Tolerance or Menace? 


As a travel writer and consultant, i am of the firm belief that a place is defined by the holistic society that comprises it lending itself to the aura and experience of ‘tourists & guests’ that visit it. 
The burning question today in the Times of India. 
Is the menace of hawkers & beggars on beaches giving Goan tourism a bad image? 

Hawkers and beggars are either direct or indirect outcomes of the society that creates them. From a tourist stand point it’s important to note that it does tarnish the overall experience of the state or any other state/ country for that matter in the same breath as infrastructure, security etc. 
The experience of a tourist friendly destination is the seamless integration of all these factors involved making it ‘tourist friendly’ for all who visit our lovely state. 

Though I’d take a step back and split the two in entirety- hawkers sell products to earn what some would call a ‘honest living’, beggars prey on the emotional quotient of humans as a outreach program for help and monetary motives. 

Why? Cause ‘no thank you’ , is never taken at face value. I’ve seen them pester tourists into involuntary submission just to not have them hang around them. This also has a negative impact on us as a tourist friendly destination. As mentioned earlier it’s deep seeded and is more than meets the eye.

Tell me what you think. Here’s my take and personal opinions on it. 

Objectivity & Opinions 


Over a gifted night of wine & cheese in the solace of my own dominion, I read this phrase that stuck with me till date. 

‘Opinions are like arseholes, Everyone has one’

Without too much of a pun on the word, in my ‘opinion‘ everyone is entitled to their own as long as they don’t subject it on the likes of others around them- at times forcefully imposing their point of view leading to culling objectivity in the process. 

A beautiful piece written by a talented fellow blogger for OHeraldo in Goa- Fernando Monte da Silva and I share a few thoughts on the subject. 

My excerpts as follows:

“In the field of throwing open ones ideas up in the air objectively speaking of course- is the false assumption of acceptability from multiple thoughts alike. Basing that assumption the objectivity of food is that of Russian roulette from multiple factors ranging from the chef having a lovers tiff to the improbability of sourcing the right ingredients thus leading to lack of continuity and monotony to produce the same fare time and again matching to expected objectified standards by patrons. 

As a writer it’s imperative to understand the perception of the chef to allow a deconstruction of his food through a presentation and taste storyline for acceptance and approval from the concerned recipient. Many a times, this is lost in translation thus leading to objectivity been thrown out the window without caution. Influencers and foodies alike play a integral part in this constructed ‘storyline’ and it needs to be cajoled with utmost love and care. Failure to do so would lead to quite the catastrophe. 

Let’s  break it down with an example. Not a particular fan of aubergine- does that make the ratatouille carefully crafted unpalatable to describe and eat to my readers? Objectifying the process and the closeness to home is something everyone looks forward too in a meal given Nuevo cuisine and international fare.

 Objectivity of a writer is paramount as their recommendations form the quantitative basis of food making its way to multiple palates for them to make a decision accordingly.”

“Monetization for the art of writing and blogging is a trend that has long been in parlance just as paid media is these days. 

My opinion on that is just cause it’s monetized, a seasoned writer should not be influenced by the same. There are two independent parallels. Cash for goods and services in this case words. 

Writing is an art form indeed and a mature writer should not allow the cost of words dictate the truth behind them. Are we saying that if it weren’t paid it would be truthful? There are two sides to that story. 

There are many incognito writers I am aware off who go unannounced and craft beautifully written articles, however died out naturally in coverage due to ‘life’ happening to them in the interim. Eating out is a serious business these days and let’s not forget extremely expensive. 

Having said that the cycle of ad space vs articles is something people are banking on these days. Also there should ideally be no demarcation between traditional media and website blogs. A few known blogs have coverage close to rival of many regional papers and hence capitalize on the same much like how newspapers and magazines run. 

More eyeballs. Having said this in the matter of objectivity it’s a sharp sword. Once bitten indeed if a writer is not true to his word it shows through the readership of fans knowing that monetization ruined the piece written was not objective enough. 

