The Indian Summer Festival celebrates the curious mind through food  

Vancouver chefs Vikram Vij, Tushar Tondvalkar to take part in the annual fest

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      The global pandemic may have meant a pivot to online programming for the Indian Summer Festival, but food still plays an important role in the annual fest “of the curious mind”.

      As it marks its 10th anniversary in these strange times, the Indian Summer Festival has been presenting mega-events streamed on digital channels every Saturday since May 16.

      The remaining two feature the flavours of India.

      On July 11, Vikram Vij will host a masterclass in Indian cuisine hosted by Leo award-winning actor Agam Darshi.

      The celebrated chef will teach people how to make a three-course meal for two in real time consisting of seasonal plant-based dishes.

      On the menu are Sprouted Lentil, Bell Pepper & Carrot Salad; a hearty, creamy Zucchini, Squash & Potato Sauté; and Spicy Rice Pilaf with Local Vegetables.

      People have two options to join: when they register for free or by donation, they’ll get recipes and instructions in advance so they can pick up ingredients to cook alongside Vij via the festival’s  Facebook or YouTube channels.

      Alternatively, a special package for $165 comes with a pre-delivered goodie box valued at $150 and the opportunity to join the inner circle for the class and an intimate dinner party afterward.

      The box includes key ingredients and spices; a bottle of wine from Volcanic Hills Winery; and a box of mithai from Nanak Sweets. It also comes with a signed copy of Vij’s Indian: Our Stories, Spices and Cherished Recipes, which Vij cowrote with Meeru Dhalwala.

      The package also gives people Zoom access to enjoy the meal they’ve just made with Vij, Darshi, and other guests.

      On July 18, the 10th Anniversary Closing Party happens, kicking off with a concert curated by Jarrett Martineau, host of Reclaimed, a weekly series on CBC Music that explores contemporary Indigenous music. 

      Anyone can attend the concert for free.

      Chef Tushar Tondvalkar is creating a multicourse meal for the Indian Summer Festival's 10th Anniversary Closing Party.
      The Indian Pantry Catering Co.

      The after-party is where the food comes in. Tickets, $55, gets participants a multi-course meal created by chef Tushar Tondvalkar of the Indian Pantry Catering Co. delivered to their door in advance.

      The menu can be vegetarian or nonvegetarian, with options including Swiss Chard Patra (Gujrat), a roulade topped with coconut-curry leaf tadka; Dahi Bara (Odisha), an urad dal fritter soaked in buttermilk and topped with yogurt, spices, and tamarind chutney; Patrani Machi (Mumbai), steamed fish marinated in coconut and mint chutney wrapped in banana leaf; Momos (Himachal Pradesh), which are vegan hand-made, steamed dumplings filled with soy meat and green onion; and more.

      Tickets also nclude exclusive access to a Zoom room, where  DJ Lil India and surprise guests from around the globe will be appearing.

      For more info and to register for events, visit