London's restauranterer calls for saving Banarasi cuisine

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Varanasi, Oct 8 (UNI) A master chef from Jamshedpur, who runs 'Benaras' -- one of the most prestigious restaurants in London -- today called for setting up an institution in this temple city to save the Banarasi cuisine from extinction.

''Our restaurant at Berkley Square in London is tickling the taste buds of the Britishers and NRIs alike with spicy and tasty Banarasi cuisine, including Nimona, Kashifal, Kachauri-Tarkari and refreshing Thandhai. It is surprising the city which gave these scrumptious dishes to the world no longer treasures them and instead, foodies here are running behind unhealthy street-food,'' Chef-Director of Benaras, Atul Kochar told UNI.

The young chef, who cleared the test for admission to medical colleges in Bihar, but later opted for a career in Hotel Management, only to fly to England in 1994 and finally set up 'Benaras' in 2003, said, ''there is an urgent need to save the rich Banarasi cuisane from dying out in the era of rising popularity of food from other parts of India and abroad in Varanasi.'' ''Now, more and more people here want to go for burgers, instead of the salivating Kachauri-Tarkari and the aerated cold drinks rather than Banarasi Thandhai, especially made from fruits, which is a hit in London.'' ''It is the duty of every Banarasi (commoner) to work for preserving the city's signature food, just like lobbying for preserving the world famous monuments and ghats of the tourist city,'' Kochar added.

The chef, who still believes that ''he is just an above average cook,'' said, ''even I am ready to help in setting up the institution, 'Banarasi Rasoyeen,' which will serve as the treasure trove to preserve the mouth-watering Banarasi cuisine.'' Kochar, who came last to the holy city to explore the Banarasi food factory in 2004 said ''that visit helped me to add Nimona and Kashifal to our London restaurant's menu, which is a hit with many celebrities, including the players of Chelsea Soccer Club and even members of World Cup winning English rugby side.

''May be this time, I could append the Bati-Chokha in my menu which could in future tantalise the palate of the peerless Indian Railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav,'' he added.

UNI

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