Food Lab 2021

ABOUT

To say this past year has been stressful would be an understatement. Every routine we were familiar with was disrupted, and all our attention was directed to the virtual world – to stay connected with friends and family, for entertainment, and of course, for work. One of the most pleasurable activities – cooking together, eating together – was no longer possible for so many in the way we were used to. And yet, one of the greatest escapes of this time has been food. Thinking about food. Consuming it through YouTube videos and Instagram reels. Experimenting with recipes both elaborate and simple. Connecting through food by sharing photos and videos of things we cooked with family and friends, or on social media.
 
 But food is so much more than that. At a time when we are questioning the ways in which we consume, food is one of the areas in which inequality is glaring. Food consumption is intrinsically tied to our environment and the positive and negative impact in can have on it. In a country like India, the food histories and traditions are immeasurable.
 
For this year’s Serendipity Arts Residency, we invite two residents to think about the power of food, and all aspects associated with it through a Food Lab. We invite you to address a variety of issues including Food Origins/History; Food Inequality/Sustainability; Food Policy; Food and Culture/Traditions, Nutrition, Food Writing and even Food Design, or any other topic within this area of inquiry.
 
Over a 3-month period, between Aug-Oct 2021, we intend to run this as hybrid residency model which is part virtual part physical (conditions permitting), with an outcome being showcased at our Foundation C340 space. We hope to supplement this residency with a robust programme of (online) talks and workshops.
 
We are keen to keep the outcome of the residency as flexible as possible, and invite residents to think about creative and experimental ways in which they can present their work. Given current circumstances, although we hope to be able to showcase the work physically, we encourage residents to think about the ways in which the work can be presented virtually as well.

JURY

Sohail Hashmi is a historian, academician and filmmaker. He is well-known for his immersive Delhi Heritage Walks for children and adults.  Hashmi also writes about about Delhi, a city he loves, its food, languages, water bodies and monuments in Urdu, Hindi and English, and is an avid cook. He writes and blogs on issues related to culture, language, education and communalism. Sohail Hashmi is the founding Trustee of SAHMAT (Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust).
Manu Chandra is the chef partner, responsible for the hugely fun and first of its kind Gastropub brand–Monkey Bar in Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi; the trendy Asian Gastro Bar The Fatty Bao in Mumbai,Delhi and Bangalore and more recently Toast & Tonic–the East Village inspired International restaurantand bar in Bangalore. He is also executive chef of the much-acclaimed Olive Beach in Bangalore. Manu’s passion for food surfaced at a young age, thanks largely to a foodie family. Manu enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) Hyde Park, New York, where he apprenticed with some of the City’s most celebrated kitchens, including Restaurant Daniel, Le Bernardin, Gramercy Tavern, Café Centro, Jean Georges and Town and also opened the now legendary Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Manhattan. A lover of slow cooking, Manu leans towards painstakingly controlled and cooked things, a process that enables one to extract flavours and textures. On the flip side, he’s fond of incredibly fast cooking, which keeps the integrity of ingredients and freshness intact. A minimalist, he believes that removing an ingredient rather than adding one usually improves the flavour of a dish.
Roshni Bajaj Sanghvi, a graduate of the International Culinary Centre in NYC, lives in Mumbai and writes mostly about food and travel for several publications. She is a contributing editor at Vogue magazine, and has been published in Conde Nast Traveller, Roads & Kingdoms, The Hindu, Mint Lounge, Scroll.in, The Hindu, Saveur, The Guardian, and Travel + Leisure, among others. 
Over her 15-year career, she has been the food editor at Time Out Magazine, the restaurant critic at Hindustan Times, and the food columnist at (the erstwhile) Mumbai Boss, and The Daily Pao. She currently writes across Conde Nast publications in India, and reviews restaurants for Brown Paper Bag.  Roshni is crazy about obscure ingredients, and she always knows where to go back for seconds. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter at @roshnibajaj.

Residency Programmer

As a professionally trained chef and food researcher, Elizabeth Yorke looks for opportunities to use her culinary skills and knowledge in sustainable food systems to create better educational experiences for both consumers and creators of food via the circular economy. She is also the co-founder of Edible Issues, a collective that fosters thought and conversation on the Indian food system.

RESIDENTS

Sharanya Deepak – Birds of Hunger Flock Nowhere
Sharanya Deepak is a writer and editor from New Delhi, India. She writes about food, language, and the commodification of culture, and is currently working towards a book of essays. Read more of her work on her website: https://www.sharanyadeepak.com/

Sharanya’s project ventures into food histories and reflects on the resourcefulness of people who have faced natural and man-made famines, employing ingenuity to source alternative food items. Her proposal aims to study each of these events as a part of food-history, think of their relevance in the present-day, and approach the concept of hunger in a sensitive and reflective way, focussing on the agency and intelligence of those affected that rendered survival against all odds. 

“I want to free the idea of food from taste-centred gastronomy, and in the same, throw light on foods that fed hunger in a way that is not patronising, that is, I don’t wish to call them “humble”, or “minimal” but situate them in a context and attribute to them the value and worth they deserve.”

Tansha Vohra – The Boochi Project: Entomophagy in India
Tansha Vohra spends her time scribbling through cookbooks, growing food in tiny spaces and writing. Her work has appeared in The Goya Journal, Mold Magazine, and Paper Planes. She views the world through the lens of food, and is interested in creating resilient and regenerative solutions to the daily conundrum of feeding ourselves. She has just foraged four weaver ant nests and is recipe testing for a fermented ant chutney.  

During the Serendipity Art Foundation’s Food Lab, Tansha hopes to explore Entomophagy or the practice of insect eating in India. She believes that a curiosity driven approach to food with sustainability at its core is the need of the hour.  

“The Boochi project is meant to be an open invitation to anyone who wishes to taste what the future might look like. This is an opportunity to change the narrative of insect eating as a practice born from scarcity or one steeped in stigma and shame, to one that views it from the lens of preserving food culture and as a future food game changer.”

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