Tasting menu extravaganza

Tasting menu extravaganza


Going out for fine dining is an exciting idea, but choosing what to eat at times becomes confusing. The answer to this is the tasting menu – a pre-fixed menu where one can try all dishes the chef has to offer and there is no pressure on the diner to decide what to eat.

Introducing this concept to Nepal is Chef Abhishek Bajgain, who is all set to present his seven-course tasting menu at ‘A Night in New York City’.

The two-day event scheduled for March 29-30 at Varnabas Museum Hotel in the Capital promises “a contemporary twist on timeless French culinary classics with the tasting menu” curated by Chef Bajgain inviting the diners’ palate “on an exquisite journey through the culinary excellence of New York City”.

Chef Abhishek Bajgain. Photos Courtesy: Surat Shrestha

Chef Bajgain, a 22-year-old graduate from The Culinary Institute of America, New York elaborated on the tasting menu as: “There is a fixed menu; people usually look at the menu beforehand that’s either available online or on social media. Then they make a reservation, and go to eat at the restaurant. You have no choice of what you are getting. Everything in the menu you are getting is in front of you. You go there and courses are served one after another.”

The concept of tasting menu is really famous in New York as per him who added, “Most of the good restaurants that have Michelin star do the tasting menu.”

He is trying to introduce the same concept here through this event as he said, “This is a presentation of everything that I have learnt in the culinary school, as well as while working in the restaurants in NYC, using the French techniques.”

Chef Bajgain has worked at Stein Erickson Lodge (Forbes 5 star ski resort for internship) as well as at Atoboy and Atomix in NYC. He is currently working at The Frenchette, a French restaurant in NYC.

As such his two-day tasting menu will bring together diverse flavours from around the world but making sure that the French technique (of preparing food) goes into everything.

He has used Nepali ingredients, too. “I have used Nepali spices in the soup to suit the Nepali palate better,” he stated.

Third Course. Photos Courtesy: Surat Shrestha

Third Course. Photos Courtesy: Surat Shrestha

The seven-course menu offers dishes including Confit de Canard , La Betterave, Boudin Tarte in the first course, Soupe de Chou-feur et Pomme (second course), Poisson du Jour Cru (third course), Tagliatelle Champignons (fourth course), Watermel Mint Sorbet (palate cleanser), Cotelette de porc or Fricassee de poisson (main course), and Poire pochee to finish.

“In the full menu you will find flavours with 40 per cent French influence and the rest of the flavours from around the world,” as per the chef. “It is going to be flavours that you probably have never tasted before, and the flavours are going to be very bold,” shared the chef whose use of garnishes too is bound to have a meaning behind it. “It is going to be very tasty, and look very beautiful, too.”

Elaborating on the menu, he explained, “The plates that I have made are very creative and complicated. There are at least six-seven components that have been worked on in each plate.”

To sum it up, it has been a lot of work for Chef Bajgain and his team (the entire kitchen team of Varnabas Museum Hotel) with whom he has been working together for sometime now.

For those who are looking forward to this pop-up event, he said, “Expect something you have never tried in Nepal before. I have not seen any chef in any restaurant here making such complicated dishes.

Fourth course. Photos Courtesy: Surat Shrestha

Fourth course. Photos Courtesy: Surat Shrestha

It is basically going to be like you are in NYC eating at a Michelin star restaurant.”

So, why the tasting menu? He wants Nepal to be “a bit forward” in the culinary world too. “At present, so many restaurants have opened in Nepal but 80 per cent of them have the same menu. I want to take a step in changing the culture of Nepali culinary industry,” he said.

He is quite observant of Nepal’s restaurant culture as he said Nepal has immense possibilities. “People with training can present Nepali food in a better way by bringing forth refined menus,” said he while adding that Nepali is much behind regarding the idea of tasting menu as compared to the other parts of the world.

Soup Course. Photos Courtesy: Surat Shrestha

Soup Course. Photos Courtesy: Surat Shrestha

Stating that the concept of tasting menu started in New York pretty early, he said, “Even today you can’t get a reservation in a restaurant on the day it has the tasting menu. But people don’t have a concept here, and introduction to what a tasting menu is. And that is what I am trying to provide.” With such a broad vision in mind, where does this young chef see himself in the coming years? “I want to first get experience because I am still very young. After 10 years I see myself opening my own restaurant in Nepal. I just want to open one and make it the best restaurant in Nepal then. I want to open a restaurant in NYC too.” At present he wants to inspire other people who want to cook.

The two-day event is by reservations only.

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