Flavour Diaries

Discern Chats with Chef Anjali Pathak

Flavour Diaries

Anjali Pathak entertains for a living. She is a chef and food writer who was trained in the UK before moving home to India to open Flavour Diaries. Flavour Diaries is an interactive foodie space where Anjali hosts hands-on cooking classes and private dinners in her spacious, open kitchen. The space is perfect for group gatherings where you want to do something a little more engaging than going out for a meal. Her culinary expertise extends to European, Asian, Mediterranean and American cuisines offering Mumbaikars that chance to become the chef of their own dreams! Anjali has been cooking and entertaining for years which is why we asked her for some tips that we could use at home during the festive season.
 
Chef Anjali Pathak
Chef Anjali Pathak

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What is your philosophy when it comes to entertaining at home?
Keep it simple. I like to cook easy dishes so I spend less time trapped in the kitchen and more time having fun with my guests. If you plan well you can make flavourful dishes that taste like you've been cooking for hours.
 
Flavour Diaries
Anjali and her Team at Flavour Diaries

What are your tips on the following:
Food - Simple menus packed with flavour are the key to great entertaining at home. For a Diwali party, the way you serve your food can depend on how many people you are expecting. Always keep in mind the number of seats you have versus guests as you don’t want the majority of your diners standing up to eat food where they may need to use their hands.
 
 Chef Anjali Pathak
The Session 

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Lighting - Low lighting and candles work well to create a beautiful ambience. During Diwali I love using lots of diyas and candles, you can even scatter diyas around your home and also on the dinner table. An important note- make sure that your dining area is well lit so that your guests can see your beautiful creations!
 
Flavour Diaries
Low Lighting Ideas

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Lotus Wax Floating Candles - Shop Now
 
Decor – Décor is very personal and it’s all about expressing your personality. Know your style and don't change too much to the decor you've already created at home. I always do one last sweep through all my rooms before my guests arrive to ensure everything is neat and tidy.

Flow of the night - I like to start with canapes and a glass of bubbly. Small bites are the best way to begin your night as they tease the palate. During Diwali, people tend to enter at various times so this ensures that no one is hungry while waiting for dinner to be served. Make a few platters of appetisers and leave those on the table for guests to help themselves to. Once everyone has arrived, I like to serve large, family style dishes in the middle of the table. I encourage everyone to dive in and help themselves. I believe these sharing style meals are the most memorable as it’s a common experience for all your guests.
I prefer to lay out dessert in the living room or wherever guests are seated so that they can eat at their own pace. I always serve an indulgent sweet treat as well as something savoury such as cheese and crackers. Finish the evening with a round of dried fruit and chocolates!

 
Flavour Diaries
Flavour Diaries at Night
 
Seating - I prefer to start in the living room where there should be ample seating for everyone to lounge and chat before dinner. I set the dining table and ask everyone to find their own seats. I'm not too keen on seating plans and prefer everyone to mingle as much as they can.
 
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DrinksStart with a sparkling drink such as champagne or prosecco, or mocktails for guests that don't drink alcohol, to get everyone ready for a fun evening ahead. I then move onto wine and choose wines that work well with my menu. Dessert deserves a sweet wine, followed by soothing teas to round off the meal. 
 
Chef Anjali Pathak

Wine glass
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Music- As a huge fan of 80's music I love to play some easy listening tracks. I love the heart-warming roar of laughter over my playlist and keep the sound level low enough so guests can chat and make memories. It’s always nice to play music that you personally like.
 
Anjali Pathak’s
failsafe advice for entertaining- The festive season is the best time to serve all your favourite dishes! The best kinds of dishes are those that can be prepared or prepped the day before. Don’t be embarrassed to order certain special dishes as we all know that certain meals are better left to the masters. Make your room sparkle with lots of candles and diyas
and honestly, know your limits. The worst thing you can do is spend the entire evening stressing about a dish or situation you cannot control. Guests can only have as much fun as the host so enjoy your evening and let things flow.

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Devika Pathak is a Mumbai-based freelance writer who enjoys the cinema, yoga and chocolate chip cookies. She's secretly a Panda, too. To learn more about her and her work, please visit www.devikapathak.com.

 
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