Soul Food

“Soul food is a variety of cuisine that comes from the traditional dishes of the Southern United States and originated from the food prepared and consumed by enslaved Africans and freedmen; later to become a staple of African-American culture”- Wikipedia.

My memories of childhood included food which were deeply associated with tantalising flavours, tongue tickling, heavenly and mesmerising dishes prepared with less dependence on technology and natural ingredients. Memories of my mum’s dishes included manually ground spices, prepared gravies, sauces and pastes, human touch and more flavour to preparations. I am sure, this is not my case alone, many of my peers would agree with me, preparing and cooking was much more natural and simpler as compared to the present day.

In today’s instance however, a soul food may be referred to food which is prepared without much adornment and glamour attached. It is simple and tasty, fresh, sumptuous food, enjoyed more when really hungry and well appreciated. These dishes could be prepared easily with simpler cooking methods and presentations. These preparations may include components, plated without much attention to positioning or finesse in entirety.

I consider soul food to be as satisfying to the stomach as it is to the mind. Being a chef, it brings a sense of satisfaction and happiness while preparing dishes which I like and enjoy. These dishes do not belong to any specific cuisine or region, nor a particular flavour or texture, but they are heart warming and thirst quenching. Food prepared from the heart tells on the state of mind as evenly on the cook as on a rook!

“A recipe has no soul. You as the cook must bring soul to the recipe” – Thomas Keller.

Vinod Radhakrishnan

A food production professional for the last 20 years, graduating in hotel management from India, he subsequently obtained a Masters in Hospitality Management from Wales Bridge University, USA. Has been associated with some of the finest international hotel chains such as Hyatt, Intercontinental (Six Continents Club) etc. and various fine dining outlets in the GCC and the Middle East. Has also been part of pre-opening properties (hotel & restaurants) in these regions namely Oman, Qatar & Bahrain. A culinary trainer for the last 10 yrs. working in culinary schools in India and the UAE, he has been with ICCA since 2006 and has been instrumental in developing its training curriculum. A certified food safety ​ ​trainer​, certified instructor from American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) as well.

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