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Painter in the kitchen, chef in the gallery...


NATURAL VEGETABLE colours on the canvas through the brush of chefs, while well-known painters are in the kitchen making food that chefs like. This is the scene at Marriot WelcomHotel in New Delhi this past week.

This symphony of food and art is the brainchild of curator Ina Puri, a concept brought to India for the first time. Presented as a three-day festival at Marriot's Welcome Art Gallery, it attempted to introduce the common man to art. While the guests in the hotel savoured the food, painters created their paintings.

How come such an unusual synchronisation? "People eat through their eyes first, so the colour arrangement of food in a plate becomes canvas for the cook, and food is as much an art as colours on the canvas," says chef Sharad Dhawan. The painters echoed similar enthusiasm.

"It is a novel experience. We would also like to see how visitors react to paintings." But a few senior painters found it disturbing. They preferred to create their work in their rooms and bring them down when it was ready. "It is not that people are jumping at us when we are painting. We are at a considerable distance from them," painter Samindranath Muzumdar says.

Together they created 13 paintings; a few still adorn the walls of the art gallery here. Chefs, surprisingly, came out with best of collage through food colours such as spinach puree, beetroot, chocolate, etc. Some made 12 zodiac signs, while some created landscapes.

Is the festival a revenue generating effort? "No. Money also means brand equity. It is the value for goodwill that we aim to generate through the symphony. Hence we have lent the most revenue generating space for the purpose," says Virendra Dutta, Vice President - North, Marriot <243>WelcomHotel.

RANA A. SIDDIQUI

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