a unique culinary tradition influenced by the traditions of their faith and demographic makeup, resulting in a delightful fusion of diverse elements. Chef Dean’s earliest memories of this unique cuisine, rooted in Himachal Pradesh and Punjab, offer a glimpse into the essence of their traditions. With a focus on purity and a deep attachment to the land, Punjabi-Christian food emerges as a delightful fusion of local flavours and indigenous practices. Born and raised in Shimla, Chef Dean’s parents migrated due to work, but their summers were spent in Punjab amidst their large extended family. The communal dining culture of Punjab created countless memories centred around food. Interestingly, Chef Dean highlights that Punjabi Christians have no Anglo influence or Western practices. Therefore, their cuisine evolved as a purist reflection of their local traditions, showcasing dishes directly derived from the land.

The Leela Bhartiya City’s ‘Chapters of Heirloom’ series is an epicurean journey celebrating the vibrant fusions of Indian regional flavors. Following the successful line-up featuring renowned Chef Priya Bala’s exquisite Madurai cuisine, this next edition delves into one of the best-kept secrets reflecting confluence of cultures via food is – the Punjabi-Christian cuisine. Curated by seasoned professionals with years of experience in the industry, each chapter promises an immersive exploration of India’s diverse heritage through meticulously crafted dishes. 

When:  May 29 and 30, 2024, 7pm-11pm
Where: Quattro, 6/2, Thanisandra Main Road, Tirumanahalli, Bengaluru 560064
Price:  INR 1699 ++ (Additionally alcohol supplement to INR 999 Onwards)
For Reservation: +91 96115 29294

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