Indian Pop Singer Might Open Restaurant in Dubai

Published June 30th, 2017 - 05:23 GMT
Anaida at Jack Daniels Rock Awards. (File photo)
Anaida at Jack Daniels Rock Awards. (File photo)

If her food were like her music, we’d all be on a sugar rush. When Love Today Hai Nahin Asaan and Hoo Halla Hoo crested the charts on the wave of Indian pop music that provided an alternative soundtrack to Bollywood for Indian youth in the nineties, they were heady, syrupy confections whose tunes burrowed insidiously into your brain — and stayed there.

As Anaida embraces yet another career — after a foray into art several years ago and training as a yoga teacher more recently — she hews much closer to her roots. Perhaps it’s because, at least to those who aren’t formally trained, cooking and serving food is a cultural expression as much as it is about emotional satisfaction.

“I was 16 when I started out. I didn’t speak Hindi and I wasn’t supported to do my thing,” she tells Gulf News tabloid!. “So when this project came about, I insisted on keeping it authentic.”

The project in question is a collaboration to showcase Persian food at the Mumbai outpost of Sodabottleopenerwala, an Indian chain of old Bombay-style Irani cafés. India’s tightly-knit Irani and Parsi communities trace their roots to eighth-century Persian immigrants, who settled in the princely states along the subcontinent’s west coast.
Anaida’s own family moved to India in the ’80s; she followed a few years later after finishing primary school in Abu Dhabi. As a teenager, she was snapped up by a record label eager to exploit the escalating demand for pop music. She has since expanded her oeuvre artistically and in business — in addition, she turned her hand to spiritual music and consults to hospitality brands across India.
Now 37, the singer teamed with the restaurant impresario AD Singh and his Sodawaterbottleopenerwala chain for a four-city restaurant pop-up concept early this year. Each run was meant to last two weeks, but were extended on demand to nearly two months each. The dishes are now a fixture at the brand’s Mumbai cafe. “I am having such a creatively enriching time that I postponed a music project for four months to focus all my attention on this project.... It’s driven one of my managers pretty angry because delay in money,” she trills. “But the important thing is I have discovered a new medium of art and creativity on another level. Although I’ve always thought chefs are artists, I still didn’t realise what a powerful art medium cooking is. People literally consume your art!”

Now that she’s tasted success in this new venture, she’s eager for more. Though she isn’t a formally trained chef, her name and achievements so far, as well as her work in hospitality, have seen her approached to open restaurants in Delhi and Dubai.

“The pop-up in Delhi went through the roof and led to quite a few restaurant offers. I chose not to go with them, but there is another offer from Dubai that is exciting. It’s based on my own idea of creating food based on a theme,” she tells us. “The idea is to create food and to share dishes that have stories.”

She reveals it would play in the fine dining space and would take another year to open. Expect it to have a strong art element, and in some way, tie into new-age trends and beliefs (“There are energy-work related components that go towards cooking in my world.”).

This article has been edited from its original source.


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