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Food fiesta grips the capital

New Delhi, Nov 28 (IANS) With over 60 stalls, the three-day gastronomic fanfare Palate Fest 2014 at the green environs of the Nehru Park here commenced Friday.

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New Delhi, Nov 28 (IANS) With over 60 stalls, the three-day gastronomic fanfare Palate Fest 2014 at the green environs of the Nehru Park here commenced Friday.

Held in association with New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), the festival makes a great day out with food markets, cookery workshop, tasting and music.

"We wanted families to come and enjoy. It is more like a picnic. With good food and live music, there is something for everybody," Aditi Kapoor, co-founder and director, Palate Fest Pvt. Ltd., told IANS.

Along with good food and music, foodies can take notes during masterclasses by chefs like Ramon Salto of The Leela, Gurgaon, Felipe Moreno of the Spanish Embassy and Manish Mehrotra of Old World Hospitality.

"There are between 60 and 70 stalls. We have asked the participants to give small portions at small price because visitors would like to try out from different stalls. Cash and credit cards are accepted," said Ruchi Sibal, co-founder and director, Palate Fest Pvt. Ltd.

The festival sees participation by reputed hotels like The Oberoi, J.W. Marriott and The Taj Mahal Hotel-New Delhi, Vivanta by Taj Ambassador.

There are other popular restaurants too such as Punjab Grill, Chokola, Habibi, Tikka Town and Sakae Sushi.

"Delhi, as the national capital, has been a melting pot for the entire country's cuisines and cultures. This palate festival will be a great way of bringing out our diversity with even greater grandeur along with other international cuisines," said Bharatiya Janata Party MP Meenakshi Lekhi, who attended the opening ceremony of the fest Friday.

O.P. Mishra, director, NDMC, also graced the occasion and was happy to offer almost 20 percent of the park, popular among joggers, for the event.

"We get many travellers from US, Bangladesh, Canada and Britain. But it seems like most of them are transit passengers and have some kind of tie up with Taj hotels. So when they come, they just touch Taj and go back. We have to break that and make them stay longer," Mishra told IANS.

He also shared that their average stay in the capital is 0.8 day and hosting a festival like this one can help to attract tourists.

"We need to host more events. People just go to monuments and all. They can explore the gardens too," he said.

Sakae Sushi, which serves Japanese and Pan Asian cuisines, is participating for the first time in a festival like this and hopes to popularise the Japanese cuisine.

"Japanese food is very healthy and we want to offer it at affordable price to as many people as possible. We want to create awareness about the cuisine. We have soups, combo meals, Gyoza and more," said Chandrima Agarwal, CEO, Transport Corporation of India Apex Pal Hospitality Pvt. Ltd.

Anushka Kakkar, co-founder of Divin-e-licious, has been a regular participant of private exhibitions during festivals like Diwali and Christmas. She considers such events a good platform for her company, co-founded by her sister Gayatri Kakkar in 2008.

Xenia Lam, manager of Machan, The Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi, also finds it a "healthy environment to exchange ideas".

"The festival is catering to a lot of people and we want to to be a part of it. We are offering keema pav, pav bhaji and more at just Rs.300 (inclusive of taxes)," she said.

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