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Home-style cooking mantra for the menu



Her age is not once felt when she speedily moves across the enormous kitchen counter putting people half her age to shame with her adroitness and alertness. 67-year-old Usha Batra, Director, Food Advisory at Cafe Delhi Heights, has everything it takes to be successful behind the stove. As she spearheads the new menu launch at the restaurant, she chats with us about how knowing how to cook isn’t enough. You must be driven by pure madness to flourish in the business.

For her, it’s important to ensure revised menus bring home increased profitability but also abundant customer excitability. Driven by the simple principle of people wanting change, she says, it’s crucial that restauranteurs introduce newness into their menus regularly. “This time I told my team to introduce simpler, more home-style things. You may ask why home style? I say why not? People are becoming conscious about health. They prefer cleaner food that’s familiar,” says Batra.

She’s incorporated things like Quinoa poha, Oatmeal poha, English tawa fry vegetables, Mushrooms with parsley, garlic and chillies, Calcutta chowmein, her Signature Rogan josh, Double cooked Belgian pork belly, Cool baby potatoes with chillies and sesame seeds, Chilli garlic prawns with asparagus, Dhaba style stuffed prantha, and a lot more.

“People would come to my home and ask me to cook my signature dishes for them. They thoroughly enjoyed it. This made me realise I could take all of it and put in onto the restaurant menu too,” she says.

The entire Indian menu section at the restaurant, therefore, comprises of her recipes. It’s a mix of things she’s grown up having along with those that she has developed a taste for later in life.
The one thing that, besides her food, leaves a great aftertaste, is her confidence. She loves cooking and makes no bones about talking about her talent in the kitchen. It’s this authentic passion for it that she also puts into everything she prepares. Perhaps, that’s her secret ingredient for delicious food.

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