Chef Lata Tondon from Rewa, Madhya Pradesh has won the Guinness World Record title for the longest cooking marathon in the individual category becoming the first woman to achieve this feat.
Chef Lata, a passionate traveller, is dedicated to promote regional Indian food across the globe. Driven by her passion for cooking she plans to dial up a notch and surprise the world each time. Says Lata, “There’s nothing like Indian cuisine, the immense diversity can impress all and a lot still needs to be showcased and that’s what I’m here for”.
Cooking for 87 hours 45 min non-stop, Chef Tondon set the new record and also became the first woman to achieve this milestone in the world. The longest cooking marathon title was previously held by Rickey Lumpkin from Los Angeles, USA at 68 hours 30 minutes 01 second.
Talking about why she chose to participate in this challenge, the Chef says, “I always loved challenges and marathon cooking was a challenge that was claimed to be really tough. It had never been attempted successfully by a woman either. So I got attracted to attempt this record and prove that women are really strong and can achieve anything is they are determined to.”
The successful event saw Chef Lata cook more than 1,600 kg foodgrains, 400 vada-pavs, 250 sandwiches and a host of other local delicacies over a span of 4 days. The food was served to over 20,000 visitors who attended the event including children from orphanages and blind schools and members of old age homes.
Commenting on winning the International honour, an alumni of Chef Academy of London, said, “I have been fascinated with cooking since childhood and am fortunate to be surrounded by family and friends who have encouraged me to turn my passion into a career. While I love cooking traditional dishes, I won’t define myself as a conservative chef. I love exploring regional flavours, cooking techniques and finding unexplored ingredients from different parts of India. My vision is to take these unusual, local ingredients and create dishes that may change the limited perception about Indian cuisine on the global front.”
Since Lata loves to go beyond the conventional cooking methods and techniques, she shares some of her dishes which turned out to be her best experiments, “I always loved to explore authentic Indian cuisine and the forgotten dishes. Also, after working in London with different international cuisines I love to do fusion Indian dishes. Some of dishes that are close to my heart is fusion of red wine sauce in an authentic Vindhya dish called Inderher ki Sabji; a healthy version of beetroot and chocolate brownies by using different Indian flours; and a unique Kerela stew smoking with maple wood chips.”
“Traveling to different parts of India and even abroad gave soul to my style of cooking.I believe in that cooking is a continuous process of learning and travel made it more versatile,” says Lata, whose favourite Indian cuisine is Rajasthani.
Talking about the wastage of food on a daily basis at restaurants and on an individual level across the globe, Lata says, “I absolutely hate this fact that a lot of food is being wasted all over the world due to restaurant businesses. But I’ve seen a lot of changes recently with the mentality of zero waste during the making process, in London. And this has to be promoted in India too keeping in view that a huge population in this country sleep hungry every day.”
The record holder also announced plans to open a restaurant in London that will offer cuisine from India’s lesser-known regions with a twist that appeals all palates. While Britishers call curry their national food, how does Lata plan to inspire people there with her version of Indian cuisine? “Well, that is what I want to change through my restaurant in London – Indian cuisine is not just about curries and spices, it’s way more. In my restaurant, I want to introduce more flavours and new techniques used in Indian cuisine, which I believe will attract foodies,” explains the talented Chef.
Chef Lata Tondon is currently gearing up to launch a coffee table book which will showcase unexplored cuisines and ingredients from different parts of India. “I would love to start my eatery in India… Since I have noticed that people here are more into dining out and having fresh street food, I will experiment on the concept of takeaways and eating fresh and healthy,” shares Chef Lata.