New Delhi, March 25 (IANS) Food lovers who believe gourmet cuisine and weight-watching don't often go together must have an experience with acclaimed British chef Rob Rees -- often referred to as the Cotswold (rpt Cotswold) chef from the heart of England.
The lucky ones got to savour the celebratory chef lunch and dinner crafted by him, which were presented over several courses paired with the finest of champagnes and wines at the The Orient Express at The Taj Palace.
'The evidence of good food reflects not only on the health and environment but actually on the performance and behaviour of an individual. Eat better and you will obviously do better,' is the cornerstone of chef Rees' food philosophy.
He is also committed to bettering the food culture in Britain and eventually making a global imprint. In that stated objective, India ranks high on his list of priorities.
'English breakfasts, roast dinners, fish and chips are being replaced by some healthier options that will have a lasting impact on the health of Britishers,' said the chef who was initiated into the profession by his mother.
Honoured with Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 2006 for his services to the food industry, the creations of Rees focus on reducing salt, sugar and fat, which mean a lower calorie intake to directly impact on the people's health and general well-being.
With the ambience of the bygone era at The Orient Express providing the perfect setting, Rees presented his unique dishes as his patrons sipped on Louis Roederer 'Brut Premier' champagne.
The gratifying meal started of with a tartar of smoked salmon on a coriander biscuit with a sherry dressing accompanied by a 2006 Maison Louis Jadot Chablis 1er Cru 'Les Vaillons'.
After a change of palate with a fruity sorbet, the plats principaux comprised duck leg confit with truffle mashed potato and chorizo reduction, delighting the dinners. A 2002 Maison Louis Jadot Pommard 1er Cru 'Epenots' provided the perfect accompaniment.
To round off, he served a summer pudding with lemon curd with distinct Indian flavors.
'There is no fusion but appropriate application,' summed up Rees, who has had a 43-year, hugely-active life and a quarter of a century as a chef. 'Healthcare systems round the globe cannot afford the consequences of bad eating habits.'
The celebrity chef also sees a big role of big retail chains like Tesco and Sainsberry's in spreading the message of eating healthy. Some of the initiatives with Sainsberry's include getting supplies from local meat and cheese suppliers.
For Rees, life revolves around balancing social aspects of his work with other interests of being a consultant, campaigner on health, nutrition, food safety and consumer issues, a food columnist and a demonstrator.
He is the Chair of the School Food Trust and The Children's Food Trust which has nearly 6,000 cooking clubs and nearly 1.75 million members who focus on reducing obesity and bettering the food culture of Britain.
Recently, Rees opened Star Bistro, a unique, award-winning eatery with challenged young people. The Cotswold Chef Food Centre is another hub of activity that delivers bespoke courses to motivate people to the world of great British food and regional ingredients.
'I want to keep coming back to India, as the fast-changing environment offers tremendous opportunity to inspire people,' said Rees. 'I want to inspire them into healthy eating based on diverse local produce.'
(Suvendu Banerjee is president and chief executive of Business Images, a public relations and image Management Consultancy. He can be reached at email@example.com)
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