Monday, July 31, 2006
no write-up of lakshmi mittal is complete without mentioning about his love for indian vegetarian food and penchant for bengali sweets- rosogolla and mishti doi. and when he throws a lavish party he can think of only one person who can take charge of the kitchen. and that is deepak kumar singh alias munna halwai and now known as munna maharaj.
he is caterer par exccellence, at least so do all the rich and famous marwaris think. whether it is a marriage at birlas or singhanias or bangurs or jalans or goenkas or mittals, it has to be the one and only munna. panderer of the palates of the rich and famous. orphaned at the age of 16 in 1979, munna hails from gaya. he moved to burra bazar in kolkata a few years later and started cooking for marwaris for all occasions-births,weddings and funerals .he prepares both vegetarian and nonvegetarian delicacies, though marwaris are essentially vegetarians.munna shot into prominence when at kumaramangalam birla's wedding he worked continuously for 15 days and 15 nights.
a mittal family favourite,munna is a jet setting caterer. and he has his troupe of chaatwallas who accompany him. his cooking prowess is legendary. he can make 15000 dinners in one sitting.with his team of 38 chefs he flew into paris and pitched his tent in the palace of versailles where vanisha the only daughter of laxmi mittal got married over nine day celebrations. and he brought with him gobindo bhog,chandramukhi aaloo and phulkobi.the menu card read-thyme,basil and oregano blended with freshly ground saffron and cinnamon. also served were wild blueberries embellished with tender paneer(cottage cheese) served in a bed of creamy malai.his jodhpuri chakki ki subzi and the nine course baadaam mithai were smashing hits.
he is an entrepreneur too. he owns "marwar", a 10,000 sq ft restaurant in kolkata. on loudon street(where we lived) he is about to acquire "jewel of the east" another upscale restaurant. he even owns a pub near la martiniere school and true to his mentor's style he has picked up a stake in the financially troubled night spot "blue fox". he is chairman of "neelamber caterers" his group company. this gourmet wonder and food magician of india as he is referred to, uses for special occasions imported china,pure crystal and genuine silverware.
munna maharaj has come a long way. from rags to riches.