All it takes are a few bad reviews and voila, one loses credibility in the eyes of all.”

Thank you for a wonderfully crafted piece.  

mr. NObody and The Goan 

Hello one and all. Currently living out of my suitcase, managed to have a lovely chat with the folks at The Goan recently. 

A lovely tete-e-tete with Kurt Bento about the world of mr. NObody and his views on the world of gastronomy. 

The full interview with mr. NObody. 
  

What prompted you to do this culinary journey to different cities and countries over the past months? And where do you go? 

mr. NObody is a lifestyle blogger,showcasing travel and food from India and the world. This year the focus is on quest for the Michelin trail and South East Asia as a region. So far he has travelled to Dubai for the ‘Eat the World Food  Festival’ followed by a Michelin starred restaurant by Vineet Bhatia and Bangkok for another two starred chef. A few institutional restaurants were on the list which included Bread Street by Gordon Ramsey, Zuma in Abu Dhabi and Long table in Bangkok. 

You’re mr. NObody,aren’t you? Why the avatar? 

I grew up in a world where everyone places a value on self importance. Everyone today is a somebody or wishes to be one. With a pun on the word NO- Nolan and heavily inspired by the lyrics of Marilyn manson and his song ‘The Nobodies‘ growing up, the character was born. It’s my satirical take on the importance of man. 

You’ve been to some interesting and new innovative places in Mumbai/Delhi, tell us about them. 

Interesting would be an understatement. Some insanely creative, to knock ones senses silly. For example, Ziya in Mumbai – for a special preview of the Jugalbandi festival comprising of three Michelin starred chefs coming to blend Italian, India and Far East Asian (Japanese predominately) for a 8 course meal of gastronomic delights, with a touch of class or panache eating on a limited edition gold plated crockery from Italy. A true master piece of opulence and flavorsume creativity; indeed. 

The crowd in Mumbai/Delhi respond to new places, new innovations in food etc. Goa doesn’t have that big a market base, so do you think we’ll ever see that kind of innovation here?

Mumbai and Delhi are the yin & yang sisters of the culinary food world. The buzz is eclectic, vibrant and cut throat thus raising the standards of the consumers culinary palate. Restauranteurs bring their ‘A’game, day in and out in order to survive, let alone thrive. The consumers are globally aware- hence being up to date and abreast of the latest happenings is a must. A concept is only good for an few years, at most,as most customers fatigue of the same as soon as they have adopted the same.  A few restaurants however have stood the test of time and retained their legacy till date. For upcoming entrepreneurs it’s an exciting time to get into the culinary field indeed. A challenge ,so to speak with a huge payoff if done right. Goa;  I am pleased to note is opening up to the same given the same customer base who flock to the location as a relaxing party destination. Speciality restaurants are sprouting up and I have been witness to an iota of the innovations at standalone and starred properties alike. So, I am quite pleased. 

With the advent of social media and the Internet, identifying a Michelin recipe demonstration and trying ones hand at it, has become accessible. Many creative chefs here have showcased their wares which I have highlighted in a dedicated article on my blog. 

Your experience at Gordon Ramsey’s restaurant in Dubai was interesting. Tell us about that. 



For starters, no food was thrown out the kitchen, neither did it have anyone leave for the main door crying. Then again its probably cause he was at the Oscars during my visit there.

 On a serious note, I have had a brief meeting with him earlier and he is a gem of a person. I was amazed for a multitude of reasons. First, the simplicity in a world of complexity and too much happening on ones plate. His ethos is simple. Wholesome food to be shared is the motto. The portions are huge. There is no fancy plating-just presentable. 

The kitchen is a dream and its line mechanism is splendid to the view of an orchestra pyramid setting. After all dishing out service that ensures ones order reaches the table in under 7 minutes for a 400 odd seater restaurant- is symphony at play. 

The little nuances- details from subliminal design to belt buckles of the server being the Union Jack flag, adds the finness to a well oiled machine and keen eye. 5 dishes consumed including dessert and my meal ended before it started- In 30 minutes flat. Quite an interesting case study. 

