Food usually takes centre stage at most Indian events, and is an absolutely critical element to any Indian wedding. It is no hidden fact that we love our food and while Indian cuisine is innovative and constantly changing, it can be challenging to find caterers that can translate a progressive, modern version of India into a menu fit for a wedding, with dishes that are aesthetically pleasing.
Enter Kerala – a boutique South Indian catering and events company based in Melbourne, but also provides services in Sydney and Adelaide. We are inspired by their unique take on South Indian cuisine and impressed with their focus on using fresh local ingredients to create unique dining experiences for their clients.
We recently attended Kerala’s media launch for Kerala Ways – a rustic pop-up dinner party series at The Baron Said, Fitzroy in September 2015 featuring eight courses of modern Indian cuisine. The series will help towards funding Chef Mischa Tropp and Laura Neville’s upcoming project: a travel and food documentary where they will visit Kerala in India to learn about the people and their cooking techniques. Pretty cool!
On the evening, we previewed some of the dishes from the series – beautifully presented fusion meals that combined the Keralan love for seafood with a modern take on tastes and textures. The exquisite flavours of Kerala were brought to life with the use of local ingredients and organic spices. The whole event was executed with attention to detail and we couldn’t help but get excited about the possibilities of what the Kerala team could deliver for a wedding. This is exactly the type of catering service and take on Indian food we have all been waiting for and we look forward to seeing brides take up Kerala’s wedding services.
We caught up with the Founder & Executive Chef of Kerala, Mischa who is a second generation Australian, Malayalee of mixed descent. He tells us about his passions and style, the current food trends in Indian cuisine and key tips for choosing a caterer for your big day.
Tell us about yourself and what inspired you to start Kerala?
Mischa: When I started Kerala, I wanted to create a business that reflected my personal beliefs and values. I have a strong connection with my family and the name Kerala reflected those beliefs. From there it has been an amazing journey of learning as I have explored Keralan cuisine and used it as a way of understanding my heritage as well as furthering my knowledge of food.
What services does Kerala offer for weddings and events?
Mischa: We are a small boutique food and events company with a customer focus. We are able to do everything from individualised catering to event planning and organisation.
We have extensive experience in putting up our pop up restaurants at events and now have an extensive network of professionals we collaborate with including venues, stylists, hire companies and dancers.
How would you describe your style philosophy?
Mischa: Fresh, Innovative, New, Exciting and Ethical.
What are your sources of inspiration?
Mischa: The inspiration for my food comes from the idea that the best Indian food you can find comes from the women of India – mums who put so much love and attention into the meals they prepare for their family. Creating dishes that bring people the same joy and memories is what makes me happy.
What are your favourite kind of dishes for a wedding event?
Mischa: For me, Indian weddings are a celebration of community and so I really enjoy the idea of sharing plates.
What has been your most memorable wedding?
Mischa: The first South Indian wedding I ever catered would have to be my most memorable. The amazing Ruth and Raja contacted me from events I had been running and at the time I was still learning about a lot about South Indian food. I worked with them over a period of 8 months on the menu and their ideas on how they wanted their night to run. It was such an amazing experience working with them and we’ve become good friends since.
What are the biggest food trends in Indian & South Asian weddings?
Mischa: I have noticed the influence of personal style and taste becoming heavily prominent in Indian & South Asian weddings. There is now a trend to approach a caterer and work with them to create a menu and unique dining experience that matches the style and personal tastes of the bride and groom to be.
Top 3 tips for a bride to be planning their food and drinks menu for their wedding events?
1. Ask questions. The more questions you ask and the more informed you are, the better your wedding will turn out.
2. What you spend at a wedding is what you get, however this is where asking questions helps. You can work with a caterer to figure out the most important aspects of the food and drink and make the menu work for you within your budget.
3. Don’t settle for something that isn’t good enough.
Find out more about Kerala including their latest work here.