India Buzz logoWho is the man with the moustache? First hint, he is a techie. Second hint, he runs Chef at Large. Sound familiar? Yes, you have got it right — for this edition of India Buzz, we are talking to Sid Khullar, the force behind Chef at Large (CaL), an extremely popular Indian food blog that features articles on restaurants, alcohol, books, wines and appliances. CaL was started in 2007 and has since become a successful online hub for anything & everything to do with food. Sid, a compulsive food blogger and editor of CaL spoke with us about this dream project, the evolution of CaL and Ma’amoul Date Cookies, his recommendation for Holi.

The evolution of Chef at Large…sd1
Chef at Large started with the basic premise of sharing recipes I dreamt up at home. Reviews started soon after and became serious as, IMO, the reviews published by mainstream media weren’t satisfactory. After that, the next aim was to create a blogger-industry connection, to try and smooth out the interface between industry and what’s evolving into one of the most powerful classes of media we have known so far.

Chef at Large’s “X-factor”, which makes it one of the most vibrant food communities…
I’d like to think it is our transparency, collaborative approach and long-term view of the future that has paved the way for thousands of awesome foodies to involve themselves with our initiatives. People who don’t fit into the scheme of things gradually move out themselves, therefore concentrating the presence of those with whom we have a strong bond, further strengthening the ethos of the group in general and interaction in particular. In addition, we have quite strict ethical and quality parameters that ensure the final quality of output. Further, and most importantly, the quality of team members, who have volunteered their time for Chef at Large are all stars or rising stars in their own professions, speaks volumes for the quality of thought they bring into the organization.

The most popular section on Chef at Large…
I’d have to say it’s our reviews. Again, I’d like to believe this is so due to the quality of contributors and thought that goes into every review. We have an internal 3,000-word guideline about how to conduct reviews, which includes high quality tools and templates that enable reviewers to do justice to the establishment, as well as ensuring our readers are never presented with sub-par quality.

Key ingredients for nurturing a vibrant online community…
There isn’t just one element that goes into supporting a community as vibrant and knowledgeable as ours. We constantly innovate, evolve and create, to ensure our community is always present with the results of high-quality thought. Elements I’d include, among others, are transparency, fairness, innovation, creativity and moderation. Most of all, it’s about being social in a human way.

With Holi around the corner, which recipe is a must try. c
You must try these Ma’amoul Date Cookies contributed by CaL member Akbar Basha; they’re in the same format as the sweets we usually see for Holi, but quite different in texture and flavor. Read the recipe here: http://chefatlarge.in/recipes/desserts-recipes/mamool-date-cookies.html/.

With 163,000 yummy recipes, more than 550 reviews of eateries from across the country and over 10,000 community members sharing their culinary escapades, you will never be short of food ideas, whatever the occasion or the mood. A big thanks to Chef at Large — and the web — for helping to make life more “foodalicious”!

*Pictures courtesy http://www.facebook.com/BhujbalviewPhotography

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