At one time, an exciting culinary experience meant visiting a good establishment for a meal. Eating out at a fancy restaurant was about as adventurous as it could get. Today, the entire term ‘culinary experience’ has been redefined. People are so enthusiastic about food and getting more involved that it is not just about a restaurant meal. There are plenty of start-ups that help you with ordering food home, reviewing restaurants and even providing you with pre-cut and almost ready-to-eat meals, where you just need to add the finishing touches at home.
Trends like these are plenty, but the most exciting of the lot is the sudden rise of culinary studios. It would seem unimaginable to launch an entire space dedicated to cooking enthusiasts and aspiring bakers and chefs, but there are plenty of studios doing just that. We are not talking about culinary school with courses and classes, but a more relaxed and inviting environment where people can opt for a class of their choice and have fun while learning to bake or cook. There are several that have mushroomed all over the city, but these are a few that we love and have personally tried and tested.
One of the very first to launch a space like this is Rushina Ghildiyal, along with her husband Shekhar, in Andheri East. A Perfect Bite, or APB Cook Studio as it is fondly called, has been curating some very exciting classes and has given amateurs a space to thrive. The pantry is always stocked with fun ingredients, and there are individual workstations where each person can cook and get their hands dirty. There are a host of classes to choose from, but the most exciting of the lot is their effort to revive old, lost cuisines and highlight the importance of regional Indian cuisine. While the world focuses on cupcakes, Mexican and dim sum classes, this studio does all that and much more. The latest offering at the studio is their book club, which is ideal for food and book lovers, and, once again, is the first of its kind.
Mumbai’s very own macaroon queen, Pooja Dhingra, launched her own culinary space called Studio Fifteen in Lower Parel and it has been a hit ever since. While the classes she personally teaches (cupcakes, macaroons, etc.) are by far the most popular and are sold out instantly, the other classes are also very actively attended. This studio is much smaller in size, and more of a demonstration space than one where you can cook along, but it is cosy and ideal for smaller groups.
The newest studio that we really enjoy is Flavour Diaries by Chef and cookbook author, Anjali Pathak. Anajli moved from England to set up a space in Mumbai where you can learn international cuisines and understand food better. The studio is one of the largest in the city and doubles up as a great space for various other culinary experiences. There are individual workstations, lots of natural light streaming in, and the most amazing collection of recipe books, along with a little nook where you can sit and enjoy them.
Follow Roxanne @The Tiny Taster
Better known as the Tiny Taster, Roxanne is an internationally respected blogger and expert on the Mumbai food scene. She has hosted many events, including the Upper Crust Food & Wine Show and travels the world, sharing her knowledge and gaining more experience.