When Kaathi rolls and live tandoor lit up at Flemington

When Kaathi rolls and live tandoor lit up at Flemington

When Australia’s retail giant Harvey Norman rolled outtheir biennial industry conference this July at Flemmington, one of the highlights was the presence of two Indian tandoors rolling out seekh kebabs and naan lighting up the palates of almost 6000 enthusiasts.
It was for the first time that the tandoors, a creation of seasoned chef Sachin Garg, made it to the Flemington grounds. It was a magic five-day event, says Garg, whose catering service Sachin Garg Catering, was specially selected to be a part of this mega event.
“It was a huge task,” says Garg, who had eight staff working on a 20-hour shift. “It was a simple menu of seekh kebabs, kaathi rolls and naan. Samosa and mango lassi were sold like there is no tomorrow, three times more than what I had expected.”
The iron-walled, portable tandoor, says Garg, is very healthy and hygienic as the cooking is not infused with burnt-out coal. Some of the Australian patrons remarked, “‘Oh you’ve taken me to Delhi for free.”
Few years ago, Garg had told this G’day India that a part of his endeavour as an Indian chef on Melbourne’s culinary map was to educate people that Indian food is not all about greasy curries. He has managed to change that concept by taking a simpler Indian menu to office lunches, board rooms and conference rooms. The Harvey Norman conference is a testimony to the changing face of Indian food.
But it was not the first time that Sachin Garg Catering featured in the Harvey Normal mega expo and exhibition. In 2013, Garg was interviewed by a company which Harvey Norman hired and selected out of many caterers in Melbourne for the function that year. This year, he repeated the feat with double numbers.
At that time, Garg had suggested the installation of a live tandoor. Theorganisers had not even heard about a tandoor then so it did not materialise. “When they came back to Melbourne this time, they said you will cater this time too as people are still talking about the last time. They asked me if I still wanted to do the tandoor, I said yes. I am the only one who has the iron walled, portable tandoor in Melbourne.
“We served 3000 people the first three days which was only for Harvey Norman, and the weekend was opened to the public, where we did another 3000. It was exhausting but very rewarding. I was so proud because it was the first time that anybody took a tandoor there,” says Garg.
This October, Garg is launching his food truck in October. The truck will have a mobile kitchen and mobile tandoor among other things. “Because I do so many caterings I need a food truck; you have to keep up with the times. The other reason why I am having a mobile truck is because of the tandoor, there is so much demand for it.” By Indira Laisram