The Wakao Fest, on from August until November, presents a range of dishes and cuisines with the jackfruit at its core. Clearly, the sustainable foods revolution is here.
Plant-based alternative foods, fairly popular in the West, have finally arrived on the Indian culinary scene. While there have been a number of entities that have already established themselves in the space, what is perhaps the biggest indicator of the trend is in the fact that hospitality groups, often at the helm of culinary movements have now started to get involved. Hilton India, in association with Wakao Foods, has launched a sustainable food showcase, known as The Wakao Fest.
Wakao Foods is a Goa-based sustainable food company. At the core of its products is the jackfruit, which the brand sources from growers who practice organic, cruelty-free and sustainable farming practices, in turn benefiting from fair prices. The brand’s ready-to-cook products include Raw Jack that can be used as a vegan meat alternative in any dish and the Jack Burger Patty which makes for a delectable replacement for meat in juicy burgers.
The menu for The Wakao Fest has been curated by culinary experts at Hilton India, to offer various cuisines and dishes including appetisers, mains and even desserts.
Prashant Kulkarni, director, F&B, India-Hilton, said: “At Hilton F&B, we wanted to keep innovation, sustainability, and deliciousness at the front and centre of the creative process, and we challenged our chefs to take jackfruit, the humblest of ingredients, and come up with a menu which will excite and intrigue the palate. With Wakao, we have been able to do just that. Wakao is an expression that perfectly captures the flavourful twist of our dishes as well as the guests’ reaction when they dine at any of our Hilton outlets. The shift towards plant-based alternatives is the most dominant trend of 2021 triggered by the growing consciousness about mindful and healthy eating. The Wakao Fest explores unique dishes that are sustainable to serve and bring guests delight.”
Sairaj Dhond, founder and CEO, Wakao Foods, commented: “As the world looks at more plant-based alternatives, which are healthier and more sustainable options, there is a growing interest in meatless meals of late. The versatile and indigenously grown jackfruit is bursting onto the scene and finding itself being used more often. The pop-up therefore explores the versatility of the humble jackfruit, which is considered a superfood but needs to be more relevant across the cuisine culture of the country. It is a great honour to be associated with an international brand such as the Hilton, so early in our life cycle. These kinds of platforms and collaborations give brands and start-ups such as ours a fillip to take our efforts to more people and educate the consumer as well. The collaboration brings Hilton’s culinary expertise to one of our most loved indigenous products – jackfruit.”
The Wakao Fest will be on from August until November across Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Goa, Bengaluru, Chennai, Lucknow, Agra, Jaipur and Trivandrum at outlets including @SAIPE at Hilton Goa, Coriander Kitchen at Conrad Pune, The Amber Kitchen at DoubleTree by Hilton Jaipur Amer, and Terazzo at Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat & Spa, among others.