Hudson Caterer Marianna Vadukul to Appear on Bobby Flay
“I met Nitin on his first day in New York,” says Marianna Vadukul, of her husband, the photographer Nitin Vadukul. At the time, Marianna, the daughter of a Venezuelan diplomat, had not long been in the States herself. In due course, the couple married, and Marianna found herself taking instruction from Nitin’s mother and sister in the art of being a good Indian wife. “Food is an important part of their culture,” she says. So they honored her with a gift, Nitin’s grandmother’s spices, and taught her how to cook with them.
Already an avid cook, she proved to be an apt pupil. These days, from her Hudson-based Indian delivery/catering kitchen, Saffron at Hudson, Marianna turns out steaming tikkas and vindaloos for, among others, the Chatham Real Food Coop, where they are available to eat in or take out. Marianna’s Indian food, while authentic tasting, strays from some of the traditional ingredients and techniques her in-laws taught her. “I’m more likely to bake than fry, and I’ll often substitute a healthier ingredient—olive oil or yogurt—for a less healthy one, such as ghee,” she says, referring to the long-simmered, strained liquid butter that is a staple of Indian cuisine. “Moving up to the Hudson Valley and being surrounded by so many local farmers has also enriched my food,” she says, “pushing it in a much more natural way.”
Several months ago, Marianna went to New York City to audition for the Food Network. “They told me they were doing a whole series on new, ethnic chefs,” she says. Not surprisingly, the Venezuelan beauty passed muster, “so they came to Hudson and tried my food,” she says. Thus convinced, when it came to actually shoot the show, the folks at the network sent in the big guns. “Suddenly Bobby Flay came through the door, and I felt this energy, as if it were coming through the floor,” she says. “I was totally surprised.”
Thirty million people watch his Food Network show, “Throwdown with Bobby Flay.” Unfortunately, next week, when her episode airs for the first time, Marianna will not be one of them. Presently in Portugal for her sister’s wedding, she is planning to hold an event at the Chatham Real Food Coop sometime in August [when her plans firm, Rural Intelligence will report them]. “I’ll play the tape of the show, then I’ll do a demo,” she says. And then, just as her mother- and sister-in-law did for her, “I’ll give everyone a gift of Indian spices.”
Marianna Vadukul on Throwdown with Bobby Flay
June 23; 9 p.m.
Jun 24; Noon
July 3, 2010, 7 p.m.
Saffron at Hudson
The Chatham Real Food Coop
Route 203, just west of Route 66