Tell us about Michelin and its latest craze that has gripped many foodies around.  

It’s interesting you ask that question. What I love about Michelin is the origination of the concept. How a tyre company got into the world of food and being reverred as one of the most sought after institutions to be associated with. In my limited tryst with a few chefs associated with it, it’s the level of commitment and creativity in the subjectivity of cuisine and marrying a few to create ‘nuvo cuisine’ that drives them. 

It’s exhilarating to see the passion exuded in the quest for something that is terrifying as well as visually stimulating as some foods do not play well with others. A dish could go completely awry and that’s the risk they take day in and out, to get the perfect concoction. A work of edible art in a matter of speaking. Also another philosophy I truly appreciate is the concept of less is more. Given today’s need to try and sample as much as one can digest in one sitting, emphasis of less is more in a portion- is something they are masters off. 

This adds to a lot of creativity as well as a whole rounded meal as a by product, leaving the customer to experience a holistic dining experience while at it. 

 What is the common thread with modern restaurants today. How do they change things up?

Restauranting today is evolving into an art form for many. Visual appeal is the call for hour in an age of Instagram and social media. ‘Eat with ones eyes‘ is the moniker many restraunteer folk are banking on. And everyone, (self included) is on a Michelin sojourn- to experiment, pair and follow the latest trends of mixing and pairing cuisines from across the world. It’s a format that is adopted which is acceptable to many. Small and precise with immense visual appeal to intice the wow factor in consumers. 

Having said that its great to see the level of creativity used to make dining an ‘experience‘ instead of just dishing out voluminous plates of curries and gravies with side garnishes as an after thought measure. The trend indeed,is, in a momentous change for the better. 

South East Asian food is always light and healthy. Can we learn from the Thais and Malaysians when it comes to creating healthier and lighter food? 

I believe it’s universal. Leaving aside an ethnicity of sorts, many cultures have hidden treasures which are globally adopted. Take for example Greek and Mediterranean food. It’s light. Filled with wholesome goodness from the oils to salads made. 

In my opinion, a big error in the past,in the Indian context was the trifecta of oil, sugar & salt and loads of spice plastered across dishes to make it platable for the end consumer. This would be wrong on so many levels as the flavour emitted from certain meats and vegetables would get lost in the preparation. That trend is nearly extinct due to change in pattern of the evolved customer who are adapting to a lighter, less portioned served healthier lifestyle of dishes. The calorie conscious customer is defining the trend these days. 

What’s your go to cuisine, apart from Goan food? And if you had a chance to cook just one dish for your culinary idol, what would it be? Are you a good cook, btw? 

mr. NObody is a culture vulture. In a current frame of mind, I am fresh off Thai herbs and spices and am tripping on pad Thai noodles- relished at an ashram in Thailand. However right before that I was in love with the simplistic spice rub on a lovely kebab in Abu Dhabi. Thyme and herbs salt rubbed on succulent meats grilled to perfection. 

However, I love to experiment with salads and greens as a daily detox diet when I’m not working my tastebuds to the ground. Cooking for my culinary idol is tough one. First and foremost living in a household of food writers and hospitality professionals my writing is under scrutiny let alone my cooking skills. 

For those who know me, my love for barbecues is paramount. So it would probably be something on the spit with a refreshing mock tail/cocktail for company. Perhaps a good oriental seasoning rub over a local fish. 

A good cook? One and all are invited over and let me know your thoughts post. 

