Author – Devangini Mahapatra Chauhan
Ladies and Gentlemen, the latest from the world of everything Eco is here; and it’s here to stay! With more and more people getting conscious of what they put in their mouths, and consequently into their tummies, it comes as no surprise that Eco-friendly eating has become a hugely popular trend.
To begin with, let us look at what eggs people on to “eat right”. Eating right is a concept that has plagued us all in the past few decades. With organically grown vegetables and fruit going out of fashion in the seventies and eighties, the nineties brought on an onslaught of various lifestyle related diseases induced primarily by processed and packaged food.
The need of the hour is healthy organic eating. Forget mere dieting or “watching what you eat”; this concept is in a realm of its own. With the rise of pesticides and fertilizers, taste is not the only thing that most veggies and fruit are lacking; nutrition is a big factor that’s amiss in production through mass farming. With profits to look after, many supermarket chains forget about flushing out those toxins; and vendors like farmers and small-time vegetable growers are only too happy to fuel this growth. Additionally, the urbanite who is always hard pressed for time (and often patience too), rushes to the nearest air conditioned mall on the way back home to pick up this toxin ridden ware. The result? Well, look around, obesity and diabetes are on everyone’s menu, as well as side serving of heart disease and low attention spans.
As an exit route, organic food and ingredients have taken the market by storm. Today, almost every nook and cranny have an organic kiosk specializing in providing you with organically grown (that is, minus pesticides and other toxins) vegetables, fruit and other items. Though priced at a premium, these products are gaining popularity and much needed ground. Economics could very well shift for a more complimentary swing towards these products in times to come. But more on that bit later.
Apart from cooking right, eating out, and eating right seem to have become the latest buzz word. In today’s busy times, most people look forward to catching up with friends outside the home, on a quiet weekend, rather than staying in and slaving it out in the kitchen.
So eating out is not just a socially appropriate statement anymore; it is now a cultural necessity as well. The perils of eating out often include stuffing yourself with toxins. This can now be avoided by frequenting joints that have more of a conscience. An example of this is The Garden Restaurant, situated in New Delhi. To begin with, the site of this high end restaurant is the lush and tree-lined Lodhi Gardens of Delhi. With a charming façade of watering cans lining its walls, you walk in passing palm trees on the side to reach an open verandah, done up with very on trend, and in the moment, wicker furniture and white upholstery. Canopies and shady umbrellas are enough to beckon even in the peak of summer as this verdant area will demonstrate during your very first visit. Their popular dishes include Kebabs and typically delicious European fare, with the Lebanese and Moroccan Mezze billed as their most ordered and most recommended items.
Once you move indoors, you are instantly greeted by a pickle counter. Intrigued, I asked my host to explain. And was I pleasantly surprised? To begin with, he told me the restaurant runs various resorts where it also organically grows all of its ingredients. These are the very ingredients used in the dishes that customers can enjoy here at the restaurant. Therefore minimizing the risk of pulling vegetables or fruit out of cold storage for public consumption.
This counter, he went on to explain is their effort to make use of whatever is left over after use at the restaurant. This struck me as an extremely eco-friendly idea. You use what you need and you distribute whatever is left over. The pickles are made from various ingredients sourced from their resorts. Also, they hold a weekly fair every Sunday at 1, Jor Bagh (New Delhi) to sell organic vegetables, fruit and spices, so that they can distribute and educate people about eating and cooking right. Even as we speak, this group is in the act of organizing a Mango Festival in July so that people can all reap the benefits of organically grown mangoes.
With such wonderful ethics at play, it is no surprise that the restaurant and the Lodhi Group are garnering popularity and success in heavy doses. But the actual winner is the concept: cook, eat and distribute. Taking a cue from how well and how efficiently they have managed to instill eco eating into their core business philosophy, we can all work to make a difference to what we put on our plates. If we all invest our time and energy in a community patch where each of us has a small portion, then at the end of the week, there will be a crateful of goodies to distribute among all the homes in the neighbourhood or community where we live! Community farming might well emerge to be the next big thing to strike our lives.
Now that’s what we call a real idea, Sir Ji!
Lodhi Garden Restaurant on Google Map