72 Diners sat down together on the 31st of March 2015 to be a part of the first ever fine dining event organised by NESFAS. Chef Fabio Antonini and his young team, which included Nagaland based Chef Joel Basumatari and NESFAS flavor development team members, Rahul Antao, Esther M Sawian and Roderick, put together in a matter of three days, brought out food that could boast achieving exactly what the event was meant to be – a celebration of local food.
The three course meal attempted to present local ingredients in a glamorous way to show the diners that these humble food products have the potential to become more than just home food. Hand crafted pasta, “Slow” stewed pork with fresh seasonal vegetables and panna cotta with local mulberries and wild honey were served in an open air setting. Though a little nippy, the atmosphere was warmed by the conviviality that came through with the coming together of people from different walks of life to share a meal together.
16 tables were set up for the guests, each named after Ark of Taste products from Meghalaya. Perhaps what pleasantly surprised the guests was the service. The serving staff comprised of NESFAS team members and 5 boys from the William Lewis Boy’s Home, Mawphlang, who made sure that the food was served warm.
The grand fusion of tastes was a result of two days’ intensive efforts where Chef Fabio, who arrived on the 28th of March, along with the core kitchen staff, took time off to investigate the local market, hand pick the ingredients, and also incorporate what he learned from a discussion with the local Cook’s Alliance.
Commenting on how events such as these have the potential to change people into more conscious eaters by giving them a choice over fast food without deviating from their roots, Chef Fabio pointed out the importance of holding onto one’s roots while taking the good from other cultures. “We must stick to traditions but also adopt new techniques,” he said. He also brought into perspective how people can become co-producers rather than just consumers by choosing what they eat instead of being subject to what the market offers them. “By choosing what they eat, people get involved in production where the farmers grow what the market demands from them,” he added.
NESFAS is heartened by the response it received with this being only its first attempt ever at hosting such an event. What’s even more encouraging is that some of the guests requested for more such get-togethers. NESFAS hopes that the future will hold more of such events where local food ingredients are given the limelight that they deserve.