Picture if you will: an abstract artist, a suited-up investment banker, a German automobile engineer, a couple of south Bombay media types, your neighborhood Punjabi aunty and perhaps an opinionated feminist writer all sitting down to share a meal. It would definitely make for some spirited conversations, some renewed perspectives on life and maybe even unexpected friendships.
The Gourmet Club orchestrates such dining situations. But as the name suggests, it’s members are all bound by a common love for food and the hunger for a refined dining experience. This little group of gourmands was started by Sampada Vaze and Peter Freislederer .
The two happened to meet socially, and Peter surprised Sampada with his knowledge of Indian cuisine. Turned out that he had a background in hospitality. He owns a catering business & also advises companies in the food & fashion industry on their marketing strategies. Having lived in Switzerland and Australia before coming to India, he has been exposed to quite a few different cuisines.
Sampada too is well traveled and coming from an army background has lived in different parts of the country. This has given her the opportunity to explore the vastness of Indian cuisine. Incidentally, her work is completely removed from the culinary world; She’s a model and actress, who has appeared in several TV commercials in India and abroad. She also helps plan market entry strategies for global & Indian luxury brands.
The two joined forces to actualize ‘The Gourmet Club‘.
The club is a ‘by invitation only’ affair, but welcomes people from all walks of life. All one has to do, is send an introduction via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and the club will get back to you. Membership won’t cost you anything, however, the events vary in cost depending on the food and drinks served.
For each event a guest list is drawn up from among the members making sure invitees are of varied interests and different professional backgrounds. This ensures there’s an interesting smattering of people sitting at the table.
Mumbai’s specialty restaurants or high end cafes usually serve as venues. However, one event was held at a beautiful sea facing bungalow and The Gourmet Club is open to experimentation. Trikaya, one of Andheri’s newest Asian restaurants opened it doors to club. As did Susegar Goa, where club members were offered Goan delicacies with a modern twist.
At every event members taste a different cuisine, either Indian or International. The menu for each event is meticulously drawn up by the concerned Chef with inputs from Sampada and Peter. The exclusive dishes served are always specially created for The Gourmet Club and are not available on restaurant menus.
It was started as a way of introducing locals and expats to Indian and International cuisines, and their cause has slowly gained momentum. As Sampada explains it has evolved into “a gathering of people who are lovers of the good life”.
Now really, who doesn’t love to eat, drink and live the good life?