The weather in Delhi has finally taken a turn, and we are nearing the end of ‘food festival’ season! As a fitting end to this year’s season, I visited “India’s largest gourmet food festival” called WOAP: World on a Plate, that took place from February 14-16, 2020 at DLF Avenue in Saket. This was the fifth edition of this festival, and the first one in Delhi. Interaction with a renowned celebrity chef has always been the USP of World on a Plate, and this time Delhiites had the opportunity to meet 3 star Michelin chef, Marco Pierre White. Read on to know about this specially curated food event, and if you should visit it the next time it comes to your city.
With 3 Michelin Star Chef, Marco Pierre White
‘WORLD ON A PLATE’ FOOD FESTIVAL:
The last few years have seen a burgeoning of restaurants in metropolitan cities that cater to middle-income and higher-income spenders. World on a Plate or WOAP, is aimed at discerning and well-heeled foodies that live in these cities. This festival brings a few of the best names in the food and beverage industry together, by curating a memorable dining experience.
In addition, the festival organises master classes by renowned master chefs, as well as exclusive dinners and lunches for select invitees. The event also sees competitions amongst amateur chefs, and the WOAP ‘Restaurant of the Year’ award is judged by top chefs from around the world.
WOAP’s first edition took place in 2016 in Bangalore, where the three ‘Masterchef Australia’ judges- Matt Preston, George Calombaris and Gary Mehigan- were the main attractions. Every edition offers interactive sessions with celebrity chefs, and Delhi was lucky to get Marco Pierre White this year.
Master Classes at the Taste Theatre at WOAP
WHAT TO EXPECT AT ‘WORLD ON A PLATE’ FESTIVAL:
Apart from numerous award-winning food stalls that cover a variety of cuisines, you can access fully-stocked bars, meet celebrity chefs, enjoy live music, improve your culinary skills by attending numerous master classes, and get a chance to win prizes. Open green spaces encourage picnic-ing with families, while sampling the best dishes from many restaurants of the city, in one place.
An exclusive VIP Zone offers a comfortable and memorable experience, where you can interact with the celebrity chefs while enjoy appetisers and high-end alcohol.
Clockwise from Top Left: Margherita Pizza from Fio; Chicken Wings from Plats; Dimsum from Plats; Nutella Waffles from The Whiz Cafe; Dimsum from You Mee
WHAT I ATE AT THE ‘WORLD ON A PLATE’ FESTIVAL:
I visited the WOAP festival with my family. Together we were five adults and one child. Since we visited at lunch time, and shared most of what we ordered, we were able to sample many small bites from different stalls.
My son enjoyed his Margherita Pizza from ‘Fio’, and I liked the non-vegetarian sushi roll from ‘Kampai’. The cheesy dumplings and Noodle Soup from ‘You Mee’, as well as the Chicken Wings and Dumplings from ‘Plats’ were quite good. I felt that the batter-fried fish served with rice from ‘Neung Roi’ was too spicy to be enjoyable, and the Three Bean Salad from ‘The Whiz Café’ was average at best.
I enjoyed some Absolut vodka to counter the unusual heat of the afternoon and my brother enjoyed the Bhutanese ‘Kati Patang’ beer.
Dessert options were few and far between, so we ordered a Nutella waffle from ‘The Whiz Café’, which was good but certainly not the best I’ve had!
Lack of a shade was a problem on a sunny afternoon; the Festival Bar, though well-stocked was separate for hard liquor and beer
REVIEW OF ‘WORLD ON A PLATE’ FESTIVAL:
The WOAP festival stands apart from others, because of the additional gourmet experiences it offers. The event was quite enjoyable, but there are a few things you should keep in mind, if you plan to visit the next edition of this fest in your city.
What I Liked:
- The location in the heart of South Delhi, though not exactly central, is quite convenient.
- The food festival took place in the open area in front of the mall. This allowed access to the mall, clean toilets and easy parking.
- The stalls offered varied cuisines among them, so we were spoilt for choice when it came to picking what to eat.
- Benches were available, and so was plenty of open grassy area for picnickers.
- As members of the audience, we had the chance to hear legendary 3 Michelin Star Chef Marco Pierre White.
- At 1 p.m. in the afternoon on Sunday, the third day, the venue was full but not over-crowded which made the experience quite comfortable.
- You could get VIP access for a reasonable price, which also included vouchers for food and drinks.
What I Did Not Like:
- February 16 was an unusually hot day in Delhi. People without VIP access were forced to boil under the sun, as there was no shade cover in the regular areas. Perhaps the structures or tents could’ve been designed differently, or at the very least, there should’ve been fans installed as back-up!
- The dessert options were very limited, with ‘The Artful Baker’ being the only bakery to have its own stall. Other stalls served one or two signature desserts, but on this hot day, we had to go inside the mall to get ice-cream. Quite a disappointment!
- It was nearly impossible to get a photograph with Marco Pierre White, unless you had VIP access. I had to call in a favour to get one!
- We had to install money on smartcards to make payments. This system is quite popular during large events and festivals, but personally, I find it cumbersome and annoying.
- The bar was divided in two sections, one for the hard liquor and one solely serving beer. This meant a lot of unnecessary running around.
- For an exclusive food festival, I felt the food options were limited. Perhaps that was to maintain the ‘exclusivity factor’, but I’m only stating persona preference here!
Overall, I felt it was an enjoyable event but I would do a few things differently next time. My family had received promotional passes that granted free entry but denied access to the VIP area. We would’ve preferred shelling out the INR 2500 for a family VIP pass, of which INR 1200 was redeemable in food and drinks. This would’ve allowed us to be cool in the shade and even have a conversation with Marco Pierre White himself. I recommend you do the same.
Marco Pierre White
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