3 Bengalureans on the Global Food Educator List

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Anusha Murthy, Elizabeth Yorke and Vinesh Johny from Bengaluru were named in the category of “Empowering Educators” on the “50 Next: Class of 2022” list released recently.

The list recognizes the people shaping the future of fine dining and was first curated by 50 Best, the UK group known for ranking the world’s 50 best restaurants and bars each year.

food for thought

Anusha Murthy, 30, and Elizabeth Yorke, 29, run Edible Issues. It’s a collective for fostering conversations around the Indian food system through an online newsletter, meetups, workshops, and even kitchens, zines, and playlists.

“The food we eat today is mostly standardized and far from the biodiverse food culture we have. Take bananas, for example. Robusta is the most commonly eaten variety, but it is now on the verge of disappear,” Anusha illustrates why we need to talk about dietary diversity.

Or this: “During a meeting, we reverse-engineered a common cloud kitchen menu on a food delivery app only to find that 14 vegetables contributed to 80 dishes!”

Discussion topics are sometimes focused (such as coffee, edible oils, seaweed and sambar) and sometimes broad (think nutrition, circular economy, caste and food). “We encourage cross-community and cross-industry conversations that can nudge us, the stakeholders, toward more mindful eating behaviors,” she explains.

An underappreciated tool for shaping a sustainable food culture is “building the confidence to cook more at home,” she says.

Anusha is an engineer and Elizabeth a chef. They met in Italy through the Future Food Institute’s food innovation program in 2018 and founded Edible Issues. Today, Anusha is part of a company that builds a food processor. And Elizabeth recycles waste grain from Bengaluru breweries to make flour.

Master the pastry

Vinesh Johny is no stranger to accolades. He is the co-founder and executive pastry chef of the Lavonne Academy of Baking Science & Pastry Arts in Domlur, the first Indian institute specializing in the field. He was on the Forbes ’30 Under 30 Asia’ list in 2016. He was the official mentor for Team India who won our first baking silver medal at World Skills, 2017, and is now their top expert (baking).

Making the World Next 50 list was “surreal” for Vinesh who started a world-class pastry academy in India just 10 years ago so aspirants wouldn’t have to step out. “We had three students in our first group in 2012. Today, 160 students follow our flagship programs each year,” shares the 33-year-old. Big names in the world of pastry such as Nina Tarasova and Frank Haasnoot have given classes there.

He believes that India is on par with its global peers when it comes to the quality of pastry schools, shops, chefs and innovation. “Pastry is a global language. Even if the techniques are European, everyone adds their touch,” he says.

Where are the specialized academies in the era where people learn to cook from vlogs and reels? Vinesh says, “It depends on what you want to achieve. If you want to start a small online business, you can learn a recipe and get good at it. But if you want to get into the industry, you can’t put a single online tutorial on your resume. You need certification and nuance.

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