Indian celebrity chef Ranveer Brar is set to bring the food of India to Dubai with his inaugural Middle Eastern endeavour Kashkan in Dubai. The restaurant’s name, a fusion of Kashmir and Kanyakumari, is in itself a commitment to showcase the entirety of India’s culinary heritage.
Curated with meticulous care by Chef Ranveer Brar himself, the menu at Kashkan takes diners on a mesmerising voyage through India's rich and diverse culinary tapestry, encompassing the distinct flavours of all Indian regions. We caught up with the chef ahead of the restaurant's official opening on September 2, to discuss the aim of Kashkan and some of its signature dishes. Excerpts from the interview:
Congratulations on the upcoming opening of Kashkan! Can you share the story behind the name?
Thank you! The name Kashkan actually came about quite organically. To be honest, the name was ready even before I was fully prepared to open the restaurant. We added more meaning to it over time. The idea behind the name is to encompass the vastness of Indian cuisine, moving beyond the stereotypical perception. We wanted to focus on the idea of "India food" rather than just "Indian food." This resonated well with the concept of Kashkan, symbolising the broader culinary landscape of India. Interestingly, the term "Kashkan" has Persian origins, meaning "the bank of a river," which aligns beautifully with our intention of exploring the depths of India's culinary traditions.
Why did you choose Dubai as the location for your first Middle East venture?
Dubai was a strategic choice for a few reasons. Geographically, Dubai is conveniently located not too far from Mumbai, allowing for easy commuting and management. Moreover, Dubai is at the heart of the GCC region, making it an ideal market to establish our brand. It provides a central hub for growth and expansion within the larger region. Additionally, considering that I've run restaurants as far as Canada, I've come to value the importance of proximity to home. Being more accessible and engaged with the restaurant is crucial in today's era of social media and constant connectivity.
What do you aim to bring to Dubai through Kashkan?
The core idea behind Kashkan is to offer honest and comforting India food. Over the years, I've learned that Indian food is about indulgence, warmth, and comfort. It's not just about presentation and small portions. Indian food is meant to connect with us emotionally, just like how our mothers cook for us to make us happy. We aim to serve Indian food in its truest essence, keeping it authentic and soulful. The menu showcases flavours from different regions, paying respect to the diverse culinary heritage of India. We're not aiming for fusion; rather, we're offering a glimpse into India's rich culinary tapestry.
Can you highlight some signature dishes from the menu?
We tried to do a lot of things that sort of convey the 'India meets UAE' theme. For instance, we have a watermelon salad served with our homemade black Lumi chaat masala, that will remind us of Old Delhi. We're also offering a chai khari and umm ali, blending the two regional favourites. In our menu, we have tried to pay respect to where we are (Dubai), and also stayed true to where we are from, which is India.
What sets Kashkan apart in Dubai's culinary scene?
Kashkan aims to offer a genuine and down-to-earth dining experience. Our focus is on serving authentic Indian food that comforts and delights. Dubai's cosmopolitan culture allows us to pay homage to regional influences while maintaining the integrity of Indian cuisine. While there are hints of local touches, the essence of our dishes remains truly Indian. Kashkan offers an inviting and warm environment where diners can savour the flavours of India's diverse culinary heritage.
As a celebrity chef, what does your role mean to you?
Being a celebrity chef comes with a mix of responsibilities. I view it as an opportunity to not only create and share culinary experiences but also to inspire and guide others in the industry. As a role model for budding chefs, I take my role seriously in setting a positive example. Moreover, being a celebrity chef allows me to travel, meet people, and gain diverse experiences that enrich my culinary journey. It's a privilege that brings with it the chance to contribute to the culinary world and connect with people through food.
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