Chef is a sweet cinematic treat

I went to watch Chef this weekend with the hubby, and we both loved it! While the hubby felt hungry merely looking at the food in the movie (despite our pre-movie meal), I stared at the screen admiring Chef Carl Casper’s expertise and his untiring cooking sessions.

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Right from the movie’s opening shots, when Jon Favreau (as Chef Carl Casper) expertly crushes a garlic with a bare fist, to the closing scene in which all’s-well-that-ends-well, Chef is a delightful watch. If you’re a foodie / food lover / food blogger / amateur cook / newbie cook or similar, you will  enjoy Chef. And even more if you’re none of the above. Here’s why:

You feel the passion: Right through the movie, I could feel the chef’s innate passion for food. It wasn’t forced, but seemed to be was part of his life that came through really well. For instance, when Carl made a sandwich for his son, I gawked. The bread had to be the perfect golden brown, and the cheese had to be melted just so- Carl made sure it was the perfect cheese sandwich.

There’s real food: The dishes in Chef aren’t all gourmet or dishes with unpronounceable names. Cuban sandwiches (aka medianoches) are a star in the movie, so are beignets (had never heard of them before!) and yuca fries (hadn’t heard of them either!). They are snacks popular on the West Coast and New Orleans (as I learnt from the movie).

Twitter plays a cameo!: The movie may seem to be an extended advertisement for Twitter, but I’m not complaining! There’s also Vine, and a viral video that make Chef Carl Casper a famous (infamous?) man. And to add to this social media mix, there’s a food blogger too.

It’s got a dash of humour: There were some genuinely funny cooking jokes which all would enjoy. Like the joke after the boys sprinkle cornstarch in their underpants to beat the heat. (Yeah, really! :-P)

A pinch of spice: There are ups and downs, fights and drama, jokes and laughs. And to top it all, there are a few surprise elements. Like the sudden appearance of a comedian (no spoilers here).

Great food styling: I’m vegetarian, so I may have wrinkled my nose when I saw them slicing up a pig or a piece of barbecued steak. But the food looked heavenly, irrespective of the meat content. The way these bread is crisped or the castor sugar is sprinkled was mouth-watering. And it made me appreciate my own cooking!

Simplicity: A tasty home-made dish is usually about simple flavours and fuss-free cooking. The movie Chef has the right dose of simplicity– in the story, the characters, and production values.

You could be Chef: Not really, but Chef could be anybody’s story- a frustrated professional, a stifled artist, a harrowed father, an employee looking for a career change, someone going through a middle age crisis, or someone trying to chase their passion. At some levels, almost all of us will identify with Carl Casper. So sit back, take a bucket of carb and sugar-laden popcorn (as Chef Carl would say), and enjoy!

Lakme Fashion Week: Jabong show today, featuring Dorothy Perkins

Lakme Fashion Week: Jabong show today,  featuring Dorothy Perkins

I missed the first day of Lakme Fashion Week yesterday but I’m on my way to the shows now, and I’m excited about today!

Jabong is at Lakme Fashion Week as a sponsor for the first time,  and they’re putting up a show with various fashion brands available on their website and launching Dorothy Perkins as well. I got a sneak peek of the Dorothy Perkins new collection, to be available exclusively on Jabong.com. Here’s a look:

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Ace stylist Aki Narula picked out his favourite pieces and explained how he’s styling them for the fashion show. For instance, the metallic finish dresses are perfect for a laidback summer soiree, so he would be accessorising them with flat slippers.

A bit more about Dorothy Perkins

Dorothy Perkins is a British high street brand, though their collection is generally more “mature” than other brands like Topshop. In India, yhe brand will retail exclusively on Jabong, launching with their Spring Summer collection later this week. The best part? Everything in the Jabong collection will be Rs 3000 or less!

Can’t wait to buy, and can’t wait for the show.

PS- You can catch the show online here and shop the looks as well. Have fun!

Cotton Cottage: almost as good as Fab India?

