ITC Hotels, known as the greenest luxury hotel in the world, is also making a name for itself on the culinary scene—and is one of the first hotel companies to introduce branded cuisine in India.
A New Dehli, India-based hotel chain, ITC Hotels has eleven properties within its Luxury Collection which are located in nine different cities in India. Each property offers unique culinary experiences featuring signature cuisines created by some of the top chefs in the country and the world. Further enticing foodies, ITC Hotels also offers culinary discovery programs through its Food Sherpa Trails offerings.
World-renowned Master Chef Manjit Gill is at the head of the culinary programs of ITC Hotels and its properties feature “Swasthya cuisine”, a term coined by Chef Gill. Proper nutrition and wellness is the core of Swasthya cuisine, which is created through the use of ingredients that are both seasonal and local, using a minimum of energy and incorporating the six rasas: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, pungent, astringent.
One of its signature restaurant brands, Bukhara, is an award-winning restaurant at the ITC Maurya in New Dehli. It offers such signature dishes as Dal Bukhara, and a family-sized naan that is four feet in diameter. Past diners at the restaurant include such world leaders as former Prime Minister of Great Britain David Cameron and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Another one of ITC Hotel’s iconic restaurants is Dum Pukht, which has outposts at ITC Maurya in New Dehli and ITC Maratha in Mumbai. Dum Pukht is dedicated to a 200-year old culinary tradition of slow cooking food, called “dum”. The preparation of the food involves a round, heavy-bottomed pot (a handi) in which food is tightly sealed with dough and slowly cooked over fire. As the food slowly roasts, the rich flavors of the herbs and spices are released. This style of cooking is a revival of India’s royal culinary tradition as the recipes are borrowed from royal houses across the country, from Kashmir to Hyderabad. The restaurant is the recipient of a Conde Nast Traveler Gold Standard Award for World’s Best Classic restaurants. The restaurant was also prominently featured in the book, 1000 Places to Eat Before You Die.
ITC Hotel’s Dashkin restaurant is known for its award-winning south Indian dishes. The restaurant blends the cuisine of the four states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Dishes represent each of these states by using regional spices and differing varieties of rice. Dashkin restaurants are located at ITC Maratha in Mumbai and ITC Windsor in Bengaluru.
ITC’s Bukhara and Peshawri restaurants feature the outdoor cuisine of the Northwest Frontier Province while K&K serves a mouth-watering array of kebabs and other dishes from all over India that are referred to as Quarmas, Qaliyas or Salans. Royal Vega specializes in delectable vegetarian food from the magnificent royal kitchens of India.
In addition to its restaurants that specialize in Indian dishes, ITC Hotels also offers restaurants that feature cuisine from around the world. West View, for example, brings a careful selection of western cuisines from the remote France chateaux, grill houses on the East and West coasts of America, rosy kitchens of English manors, leisurely Mediterranean villas and bustling German marketplaces. Pan Asian is a restaurant serving specialities from China, Thailand, Mongolia, Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia.
Further enticing foodies to its properties, ITC Hotels is now offering a new hands-on cooking school at the ITC Grand Bharat which recently launched a new Food Sherpa Trails program led by top chefs in nine Indian cities. These culinary experiences provide insights into the culture of the destination as guests receive an insider’s perspective of India’s rich history and flavorful food culture from those who know the area best. ITC Hotels’ chefs accompany guests on excursions that range from exploring street food in Bengaluru to visiting the famous Vada Pav stands in Mumbai.
As part of its “green” philosophy, ITC Hotels, which is LEED® Platinum certified, is committed to a “slow food philosophy” that promotes seasonal sustainability of local food sources. ITC Hotels supports the communities where its properties are located by sourcing nearly half of its hotels’ food and beverage needs from local purveyors. So it comes as no surprise that ITC Hotels is known as the Greenest Luxury Hotel Chain in the World.
Carrie Coolidge is a Pursuitist contributor based in Manhattan. From 2009 to 2011, Carrie served as Co-Editor of Luxist, the luxury lifestyle website at AOL where she ran the Luxist Awards, a program that honored the very best in fine living. From 1996 to 2009, Carrie was a Staff Writer at Forbes magazine, where she covered real estate, personal finance and the insurance industry, among other areas. Carrie is also the author of six books, including "The Business of America is Business". Follow her on Twitter: @carriecoolidge