A passion that was discovered in Paris transformed itself into an inspiring tryst of fate. Karen Anand brought with her a trend of European casual eating to the land of curries. At a time when India was just opening itself to more international and experimental food, Karen invested in the concept of a salad bar. She has 17 books, three cookery shows and Farmer’s markets across 9 citiesto her credit. While we take a stroll down the first Farmer’s market in Chennai, Karen Anand speaks to Varsha Abhay about her love for Kerala food, the concept behind the markets and the trending food scene in thecountry.
How has the food scene in India changed since the time you came back?
I came back in 1984.When I first came, there was a very small minority of people who travelled, were well exposed, studied abroad and had an inherent taste for international cuisines. Now, there is a huge band of growing middle class that firstly have access to money, and secondly have exposure thanks to television and the internet. What’s happening is that the excitement to try something new and international is there but the culture isn’t. For example, they eagerly want to be associated with the brand of Italian food, but do not understand the cuisines or the palate. We love Pizza, but we change the identity of the brand by adding a Chicken Tikka over it. Which I don’t say is wrong. But first understand the authenticity. India is going through a very strange phase.It’s great that people are trying a lot.