Lido keeps on innovating to make Indian guests feel at home. After introducing a dancing segment where dancers are dressed as Indian princes and princesses; Lido has now introduced an Indian vegetarian menu for which Indian Chef Nadesan Thillai is hired.
As the number of Indian visitors to Lido de Paris, the landmark French cabaret on Champs Elysées in Paris, rises consistently each year, Lido, too, is going out of its way to make the Indian guests feel at home. In its main programme, Lido has already introduced a segment inspired by India where the dancers are dressed as Indian princes and princesses. But recognising the fact that any Indian tourists are vegetarians and like to have an Indian meal, Lido introduced an Indian vegetarian menu, focussed on its Indian clientele.
And who else but an Indian can make a truly Indian meal? So, Lido hired Nadesan Thillai, a 35-year-old professional chef, born in Chennai and who has been living in France for the last 19 years.
“We are perfectly conscious of the demands and aspirations of the Indian customers and their culinary requirements also, which are often linked to their religious faith. So, we have introduced an Indian menu, which is very rich in the vegetarian offer,’’ says Marie Christine De Ornelas, who is incharge of the Indian and other developing country markets for Lido. “Each year, we also try to improve our menu and adapt it to the demands and suggestions made by our professional partners from India – the Indian tour operators. We have also introduced variations within the vegetarian menus by introducing say, Jain menu. Each year, we ask for their feedback on the menu and we take into account their feedback and make modifications according to their desires. For instance, we have just moved on to a better quality of the basmati rice that we serve,’’ says Marie Christine.
But the kitchen in Lido is not only targetting the Indian clientele. Indeed, it has to feed all the guests and who hail from extremely diverse countries and each with its own specific desires. So it is a challenge for the 35 persons that work in the kitchen at Lido. The team is led by Philippe Lacroix, a renowned French chef and he directs the entire kitchen team, including those catering to the Indian clientele. “Besides the Indian menu, our main focus is of course the French menu, which we keep varying frequently. But we have to keep in mind that this menu should be liked by all our guests, who come from nationalities as diverse as Brazilians, Russians and Japanese, Saudis, among others,’’ says a member of the kitchen team at Lido.
For Nadesan, the challenge lies in preparing food for up to 300 Indian guests every evening and the challenge becomes even greater when we receive ministers, the ambassadors and other VIPs from India and also the occasion when we received nearly 200 Bollywood actors for a fantastic evening. Nadesan’s objective is to ensure that the Indian guests are not disappointed even if France retains the image of a country where we cannot get vegetarian food,’’ adds Marie Christine.