Sunday, January 2, 2011

'A Culinary Escapade of Goa' wins Best Culinary Travel Guide- India at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2010


Odette Mascarenhas author of the Book ‘A Culinary Escapade of Goa’ has won the prestigious Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2010 from India in the Category ‘Best Culinary Travel Guide’ for a second time. She now gets ready to be pitted against entries from 75 countires vying for 'The Best in the World 2010' Award.

She earlier won the 'Special Jury Award' for a biography of the first Goan Executive Chef – Masci-The Man behind the Legend in 2008.

The book has also been short listed to compete in a glittering award ceremony for the Best in the World at the Le Centquatre Theatre in Paris on 3rd March 2011. . In total this year, books from 75 countries have reached that level of excellence. The process is more like the Olympics, with many specialized competitions for numerous countries. The award ceremony is long, as if all medal ceremonies of the Olympics were held at the same time.

She has also written two books for tweens in the Alfie Alphonso series to develop their potential. Alfie Alphonso The Search for the Mystical Crystal and Alfie Alphonso The Blot on the Canvas. She has a popular Food column called Gourmet’s Delight in the Zest-the magazine section of the Navhind Times

She also anchors a Food TV series, ‘A Legacy for the Tastebuds’ for Goa 365.


Unique in the Book Sector
• Free, open to all
• For books published within the year, useful for bookstores, authors, publishers.
• Over 100 countries participating, in all languages.
• The average country competes in 10 categories: as in the Olympics, one country seldom participates in all competitions.
• Many categories so that each country has a chance: 45 countries will win at least one medal, Gold, Silver, or Bronze.
• Just as in the Olympics, the media report only on winners from their own country. So there are very few winners for each country.
• Small publishers and big publishers, big and small countries all have an equal chance.
• No other sector of book publishing benefits from such an organization.

For Those who Cook with Words
• Honours on one of the most prestigious stages in the world, La Comédie Française in Paris, unprecedented for books, and cookbooks.
• Huge media impact: the Gourmand Awards get over 1100 articles worldwide every year.
• Winning books get often reviewed again, reprinted, translated and distributed in foreign countries.
• At the latest London Book Fair, in April 2009, publishers said “The Gourmand Awards now drive the cookbook business”.
• The scope of the event is similar to the Olympics. The emotion of the long awards show filmed for television is similar to the Oscars.
• No other sector of book publishing benefits from such an international impact. Spread across dozens of countries, for several important books at the same time.

The Winner is the Book
The “Gourmand World Cookbook Award” is given to the book. It is always the result of team work, including often the publisher, editor, art director, writer, chef, stylist, translator, photographer, printer, and others.
The focus is on the book.

About the Book:

Goa on a platter...Fun...Food...Frolic
A Historical and Cultural legacy

What does one do on a holiday? Go sightseeing, relax, sunbathe and gorge on the tempting delicacies that the place has to offer.It was with this idea in mind that author Odette Mascarenhas embarked on her 'escapade' to unravel the culture, history and cuisine of Goa and serve it up on a platter.
It encompasses the different talukas together with the recommended places to eat and visit. With a review of Goa's 40+ restaurants to visit, their specialties will tempt your palate, your taste buds fired with expectancy on what should follow.

The author believes that after a holiday, one should have a recollection of memorable moments spent there...and this book provides it. Reliving traditions, festivals and folklore of the past...a culture which is slowly dying, but still retained in villages. Or perhaps once back home, with a hope of trying out Goa's unique preparations from the top six chefs of Goa... 24 recipes of Hindu Goan, Christian Goan and even Portuguese cuisine.
From a tourists point of view, a panel was instituted to rate and review 40 good restaurants in Goa plus 60 others which could be visited to enjoy a different experience. from speciality based cuisines, to the haunt of local Goans where the fresh catch of the day or a unique curry could have one's taste buds begging for more.
The book also explores the history of Goa throughout the ages...Kadamba, Saraswat, Portuguese the numerous conquests added flavor to the constant evolving culinary preparations as well as to the culture of the land. So backed with the knowledge that the book provides one would be empowered to experience the most enticing 'escapade' of their holiday.


Imagine eating spicy shrimp chilli fry rolled in Bombay duck and crumb fried. Soft flaky fish, spiced up with the flavor of shrimp and crunchy with every bite. You could be pardoned if you kept looking towards the door leading to the kitchen, hopeful with the entry of each service staff an eager thought in your mind…’more is coming?’

