Masters of Food and Wine, Park Hyatt

Imagine. That's the only way, I can even try to communicate that evening! Imagine. Imagine. A dinner. A dinner event. You walk in without any expectations. Advertised all over at Rs. 3500 all inclusive for, supposedly, great dinner and wines. OK, you walk in expecting a gala dinner. As you step in, waiters keep bringing you finger foods like these. Almost everybody is dressed to kill. The GM of the hotel is here and making conversation with everyone. Seasons. The marketing and communications manager talks about seasons. The flavours of this season, she says. This term, I thought, was limited to the fashion industry. But she talks about the wines of the season. Food like these start coming along.

Small portions, great taste. The wines are already flowing, but I have to make do with a mocktail. I thought this is how the evening is going to be. Lots of good finger foods, but no. I was so wrong. I came here, thinking I will spend sometime before heading off to a movie premiere. Half an hour into the evening and I don't care about any movie premiere. OK, back to imagining. The grand doors open. The venue is much bigger. The crowd gathers there. The chefs are introduced. Wow. So they have flown a chef from Singapore's top restaurant. The chef from Park Hyatt, Calcutta is here to showcase Bengali cuisine. Another is here to showcase his continental prowess. And then another set of doors open and we see the food. Huge quantity of food. Huge will be an understatement. Is it a buffet?

Now imagine fine dine foods. The ones which are small in quantity, great in taste and are done in great detail. But, slightly less than fine dine. Imagine these foods being served.

The wonderful mushroom tortellini. The outstanding scallops seared to perfection served with goat's cheese. A lamb stuffed potato dumpling that you can live your life on. Forever. The mother of all mezze platters. This platter had at least a hundred dishes. The mezze pizza being the killer. Unfortunately, I don't have a photo of that. I know I shot it, but I presume my camera ate it, because it was so amazing. And laska, Malaysian dish. I knew it was perfectly authentic because I remember I couldn't stand it in Malaysia. The same happened here. And a super crispy Bengali fish fry. Now imagine all of this being prepared live in front of you by these esteemed chefs. And that will not even begin to explain the wonderful evening at Park Hyatt. The wine drinkers had a gala time with the Wine Master challenging them to find fault with his wine pairing and said that he will give them the best wine that will complement 'even Indian' cuisine perfectly. I don't know what that means, but, I wish I had a wine connoisseur friend who could have told me.

And then the desserts. I only had the patience to shoot one plateful of dessert.

I am glad that the hotel knows that this is not possible on a daily basis and so as a policy, apparently, all the Park Hyatt properties around the world host these dinners to showcase great food. I was part of the first supper club attempted in Chennai a couple of years back and I don't know if the second chapter even happened. But Park Hyatt is trying to make this possible in Chennai. They would like to have it maybe twice or three times a year where they get good chefs to prepare and serve some great cuisine. It is a very different form of supper club. It is open to the public. But like a good supper club, the number of guests are limited to ensure that the place is not over crowded. Like a good supper club, the quality of food is outstanding. Typical of a great a supper club, I was full beyond measure, but not stuffed. I could still breathe and I was not nauseous. The food filled, but didn't stuff.

I don't know how their first edition was, I don't know their next edition will be, but this was outstanding. I know I want to be there for their next edition. I am very happy that Park Hyatt didn't decide that Chennai was not ready for something like this and give up before trying, because I believe they were sold out that night for the event and since their target is very small, that crowd definitely exists in Chennai, or for that matter in any city.