What are your culinary influences? Avinandan: It’s a strange thing to say, but I only started appreciating my mom’s cooking recently. So my cooking has been influenced by everything but that. If it was Nigella Lawson while I was younger, to Noma becoming a major inspiration during my time in Europe, my culinary influences have been around and changed a lot over the years. I doubt I can actually pinpoint influences. It’s a lot of bits and pieces from here and there.
Auroni: My first and foremost culinary influence is my family. My Thamma (that’s paternal grandma in Bengali) was a proud home cook. Growing up, I spent a lot of time with her visiting bazaars and in the kitchen. Her simple yet flavoursome culinary hand, her strict standards for the kind of ingredients to be used, and most importantly, her constant desire to cook food that was delicious yet always nourishing, still influence the way I approach cuisine.
At the same time, my parents were both avid home chefs and have written their own cookbook. My mother was also a food writer and critic for Hindustan Times and Indian Express during the 90s. She went on to become publisher for Lonely Planet India and launched their guidebooks in India as well. This gave me insight into some of the top restaurants while growing up.