What’s Cooking: A Day with the Chef

Published on: 1/04/2022


Photo title: Chef with his team


Photo Credits: Gautham Gopi

Luxury resorts inherently overwhelm you with the look and feel of their place but only a few of them manage to dish out what actually tickles a foodie’s taste buds. Evolve Back at Coorg doesn’t just charm you with lavish interiors and impressive amenities, it delivers on its promise of bringing you the “Spirit of the Land”. They complement the exclusive experience of staying with them by bringing you food that is authentic and chefs who understand what your palate is craving.


They say first impressions matter the most and the welcome drink at Evolve Back certainly makes that adage hold water. A frozen coffee cube dipped in coconut milk is subtle and one swig is enough to refresh you after a tiring drive to the Chikkana Halli Estate.


The lush 300-acre estate contributes fresh produce to the Evolve Back kitchens—spices like pepper, cloves, cardamon and kokum among others add the dash of flavour that the chef’s preparations need. The paddy fields, jackfruits trees and other fruits from the backyard are used regularly to create seasonal specials. However, it is coffee—the intoxicating aroma of fine Arabicas and Robustas from the plantations—that has earned Coorg the moniker ‘Coffee Cup of India’ adds to the luxurious ambience.


Evolve Back at Coorg has Granary, an all-day coffee shop, Peppercorn, which traces the spice route from India to Europe and is knowns for its grills and sizzlers, and if you would rather sample an all-vegetarian feast, there are North Indian and South Indian thalis available at the Plantain Leaf.


And the three restaurants at Evolve Back, Coorg, obviously means that the Executive Chef has his hands full. A typical day for Chef Kannan involves approving ingredients for all three kitchens, checking the portions that have to be cooked every day and meeting with the three head chefs to discuss the meals. However, the chef considers interacting with the guests his most important task of the day. At breakfast every day, he meets them to gather their feedback and to check on their preferences.

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Photo title: Fried Fish


Photo Credits: Gautham Gopi

While the Pandi Curry—a Coorgi style spicy pork curry—is the local favourite, when Chef Kannan realised I wasn’t going to taste it, he proposed a seafood feast he knew I would savour as a Bengali. I was served a spread that was impossible to resist—the Sizzling Prawns were juicy and the spices gave the dish a burst of flavours, the Rawa-fried Pomfret with a crunchy crust was subtle, and the Tawa-fried Seer fish was delectably seasoned. And lest I forget, on the side I had crispy Squid Rings.


I knew it was sheer gluttony that made me indulge again at dinner but as I said, there was no other option but to yield to temptation. Chef Kannan told me during our chat, “Wherever you go, you’ll get good food but we believe in giving our guests a personal touch.”


It is the small things that make a good vacation remarkable.


Rummana Ahmed

Rummana Ahmed has worked as a journalist for over 17 years. She was one of the founding members of the Rajdeep Sardesai-led CNN-IBN. Most recently, she was with Yahoo India, where she headed current affairs, entertainment and produced and anchored, 'Movies with Rummana', 'Now Streaming' and 'Travel with Rumi'. She is passionate about travel, food and Hindi films. She has travelled to over 14 countries and lived in 6 cities including Detroit and Houston in the USA. Always chasing new challenges, she has paraglided in Turkey and done scuba diving in Havelock and hopes to add sky diving to her adventures soon. She hopes to travel to at least one new destination every year and document her experiences through multi-media channels.

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