An apartment on Carter Road in Bandra. One room. Four twenty-something dna readers. Vani Iyer, her boyfriend Aurélien Brault, Mithun Purandare and his girlfriend, Steffi Natalya D’Souza, can hardly wait to find out this new seductive creativity. With the help of award-winning 25-year-old chef, Aseema Mamaji, dna played host to two couples who were more than just acquiescent to get their fingers and tongues dirty with some of Mamaji’s edible paint.
Art is seemingly coveted. A little elusive. Rare with greatness somewhat encrypted in the masterpieces. These Westcoast residents’ edible body ‘paintings’ might not exactly fit into the definition of ‘greatness’. But they were not there to foster their creativity within those limited, pre-determined concepts of what is artful. They were just there to tickle their taste buds in a more hands-on manner. “The strawberry flavour is my favourite!” shares Brault in his broken English, while he paints on his model girlfriend’s tattoo, smacking his lips at the pink-coloured paste. A 26-year-old actuary now in Mumbai for a year, the Frenchman is anything but the archetypal highbrow one would expect. An hour later, he had himself an entirely edible artistic knock-out on his partner’s arm as she giggled away, patiently waiting for Aurélien to get it off her.
Mithun calmly awaits his turn as Steffi gets hold of her paint brushes. “Shiva’s eye!” he blurts out when probed on what he would like painted on himself. This Bandra resident is a model and an actor, who recently completed a short film called Day Trip to London. The film had been nominated at the Nashik International Film Festival. Sitting back with a perfectly chiselled body, he is ready to get “down and dirty” he says with a smile, as Steffi smothers a blue blob of finger-licking paint–pun intended–on his chest. Smearing it all over, the duo laugh as they discuss their modelling contracts and their parallel lives, eating the colourful paints off each other.
Aseema sits back, revelling at the art-meets-food sight in front of her. “Paint my love,” is the story behind the edible paints that she created for Valentine’s Day, just a few months ago. “It was innovative enough to have couples want to buy it for their better halves and intimate as well!” she says, with a twinkle in her eye.
Story In A Jar
Aseema Mamaji is a Pali Hill resident, whose life steers clear from that quarter-life lull. A culinary arts student, a chef and the brain behind Story In A Jar, she now stands tall as the winner of restaurateur Rohini Dey’s cook-off. Soon to fly off to Chicago for her $70,000 job at a reputed restaurant, Mamaji is not one to sit back with her arms crossed, waiting for life to pass her by. “I studied culinary arts and then worked at the Taj for three years, where I got to cook for presidents and entrepreneurs from parts of the world I did not even know existed. I decided to work on Story In A Jar to fill in that gap that exists in the world of customised food and desserts,” she shares. The gist of it is relatively straightforward: fill in a form so Mamaji can get an insight into your life and have her prepare an entirely customised dessert or dish in a jar, entirely conceptualised through a story written by her and her sister. A far cry from the troglodyte-inferring meals, Mamaji makes cooking a culinary concept without compromise. The 25-year-old makes bashing pans, brutalising onions and adding chilli flakes without impunity an art. An art of delectable food.