The Master of spices

New Delhi (IANSlife) Harjinder Singh, also known as Chef Sweety Singh, has been preparing Punjabi cuisine since the age of 19. His father began working as a chef at a young age and moved to Delhi from Amritsar in the 1950s to start a food business. Chef Singh’s father instilled in him a love of food at a young age, and he inherited his distinct cooking style. Years later, he continues the original family business while also running his own catering business, despite having no formal cooking training.

Chef Singh’s first food festival was at a hotel in Chennai in 1998, and he hasn’t looked back since. For the last three decades, he has done pop-ups at hotels across the country and has risen to the position of Punjabi cuisine Ambassador. He has been featured in the Discovery Channel shows ‘Rhodes Across India’ by Gary Rhodes, ‘Feeding Frenzy’ by NDTV Good Times, and ‘Khaana Khazaana’ as the mastermind behind the ‘Art of Spice.’

This year, The Lodhi, New Delhi bring its patrons Chef Sweety Singh’s time-honoured culinary splendours to celebrate the harvest festival of Baisakhi, which is celebrated every Spring with pomp and grandeur throughout North India. From April 11 to 20, 2022, the Chef has created a festive menu featuring his signature fare at Elan.

Singh’s cooking is wholesome and home-style, but never heavy, as Punjabi cuisine is frequently stereotyped to be. His cooking techniques date back to a time when traditional slow-cooking methods were the norm because they could alone impart the perfect balance of flavour to the dish. Chef Sweety, as a puritan, does not add populist touches to his food and believes in extracting swaad (umami) without the use of cashew paste, full-cream, or food colouring to enhance taste. He is inspired by the food of his ‘pind,’ or village, as well as his travels and tastings from restaurants and dhabas across Punjab, which he masterfully incorporates into his creations.

In keeping with this philosophy, the exclusive menu at Elan represents the Chef’s passion for Northern flavours and comprises heirloom recipes that he has perfected over the years. Diners can expect classics like Tandoori Malai Broccoli, Ajwain Machi Tikka, Kandhari Murgh Tikka, Shahi Maa Di Dal, Dahi Wala Kathal Masala, Amritsari Meat Tari Wala, Homemade Chicken Curry and Beetroot Halwa, amongst others.

Commenting on this collaboration with Chef Singh, Mr. Rajesh Namby, General Manager — The Lodhi said, “It is a delight to have the celebrated Chef Sweety Singh at The Lodhi and we are excited about the pop-up he has curated. We have always taken immense pride in offering the best of dining experiences to our guests and we’re privileged to have Chef Sweety bring his expertise and passion for food to the heart of the city.”

Elaborating further on this association, Sweety Singh said, “I have a culinary legacy passed on from my family and it is my pursuit to mirror that in its purest form and preserve our heritage. This time, I am honoured to showcase my food at one of India’s most prestigious hotels, The Lodhi.”

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