It is not merely fashion and films that have grabbed headlines at Cannes. Food had its moment of glory too. Last night the inaugural dinner at Cannes Film Festival was hosted by Union Minister Dr. L Murugan. The menu, titled ‘The Journey Menu’, honoured the International Year of Millets and celebrated the culinary diversity of India. The dinner was prepared by one of India’s foremost chefs, Prateek Sadhu in collaboration with Godawan single malt.
Millets made their presence felt in pulaos, thoran and putharo (pancake from Meghalaya). The menu was categorised into dishes featuring different regions of India: prawn ishtew, vattayapam and white asparagus pepper fry represented south; smoked lamb, putharo and tungrymbai (fermented soybean from Meghalaya) represented the Northeast; Maharashtra’s koshimbir salad and Malvani style fish was inspired by the west; and the palate cleanser with ber (jujube) salt, aam papad, achar granita and strawberry achaar was a hat tip to India’s flavour-packed street-food. North India entered the menu in the dessert section with kalakand ice cream and Kashmiri badam mithai. Sadhu traces his origin to Kashmir and it wasn’t a surprise to find kahwa on the table.
Sadhu has started to share behind-the-scenes nuggets and more information about the dishes on his Instagram account @prateeksadhu. One of his Instagram stories informed that the condiment tungrymbai is ‘used in Khasi and Jaiñtia food cultures’ and he has took it to make a sauce with black sesame and strawberry. The putharo, he explains, ‘is steamed rice pancake served for breakfast or as a snack in Meghalaya’.
Last year, chef Manu Chandra prepared the prestigious inaugural dinner hosted by Anurag Singh Thakur, the minister of information and broadcasting, and sports and youth affairs. He catered the food at the India Pavilion too, and on the menu there were interesting bites, like paniyaram madeleines. In an interview with Lounge, Chandra said he planned ‘a menu to represent diplomatic relations between India and France which translated into dishes such pyaaz ki kachori with chutney and crème fraîche, gatte and morel pulao and almond financier served with kalakand, fresh strawberries and saffron sauce.’