'Fusion is a marriage that shouldn't end up in a divorce. It's the merging of two cuisines or a technique and a cuisine that is not confusion, its pure fusion!'
Fusion food usually involves merging various culinary traditions. As a chef, I feel that it's all about blending culinary worlds and experimenting, as that makes the process of cooking a lot more fun. It involves creating new flavor profiles by mixing cooking styles. The idea is also to have a global perspective of something as simple as cooking and eating.
I feel fusion food is also an attempt to bridge the gap between different cultures, worlds, identities, old and new traditions. Fusion food may sound overwhelming, but you are what you eat and that speaks a lot about you. Stand alone Fusion is experimental and so are people.
Fusion food has always been something that has intrigued me. You can notice it in the variety of concoctions I create. From my signature dish since 4 years, the Baked Boondi Gulabjamun cheesecake to Mango/Pistachio Sev Barfi tarts, it's been an ecstatic ride. To name a few others, Asian Gnocci 65, Strawberry Papdi Chaat, Rasmalai Panna Cotta, Paan parfait, Achaari Paneer Nachos, Curry Paneer Tacos, Pull apart Dabeli, Vada Pav Vol Au Vents, Baked rabri gulab jamun with oats crumble, and a lot more.
Baked Boondi Gulabjamun cheesecake is more like the classic dish of my career. The interesting thing is how it all began. I remember very vividly that almost 4 years ago, my husband (who is also one of the main inspirations in my life and the core of my support system) had a similar fusion cake and he wouldn't stop gushing on it. Being the Virgo that I am, I took it up as a challenge and decided to make something equally interesting and preferably egg-less since Indians love egg-less desserts. That is how I created the Baked Boondi Gulabjamun Cheesecake which turned out to be the most loved dish I've made till date. The fact that it was eggless made it all the more appealing and hence, it became the turning point of my career.
The sheer thrill of mixing two distinctive flavors gives me immense joy. Also, my main aim as a teacher who teaches other aspiring chefs is to bridge the gap between the East and West through their distinctive cuisines. Also, I feel fusion cooking/baking can never get boring or monotonous. I feel there is always something extremely interesting that awaits us on mixing two different ingredients or techniques. One of the most common yet vast genres of fusion would be European and Asian cuisine. Asian recipes are fun to experiment with as most of the ingredients merge well with the other ingredients than from any other cuisine. Whereas, European techniques and ingredients prove to be quite versatile themselves. Thankfully, people are more accepting when it comes to fusion creations these days than they ever were. As evergreen as classic dishes are, it's time to upgrade and attempt new classics. The amazing fact is that, people now want to experience global cuisine, especially exotic ones as they ensure a certain kind of exclusivity and luxury.
It's always a delightful idea to explore and create, learn and grow and in that process, embrace some delicious fusion cuisine!
By Chef Rakhee Vaswani