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  • International Cuisine Conference “United We Eat” to focus on the challenges faced by traditional Goan cuisine and invasion of junk food culture in Goa

Panaji, Jul 3: Over the years, Goa has evolved from a very quiet little state with beautiful virgin beaches to a bustling tourist epicenter. This has enticed loads of business consisting primarily of restaurants, which started serving multi/fusion cuisines. Due to the lack of dedication and passion to maintain accuracy by such restaurants, Goan cuisine had started to lose its originality.

With the influx of domestic and foreign tourists Goan hoteliers initially started as multi-cuisine restaurants, but over the years they realized that the trend of 'Fusion Cuisine' had started infecting the Goan cuisine and that such a decline would be distressingly appalling, therefore they committed all their vigor in reviving Goa's splendid cuisine.

To breathe life into the passion that was once in the Goan food Goan culinary experts will be presenting special lectures and demonstration on various challenging aspects pertaining to Goan cuisine and the revival of Goa's inestimable legacy at the International Cuisine conference to be organized from 2-5, September 2007 at Hotel Fidalgo, Panaji.

Chef Fernando Da Costa (Nostalgia, Margao), Culinary experts Rony and Suzette Martins (Mum's Kitchen, Panaji), Mrs.Carafina Pereira and Bony Pereira (Martins Corner), Shobha Tarcar, Dr.Nilesh Korde, Prof.Bhushan Bhave and a few experts will make special presentations on this vital issue.

Chef extraordinaire, TV show host, author of best selling cookbooks, restaurant consultant and winner of several culinary awards Sanjeev Kapoor will inaugurate the International Cuisine Conference. Veteran Food and Nutrition expert Padmashree Ms.Thangam Philip, Queen of Indian Cooking Dr Tarla Dalal and Dr Mrunalini Devi, Chancellor, Maharaja Sayyajirao University of Baroda will be the guests of honour at the conference.

Goa-based NGO Indology Goa and Pune-based NGO OneAsia are the organizers of this conference The aim of this conference is to examine the evolution, benefits and state of research on Tradition Asian diet, as well as the potential and problems associated with its survival. The focus of the conference will be on Healthy Traditional Cuisines and their relevance and integration with modern fast paces life and food styles.

While the West is looking at Eastern diet and renouncing packed food, their promotion of junk food in Asia is going unabated. In a world of fast food, junk food, processed food and other similar "temptations," traditional diets may be the only viable alternative even though many specialists believe that Traditional Asian Diet is an endangered species. The aim is also to set this as a platform for a cross-cultural communication between participants of Asian countries and all those who value Asian ways of life.

Goanet - the largest Goa-related mailing list with over 10,000 members is Online Media Partner for this event.

The fulcrum of an internationally acclaimed Goan restaurant in Goa "Martins' Corner"  Carafina Pereira will be felicitated at the Conference to honour her dedication and contribution towards the survival of Goan Tradition Cuisine. Her passion for cooking Goan Cuisine has made "Martins' Corner", a mere grocery store into the most sought after restaurant in Goa and the world since last one and a half decade.

Goa being placed on the coastal belt, the Goans, both - Hindus as well as the Catholics, relishes rice, coconut and fish (and a wide range of sea food as well) as their staple food. It is the base ingredient in the famous Goan curries, be it the plain daily fish-curry or the elaborate special 'Xacuti' (pronounced as - 'Shaa - koo - tee'). Unlike the Hindu Goans, where they will not cook vegetables without adding coconut, if health permits, the gruel rice or kanji with fish, vegetables, pickles and chutney (a preparation done out of coconut and coriander). They would also prepare an array of dishes from rice, like: 'kanji' (Pez), rice-curry referred as- 'Xitt-Coddi', rice with pungent gravy identified in Goa as 'Agsal' and many more. The native Hindu-Goans never added salt when rice was cooked, where as the Catholics always did.

Goan Catholics savour meat and consider it as a key ingredient in their meals. Hence, the food prepared in Christian homes is predominantly meat based: beef, pork and chicken. On realizing this; they unanimously decided to give up eating meat for a period of 40 days, which is known as Lent, it is witnessed immediately after the Carnival, falling around end of February, during this period only vegetarian food is cooked and meat is completely avoided. This has been religiously practiced over centuries.

Mussels  in contrast have some very mouth-watering meat-based preparations as well: 'Feijoada', 'Balchao', 'Xacuti', 'Fish - Recheiado', 'Xeqxeq', 'Caldeirada de Peixe', 'Pasteloa' - (mixed pork pie), 'Cabidel', 'Sorpotel', etc. are dished out as an extensive meal by the Goan Christians and many restaurants today. 'Feijoada' is both a Portuguese as well as Brazilian specialty. The Goans add spicy 'Goan-sausages' or salted pork to bring out the zest in 'Feijoada', while the Portuguese add sausages, carrots, couve (type of cabbage) and bean sprouts.

In Goa, where very little is grilled, the chicken is fried and condiments are added, like: lime, garlic and Piripiri (small hot chilies locally known as 'Putquepari' or 'Portugali') are added to the meat and seasoned with salt. 'Vindalho' is the modified Portuguese version 'Vinho de Alho' (a bundle of garlic) and 'Sorpotel' is the adaptation of 'Sarrabulho', and 'Cabidel' that of 'Cabidela'. The Goan sausage, 'Chourico' is the prototype of the Portuguese 'Chourico'. While the later is prepared with wine and a
few spices, the local is prepared with vinegar and is well-spiced. 'Bebinca', the queen of the Goan sweets, despite the fact that its origin is controversial, one would be more safe if one places it as a typical Goan category considering that its chief ingredient is coconut-milk and it is baked layer by layer with coconut husks. 'Apa de Camarao' (prawn pie) another home delicacy is made with local rice, coconut and 'Toddy' (semi-fermented coconut juice), stuffed with prawns in red masala (freshly grounded spices) and baked.

This background brings experts and students of Cuisine and Hospitality Industry together during the four day conference, "United We Eat", a conference on Traditional Asian Diet, A special academic session on Traditional Goan Diet will be held where Culinary Experts of Goa will deliver their presentation on various Nutritional aspects of Goan Food.

Around 25 Cuisine experts including Ms.Niru Gupta (NDTV Cookery expert), Dr.Nutan Pandit, Pratibha Jain, Jigyasa Giri, Dr. Siddharth Wakankar, Dr. Alka Pandey, Dr. Sumit Paul, Dr. T. V. Sairam, Chef Fernando Da Costa, Dr.G.B.Sharma, Author and Environmentalist Dr.Nandakumar Kamat, Chef, Culinary experts Rony and Suzie Martins, Food Critic Tara Narayan Patel will be making their presentation on various aspects of Traditional Asian Cuisine during the conference.

Goa, the beach destination of India is the chosen venue for this International Conference and is beautifully surrounded by the beaches. 

A book exhibition on cuisine is also organised during this conference at Hotel Fidalgo where authors and publishers will be displaying their literature where general public will be invited. A special discount of 25 % will be extended to the general public.


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