Well this preparation is a hot favorite in the by lanes of Lower Parel in Mumbai…next to Phoenix Mills…Jai Hind!. No I am not saluting at a public is the name of the place serving fabulous Konkan preparations.

Now back in Goa with a fresh year looming around the horizon I wonder if any of those ‘exciting’ concepts could create the same ‘gastronomic’ euphoria for me.
‘The Fort Aguada has a ‘new’ concept..’Joe casually remarks…’up market beach shack by day…fine dining by night.’ So we decided to ‘check’ out the place. Rahul Tarneja the Food & Beverage Manager and Executive Chef were there to meet us in the restaurant. Perched high up on the fort..the restaurant had a scenic view of sand and sea…..miles and miles of it…..MORISCO…

‘Well we hoped to create an exclusive ‘shack’ with an open air view,’ states Rahul as I lifted up my head to ‘sniff’ at the salty sea breeze…a great feeling. Now Morisco….stands for ‘seafood’ in Portuguese and looking at the vast array of specialties listed there I could well imagine why…. But let us look at the lunch menu….remember a ‘shack’ by day.

Morisco Susegado! Aha! It spells it out for you. ‘An old age traditional leisurely afternoon…food being cooked from the live kitchen on a slow fire. So what’s cooking? Chicken Supreme Satay with peanut butter, beer battered prawns with BBQ dip, chicken olive sticks with garlic dip, cottage cheese steaks, Arabian lobster, Moroccan spiced chicken, Tenderloin Schnitzel….there is a long list of preparations available on order.
Lets talk about the Arabian Lobster…the spicy morsels tempt your might feel that like Lawrence of Arabia your galloping steed is creating rivulets of sweat to fall down your brow….well yours truly…was truly in that frame of mind…the spices add ‘zing’ and create a ‘speedy’ sensation of wanting to devour more. But hold your horses…this is just one preparation…let’s talk about the cottage cheese steaks. Vegetarians…a pure delight…and the Vegetable fottas-an indianized version of the ‘spring roll’…..even in this enticing array of seafood ‘delights’ chef has something just for you.

Well we are still in the ‘Susegado’ frame of where do the ‘chicks’ come in? Try the Moroccan spiced chicken…the flavor of aniseed, black pepper, cumin on the pan seared chicken…rocko…rocko…rocking feeling. Am I still in the Lawrence of Arabia frame of mind? Perhaps in that we shift gears…we move East…the Chicken Supreme satay…yeah it reigns ‘supreme’ while further down South the New Zealand Lamb chops…take your pick.
By now the evening breeze drifts upon our over heated senses…nothing to do with the temperature of the place…with a belly full of preparations one’s temperature would move up a notch or two. And since we were at one end of Goa…yes the ‘seafaring’ Portuguese used to fill up their ships with water from this very place, we decided that a walk around before dinner was a must.

A transformation as the sun sets and twilight blackens the endless shore. The lights and warmth of the restaurant cannot be denied. A spanking new menu that states…the availability of nearly every available ‘sea-delight.’ Seabass, snapper, pomfret, salmon, prawns, crabs, lobster, shellfish, scallops, squid…you name it…they got it. And have categorized it too. Cast off: with prawn tempura; or for a Tempting Twist-the seafood platter ( a good assortment of seafood delights to savor); Flavor of the Sea: Pan seared Basa with Haldi; Uniquely Goan…Chef Urbano Rego has left his trademark touch here too; and for the Portuguese Connection? The coconut and mango twist or Chef John’s Homestyle Pomfret (the pomfret is marinated in a Raechado mix).

Treasures of the sea indeed…and every Goan’s delight. One would wish for ‘more’ and ‘more’. And with a name like…co…you will feel tempted to ask ‘More is coming?’ and as the New Year brings in ‘More’ than one desires….there is always that little place perched high above the ocean with a dual personality…a shack by day and a fine dining by night…but with one goal in common…with reference to the food. It will have its guests asking for more.

Would Goa be able to match this innovativeness I wondered as we moved towards the ‘Happening’ coastal belt to ‘try out’ the new concept at the Fort Aguada…an up -market beach shack called Morisco.