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I came across a little store Cotton Cottage tucked in among a row of shops at Kala Ghoda, Mumbai. At first glance, it seemed like any other store, but a second look made me go inside. And guess what? I wasn’t disappointed at all, even as much to tell my friend that I was glad I didn’t buy anything from the Fab India store down the road.

As the name suggests, the store has a range of cotton kurta, kurtis, churidars and dupattas. That sounds awfully similar to what Fab India stocks, and it really is. But what makes the difference is the quaint experience I had at CC. A visit to Fab India a couple of hours ago had felt like déjà vu, I’d seen this kurta and that print before. And the store’s floor plan and stacking of garments had left me confused as well.

Cotton Cottage, on the other hand, had clothes with the familiar Indian cotton feel, but with a fresh look. Their prints were mostly not-seen-before, there was staff at hand to help, and the kurtas et al were neatly piled up. What I liked the most were the colours—there were bright blues, greens and yellows!  I tried on a couple of kurtas, but finally opted for a brown kurti with a gold block print on it.

While I don’t see Cotton Cottage sweeping away Fab India yet, their stores (they’re around the country) are worth a visit or more.

So when are we heading to Cotton Cottage, girls?

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Best of LFW: Part 2

Tarun Tahiliani

Summer 2009’s collections heralded the beginning of Grecian and draped dresses on the international ramp. Tarun Tahiliani took this trend forward with his LFW collection. But while the international designers chose pristine white and fiery reds, Tahiliani opted for black and gold, wine and champagne. Despite the similarities, he Indianised his clothes with his magical touch. Once again, Tahiliani proved why he’s called the master of drapes in the Indian fashion scene. Throughout the show, the designer’s partiality toward gold and earth colours was clearly visible, right from the copper lace sari to his shimmery togas.

Black and gold sari with low-cut blouse

Even with the drapes, the designer sought to complement the hourglass figure. He created faux waistlines with cummerbunds and belts, and buckles and brooches on gathers. And it weren’t just the dresses that were glamourous. Tahiliani’s jackets and sequinned pants oozed evening glamour for those who wanted to keep it casual for a Saturday night in the city.

His collection may come as good news to well-endowed women, as he highlighted the sari blouses of the season — decollete and pave necklines. And just when we thought we had kissed Yash Chopra’s shaded saris goodbye, Tahiliani brought them back, though sans the chiffon. Colour graduation was spotted everywhere — on tunics, kameezes, sherwani coats and saris.

Tahiliani’s showstopper saris were a pleasant surprise — made of lace, they stood out from the rest of the collection. Indrani Dasgupta’s six-yard was encrusted with Swarowski crystallized rubies, pearls and diamonds even as the other three looked extremely wearable, subtle and sophisticated. He paired the lace saris with sequined corsets and bustiers. And that was not all — lace earlier appeared as a thick dupatta and ghagra border and sleeves.

Vipasha Agarwal in a lemon and gold lace sari

How to wear it: It’s always the right time to experiment with your sari draping. If not the adventurous kind, then opt for saris in cream, beige or peach lace with daring blouses. Or the simplest of all — get ‘shaded’!

Weekend Views: Practical Fashion

Practical Fashion
The few times I’ve seen Latika Khaneja of Collage Sports Management on TV, I’ve noticed her articulateness, her straightforwardness and her commanding yet feminine voice. What I haven’t noticed much are her clothes.

Which is why an interview on her style in this weekend’s Lounge took me by surprise. This smart business woman spoke candidly about the practical side of fashion for working women. And Ms Khaneja definitely doesn’t mince words- she says no to pencil skirts, believes flat shoes at office are perfectly acceptable and has stopped shopping at “children stores”.

Her pragmatic tips make complete sense for those of us who have to run to catch a train, or have to get into the bus with a quick jump.

Next time I’m off for a client meeting, I’ll perhaps give my three-inch black pumps a break and opt for practical comfort instead.

PS- Thanks, Ms Khaneja!