Food Journalism: how to do a good review on Indian cuisine

“There is no sincerer love, than the love of food.”

George Bernard Shaw

India’s romance with food dates way back to the Maharajas times. After all, India does have all the ingredients for a spicy lip-smacking meal. So, when I was given the food-review show, “Feeding Frenzy” as a reporter,  you’d think I’d be happy and excited. I was, but honestly, I was nervous going into this because it was all new to me at first.

Anyways, a few weeks in, and I had found my sweet spot. Loved doing the food reviews but hated having to eat cold food most of the time. Small sacrifices are worth it, wouldn’t you say?

One of the places I visited was a new chain of restaurants that specialized in cuisine from the Western region of Gujarat. Think of history and the first accounts of civilization, the Indus Valley civilization, it all originated from this state. From the Somnath temple dedicated to Lord Shiva to a booming business and manufacturing hub at the epicenter of India’s growing economy, the state has a lot more than historical sites and deserts.

Servers at Rajdhani, vegetarian restaurant, Chennai, India

Servers at Rajdhani, vegetarian restaurant, Chennai, India

That brings me to the gastronomic journey I had when I visited “Rajdhani” a Gujarati vegetarian restaurant that only does “Thalis“, an eclectic blend of starters, entrees, main course and dessert served on a single plate. If that doesn’t fascinate you, the servers don traditional wear and have these silent hand gestures among themselves that indicate when you’re nearing completion of each course in your meal.  How cool is that? No waiting to place your order or drink, it’s all taken care of here. You’ll see what I mean when you watch the video.

An Indian Gujarathi thali

So, unlike doing feature journalism like gallery reviews, food reviews demand a whole different approach.

1. Remember you represent the viewer, so keep reviews good or bad objective and real. Tell me about the food, what you like, don’t like, BE HONEST.

2. Production: The best video or still pictures are when the food is piping hot or freshly served. Work fast, work in every possible angle to get fresh and interesting perspectives.

Production

Be honest with your views; it’s your responsibility to answer doubts a viewer/customer might have

3. No re-takes. While that’s easier said than done, try and keep the re-take to a minimum. The first time is always the best because the honest review is in that take.

4. Be authentic: While in Rome, do what the Romans do. Dress appropriately, enunciate the names as it should be said and dine the way the locals do.

In retrospect, I would have done some things differently about my reviews.

1. Don’t be afraid to judge. You hold a moral duty to give the viewer the truth. If you see that the restaurant is not as clean as it should be, say it.

2. Remember that media is free to all. To ensure global interest, include global comparisons or contrasts.

Enjoy the video!

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