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Culinary Maestro Preethi Raghunandan: A Journey from Tradition to Innovation

Preethi Raghunandan

The Preethi Raghunandan journey began at the tender age of 8, under the loving guidance of her grandmother. What started as a family tradition soon blossomed into a fervent passion, further fueled by my travels abroad where I delved into diverse cuisines, honing my skills and mastering the art of cooking. It was in November 2023 that I officially embarked on my journey into the world of culinary excellence by auditioning for MasterChef, marking a significant milestone in my career. 

 Preethi Raghunandan Lebanese fit meal given by her
Name of the Dish Lebanese fit meal

Balancing innovation with tradition, I blend modern techniques with time-honored methods to create dishes that honor their origins while pushing culinary boundaries. This approach is evident in my evolution from traditional South Indian cuisine to a deep affinity for Pan Asian flavors. Through my work, I aim to foster social cohesion and cultural appreciation, recognizing the powerful role chefs play in today’s global society. 

Respect and authenticity are at the core of my culinary philosophy, ensuring each dish I create is a respectful homage to its cultural heritage. The rich and diverse culinary traditions of South India, with their vibrant flavors and cultural significance, deeply influence my cooking style. Among all, Pan Asian cuisine remains my favorite, offering an exhilarating sensory experience that inspires endless culinary exploration. 

In traditional South Indian cooking, the careful selection and use of spices are essential for creating harmonious flavor profiles and enhancing nutritional value. This meticulous approach reflects my culinary philosophy that true mastery lies not in following recipes, but in the passion and creativity infused into every dish.

Preethi Raghunandan journey as a MasterChef?

My culinary journey commenced at the tender age of 8 under the guidance of my grandmother. What began as a familial tradition soon blossomed into a fervent passion. Through my travels abroad, I delved into diverse cuisines, honing my skills and mastering the artistry of cooking. It was in November 2023 that I embarked on the auditions for MasterChef, marking the official start of my journey into the world of culinary excellence.

How do you balance the need for innovation with respect for culinary traditions in your kitchen?

Balancing innovation with tradition is an art I’ve cultivated over years of experience. I infuse creativity and imagination into my dishes while honoring the essence of traditional recipes. Drawing from my culinary background, I seamlessly blend modern techniques with time-honored methods, often incorporating traditional cookware to elevate dishes to fine dining standards.

 This picture is given by Preethi Raghunandan to use it on article
Ayam rendang

Can you share how your culinary style and preferences have evolved over the years? What were some pivotal experiences that influenced this evolution?

My culinary evolution is deeply rooted in my insatiable curiosity and exposure to diverse cultures. Initially confined to traditional South Indian cuisine, my horizons expanded with each journey abroad. Immersed in foreign flavors, ingredients, and techniques, I embraced the challenge of exploring new culinary territories. It was through this exploration that I discovered my affinity for Pan Asian cuisine, which has since become a cornerstone of my culinary identity.

What do you believe is the role of a chef in today’s society beyond just preparing food? How can chefs influence social and cultural issues?

Chefs wield immense influence as cultural ambassadors in today’s global society. Beyond the confines of the kitchen, we have the power to foster social cohesion and celebrate cultural diversity through the universal language of food. By promoting awareness and appreciation for different culinary traditions, chefs play a vital role in bridging cultural divides and fostering a sense of unity.

The Picture has been given by Preethi Raghunandan to use on the article
Chicken Pau

How do you ensure that your dishes are culturally sensitive and respectful, especially when dealing with cuisines outside of your own heritage?

Respect and authenticity are paramount when delving into cuisines outside my heritage. Prior to crafting a dish, I immerse myself in thorough research to understand its cultural significance, traditional ingredients, and preparation techniques. By staying true to these elements and paying homage to the culinary heritage, I ensure that each creation is a respectful homage to the culture it represents.

 This picture is given by Preethi Raghunandan to use it on article
Grilled Chicken Salad

South India includes a variety of distinct culinary traditions from states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh. How do you think these differences and similarities shape the identity of South Indian cuisine as a whole?

The culinary landscape of South India is a tapestry of diverse flavors and traditions, each state contributing its unique essence to the collective identity of South Indian cuisine. While distinct regional specialties abound, commonalities such as the use of rice, coconut, and aromatic spices unify the culinary heritage of the region. It’s this rich diversity that elevates South Indian cuisine, celebrated for its vibrant flavors and cultural significance.

Your Favorite cuisine which you love to cook and eat? Why?

Pan Asian cuisine holds a special place in my heart and kitchen. Its myriad textures, flavor profiles, and aromas offer an exhilarating sensory experience that tantalizes the taste buds. The versatility and depth of Pan Asian cuisine inspire endless exploration and experimentation, allowing me to continually refine my culinary skills and craft innovative dishes.

 The Picture has been given by Preethi Raghunandan to use on the article
Spaghetti with Miso

Spices are a cornerstone of South Indian cooking. Could you explain the process of selecting and using spices in traditional dishes? How do these spices enhance both the flavor profile and nutritional value of the meals?

In traditional South Indian cooking, spices are meticulously chosen and combined to create harmonious flavor profiles. Staples such as cumin, coriander, mustard seeds, and curry leaves are carefully integrated to enhance both taste and nutritional value. Beyond adding depth and complexity to dishes, these spices offer a myriad of health benefits, from aiding digestion to providing essential antioxidants, ensuring that each meal is as nourishing as it is flavorful.

What are the future plans? What keeps you going?

My future plans are to open a beautiful cafe, acquire more culinary skills, and my family is what keeps me going, my strive to do better in the culinary feild.

 Preethi Raghunandan
Preethi Raghunandan Family

 Your inspiration quote?

Real cooking is more about following your heart than a recipe.” This mantra embodies the essence of culinary artistry, reminding us that true mastery lies not in adherence to instructions but in the passion and creativity we infuse into every dish we create.

 

News Shot 24
Author: News Shot 24

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