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Are American’s Ready for Spice Coast?

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Are you ready for Fast Causal Indian Food?

This week on America’s Next Great Restaurant, the question was posed, are American’s ready for fast/casual indian food?    After a presenting a “mushy” indian burger for the kids and families meal concept,Sudhir Kandula of Spice Coast was  at judges table.  Judge Bobby Flay, Chef/Restaurant Owner posed the question, “Are American’s ready for fast/casual Indian Cuisine?”

Interestingly,  Chipotle Owner Steve Ells reminded the judges that American families and children learned to love Mexican food, as it is served at Chipotle. In other words, years ago, when Chipotle first opened, the food was different at the onset, but the children developed a liking for it.  Thank goodness, this seemed to convince the judges, as Sudir, lived for another episode.

All this made me wonder, during their pre-event walk around, Judges Lorena Garcia and Curtis Stone had advised Sudhir  to dramatically tone down the “bold,” “spicy,” “sophisticated,” flavors in his food. Did Sudhir, in response, “tone” down the flavor too much leaving only a soft texture to taste.  I ask, How can you eat something when it has no flavor to taste?

I am reminded of a great article in the April 2011 issue of “Saveur” Magazine about the huge popularity and legendary Mumbai’s Indian Street Food. Editor-in-Chief James Oseland, who can be seen as a distinguished judge on Top Chef Masters, on Bravo TV, (along with Chef Stone) directed that the entire issue of “Saveur” be about sandwiches.

Todd Coleman, Executive Food Editor and CIA grad, wrote in his article in “Saveur” about Indian Street Food went to Mumbai to taste for himself. There he encountered many sandwiches, but the one that “won him over” was the vada pav that is Mumbai’s answer to the burger. He wrote:

the vendor reached for a soft bun… moistened it with splashes of tart tamarind and fragrant coriander chutneys, then snatched up a vada…a mashed potato beignet flavored with cumin, fennel, coriander, turmeric chile, garlic and onions, and stuffed into a roll….” I don’t know about you, but I was captivated by that description. I wanted and still want a vada pav!”

I think American children will learn to love Indian food just as they have learned to love Chipotle’s vibrant, bold, and beautiful Mexican food. Anyone eating at a Japanese Restaurant has to be wowed watching American kids, both young and old, handle chopsticks with skill as they devour vibrant, bold and beautiful Japanese food. So,I say, don’t count American kids out. They will surprise you every time.

Sudhir, be true to your vision. You have a winner with Spice Coast.

Thanks NBC for the photo

If you would like to read more from Jma, you can visit her blog,

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