“Good morning, this is Mir Afsar Ali” the phone came in the morning, maybe after 10 minutes I reached office… And to be honest, I didn’t have any single idea, this phone call will change my life like this. Frankly, apart from running my IT project management and consultancy firm, as a hobby, I write on my food blog with probably world’s strangest name … www.moha-mushkil.com. And, so, this will be the story of how Foodka was born …
Mir Afsar Ali, popularly known as Mir, is one of the most versatile person whom I know as a friend. And so, is Sunando Banerjee. But, very few people know, that these two are big time foodies. Though they do not boast about it, it’s a fact. Now, god knows when, Mir thought of a concept of a web series showcasing and featuring food … and the first partner in this crime was Sunando. And, as his fat, middle aged food connoisseur kaka, I took place. The concept is pretty simple, to showcase the versatility of food offerings with a web series and that too, with a comic relief. Wherein, gradually, it’ll be an online interactive platform, where good food joints across Bengal can be showcased. Also, few well deserving restaurants will be Foodka certified by our specialist team and off course Foodka and Bhaipo and this certification will be renewed on a yearly basis.
Now, the story line here, was thought to revolve around an know-all uncle and his pseudo over-smart nephew (bhaipo in Bengali). In bengali, the junior uncle is called kaka. Now, this quintessential “kaka” is the friendly senior, who has a vast knowledge over almost anything related to food and is easily approachable. So, as there is borokaka, mejokaka and so on…. The foodie specialist, in this line, can be called as Food-kaka a.k.a Foodka, and hence the name. This series will be a journey or rather quest of these two wandering souls. Over the episodes, their attire might change, as well their apparent behavior or dress, but the funny interpersonal relationship will prevail the same.
The trailer for Foodka can be seen by clicking below
Now, if we have to define Bengali food with one item, one of the pioneers will be the Kathi roll. It’s said that around 1930’s, the owner of The Nizam’s helped a foreigner gentleman in managing his parantha and kebabs by putting the kebab inside the Parantha and rolling it, just to avoid the messy affair and from that time, Kathi Roll was born. Earlier, iron skewers were used for making the Kebabs for rolls, but gradually with time, the light-weight bamboo skewers replaced the iron rods and it became what we see today. In the episode, after a brief fight at nephew’s school, Foodka takes him on a city-tour of all the famous roll shops and a number of good / iconic roll shops were featured. The restaurants were Foodka certified , which will be updated in the master database by the back-end team.
Do check the first episode on Kathi Roll by clicking here
The second episode was more on a comical tone. From the historic era, two nebabs were set out to check the best Biryani shops across Kolkata to knock off their boredom, and the viewers are taken on a gala ride. Here, let me discuss the strange case of having potato in Kolkata styled Biryani. The popular belief goes like, potato was a delicacy at the time of Nebab Wazid Ali Shah, and hence it was used along with meat to make Biryani. But the actual story line goes like this….. Sir Walter Raleigh brought the potato from Spain in the 16th century for Queen Elizabeth I as a victory trophy. After that the cultivation of it spread in the British Isles and Ireland specifically. The Portuguese introduced it in India in the early 17th century but had to leave Bengal by 1757 after the Battle of Plassey — my dates may be fuzzy but it coincided somewhat with the British in Bengal. By 1780 potato cultivation had started and the British further spread it aggressively so that by 1830 the potato had reached Calcutta. Cultivation of special varieties had also been started in North Bengal and Dehradun. And while the Bengali had still not quite adopted it as the first recipes books out of Bengal prove, by 1857 it was totally available in Calcutta markets as an exotic vegetable. This spurred the Lucknow aristocracy in Calcutta to use it to replace half the meat in the biryani in order to keep to their reputation for fine dining and yet not feel humiliated by their reduced circumstances. Also, using beef also became widespread as the food of the poor. The Muslim aristocracy, nowhere in India, ever had beef. It was always considred poor man’s meat. This is confirmed by the famous food historian Pritha Sen. Six eminent biryani joints were showcased in this episode as an ode to this staple one-dish-meal in Kolkata.
You can check the second episode on biryani by clicking here
Okay, so, me, a fat, middle edged glutton became Foodka and Mir Afsar Ali became the quintessential bhaipo and our journey started taking its baby steps. Sunando is managing the administration wherein, Turtle films is taking care of the production and Anonymous Productions is taking care of the digital media and creative designing. Overall, it’s a teamwork or should I re-frame it as dream-work, which has just started.
You can check what others have to say about Foodka here …
Do let us know your feedback and which food items you would like Foodka to feature in future. .
And as Bhaipo says …. “Na Iska, na uska, Foodka hain sabka” … Bon apetit !!!
Comments and critics welcome.
I can be reached at [email protected]
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