Ant’s in my pant’s 

Many of you reading this post would relate to a statement in the affirmative if I stated ‘The ants in my pants, take me places’. Before you get naughty, let me course alight your ‘thought trajectory’- it’s directed towards my thoughts travelling at the speed of light and my body taking me places on roller blades ( I can hardly roller blade to save my life). I’ve lived the life of a nomad ever since I can remember. That would explain traversing and immersing myself in the culture of 5 states so far, though, all along being a true blue GOAN at heart. 
My last port of call was Aamchi Mumbai. I was content with the hustle bustle the city offered. The adrenaline rush garners from mad traffic jams, the eccentric neighbor hanging her inner’s for a breakfast view which was always abrupt (thank god for small mercies) except the occasional Sunday morning. Oh, the pollution and the smell of salt water form the docks nearby. I loved it all- learnt to love it more likely. Though, what did tug at me, was being away from the motherland- (NOT Portugal folks!!), GOA. 

Anyone who hears of someone coming back to Goa from the world outside, would whisper in closed circles of NOT being able to cut it in the real world and hence come running home to Mummy & Daddy. 

I always wondered, after 13 successful years in Corporate India ,what would Goa have to offer that I couldn’t find waiting for me outside? The answer would come to me a few years later-A state of mind. No pun intended. 

These days, I wear a multi dimensional hat and travel destinations my readers (i.e. YOU) get to read through my writings (aka rantings) 

People ask my parents- ‘what does Nolan do?‘ The poor folk with a befuddled ‘deer caught in headlights look‘ on their face,fail miserably on most occasion. A typical Lost in translation moment. 

If I have to straight jacket it in a nutshell for all you potential matchmakers out there- I consult for a few corporates and handle branding and marketing solutions along with a predominant role in the Hospitality, Lifestyle and Travel Industry. I am a techno savant. What is that? Ask Google. And, I live out of a suitcase 14-17 days a month (on a slow month

As a consultant, it allows me to lend suggestions and help boost the tourism of our fair state as an influencer, of a different kind of Goa- (that would entail NOT! entertaining last minute requests from ‘friends’ who need passes for Sunburn orSupersonic every December.)It’s for the betterment of Goa- rich in so much heritage and culture, food and traditions, and more importantly blessed with a right balanced ecosystem. 

A Goa, who I have shamefully abandoned all these years , in the quest for something better out there- only to realize it was here all along. 
Here’s to you GOA. Proud of be GOAN. 
The Burning Question- Times of India on hinteland tourism 
 

The Burning Question on transportation and taxi drivers in Goa-about their rude behavior and whether justified? 
 

Welcome to the Blog Party 

Woke up this morning to a lovely piece written about one of my communities- the bloggers and content generators in the OHeraldo newspaper in Goa. Aptly put and described with a holistic view on media and where it’s heading. 

A BIG shoutout and thanks to my fellow blogger and writer Fernando Monte da Silva for this piece. 

Stop reading, start blogging. Our tribe calls out to YOU

 

The Trinity Medallion 

The Trinity Hospitality Expo was held at the Dr SP Mukherjee Indoor Stadium Goa from 25-27th August which showcased the entire gamut of products and services for Hospitality, Institutions and Corporates, Lifestyle and facility management.

On 26th August 2015 in the evening our Hon Chief Minister Mr Parsekar graced the ocassion where he presented a plaque to Ms Odette Mascarenhas – international author, food critic and TV celebrity for her award winning book The Culinary Heritage of Goa for getting the Best in the a World competing against 40 countries for historically researched recipes and self published books.

In addition he presented a Lifetime Achievement Award in honour of Goas first executive chef Masci to our over own Master chef Urbano do rego for his contribution to the hospitality industry for over 4 decades.

The Chief Minister gave away these awards amidst a select gathering of hospitality professionals and general managers of 5 star hotels and he reiterated the excellence showed by these two distinguished personalities to take GOAN cuisine and hospitality to the world. He showered praise and accolades and made a mention that these two awardees could be role models for the youth and that one must strive for excellence in whatever field they choose and do it with passion. He touched the hearts of the select audience with his brief comments interspersed with wit that had the audience in splits of laughter.

Congratulations mum. As you always taught me- the sky is the limit. Keep reaching and trailblazing for more and ill try and follow.

Hon. CM of Goa- Mr. Parsekar presenting the award to Odette Mascarenhas
 Pic courtesy: Nolan Mascarenhas Photography