The word "Gourmet" is being used a lot lately. What does it mean though? Is it expensive food? Or is it plating? Is a tiny portion on a huge plate indicative of gourmet food?
We believe there is no right answer. To us at Cafe StayWoke - it is the entire experience that makes food gourmet. At its core, it is quality ingredients and techniques which make a dish gourmet. Gourmet could also be associated with innovation. We have a Ragi Upma to a Duck Madras Curry to a Mushroom Vol au Vent on the menu.
Another important point is plating. In a cafe, the plating and portions have to be wholesome and comfortable. After all, you tend to frequent a cafe more over a fine dine. Hence a whole new genre - what we like to call "Gourmet Casual" (Courtesy: Tarun Sibal) has emerged which in one simple line makes "The familiar more exciting and the unfamiliar more approachable". Our observation is that with so much exposure these days the line between familiar and unfamiliar food is quickly disappearing. Everyone speaks gourmet. So it’s all the more toughe to keep them excited. We at StayWoke are not very big fans of fusion. We like to retain the original dish we drew inspiration from and just create it our way!
Of course, service is the single thing that binds it all together. As more and more people look for personalized experiences, it is imperative that cafes buck up to provide it. It could be something as simple as accommodating a simple change in a dish. Warmth, especially from owners, also creates a lasting impression. Service has to be quick, unobtrusive and accommodating all at once. In total it has to be your living room experience with very good service.
Costing, lastly is very important. A cafe is not a fine dine where you can charge any amount of money to the consumer. We cannot use truffles extensively in our dishes. So taking simple ingredients and turning them into something extraordinary is the key. We do use a small drizzle of truffle oil - to add a gourmet touch but without making it an expensive affair.
It's a tough line to survive in with so much competition. That little edge in service or food can really help in staying put!
Manali Guha, is young, full of life, energetic soul and proud co-owner of Café StayWoke, Gurugram. Manali began with a graduation degree in Computer Science and Engineering from Heritage, Kolkata followed by a career in software development for three years. Manali is more of a people’s person.