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Chef’s Table: Vineet Manocha

Restaurants are taking gluten free choices seriously. Chef Vineet is prioritizing guilt-free menu options in his restaurants

Suchayan Mandal | New Delhi |

The world of culinary is undergoing a massive revolution. While low calorie had been the buzzword in the past, the trend in new age nutrition is low carbs. People are undergoing keto diets, a fat-loaded carb-free diet that has instantaneous effect in weight loss. With people getting conscious, it’s high time for the restaurant business to reinvent. And that’s exactly what You Mee at Greater Kailash in Delhi is all up to. An authentic place for Oriental Cuisine, they have introduced Shirataki Noodles, Japanese noodles made of elephant yam and containing almost negligible carbohydrates and calories. So, the next time you get a craving for some Hakka without guilt, you know where to head.

Chef Vineet Manocha, Senior VP-Culinary at Lite Bite Foods, the parent organisation of You Mee, came up with the idea of gluten-free menu, when some of the customers walked with celiac disease and wanted gluten free. The journey started by importing Shirataki Noodles but then the task was to train the kitchen staff to handle gluten free dishes.

Wondering to what extent you can have your food gluten free? Excerpts from an interview with the chef:

What kind of research did you conduct before coming up with the menu?

While introducing these noodles, we researched the traditional usage of these noodles ~ how they are used in the native cuisine and then adapted them in our menu style suiting the Indian taste buds. While adapting them to suit the local taste palate, we ensured to keep the health aspect intact.

Tell us about some unique ingredients that you use?

While our focus was to create a guilt free health, we added unique products like Brain Octane Oil, cashew butter, coconut aminos, antibiotic-free chicken, Wild Salmon. Shirataki by itself is a very unique product. Brain Octane Oil is a Ketogenic product that boosts brain power and provides better cognitive performance. It is a coconut based product containing caprylic acid triglyc erides, which are easy to digest fats and help satiation / fewer cravings and increased fat burning. Again, Cashew Butter is made from baked or roasted cashews. The product has a very unique creamy flavour, high in protein, unsaturated fats and Vitamin B. Anitbiotic-free Chicken is a farm bred chicken, which grows in natural environs and is totally antibiotic free. Besides we have Wild Salmon, which grows in natural habitat.

What’s special about Shirataki?

Unlike other noodles, which are usually made of wheat or grains, the Shirataki Noodles are a plant product made with Konjac Yam or Konnyaku potato or elephant yam. The noodles get their name because of their white gelatinous appearance. Shirataki literally means “the white waterfall”. The noodles largely contain water and glucomannan, which is a water soluble fibre. They have very low digestible carbs and calories and take flavour of anything that’s added to them.

Where do you procure them from?

The Shirataki noodles used by us are imported from China. But these noodles are also available and used in most of the Far East countries.

How is the indigenous market when we talk about Oriental ingredients?

There is a good availability of Oriental ingredients in our market. These ingredients could be imported as well as indigenous. The local products are mostly sourced from the northeastern states.