The Slow Food movement grew out of a strongly held belief that “eating is an agricultural act and producing is a gastronomic act.” Started by Carlo Petrini and a group of activists in the 1980s, the movement aimed at encouraging regional traditions, good food, gastronomic pleasure and a slow pace of life. The movement has now evolved to include and recognize what connects the plate, planet, people, politics and culture. Slow food is produced or prepared in accordance with local culinary traditions, typically using high-quality, locally sourced ingredients.

But a more instinctive way of understanding slow food, is through recognizing its omnipresent opposite. Fast food is mass-produced food (necessarily prepared using industrial techniques), packed to restaurants or supermarkets, to be reheated or reconstituted before serving. Compared with cuisine prepared with traditional values, fast food is deservedly picked on for being lower in nutritional value, while generous in calories, additives, fat, sugar and salt. The Slow Food movement, then, has emerged as a necessary corrective, a course correction. Slow food’s philosophy of good, clean and fair: good for our palate, clean for humans, animals and the environment and fair for producers and consumers – has gained considerable worldwide popularity with over a thousand events organised in 160 countries. These include picnics, farmer’s markets, workshops and opportunities for Chefs and even children, to meet the people who cultivate the produce that reaches their tables.

If you think about it, India has had a longstanding association with slow food. India’s earliest diet philosophies have always called upon us to pay attention to season, time of day, and our own disposition, when deciding what to eat from what was available in the immediate environment.  India’s deep-rooted culinary traditions may have also tilted the balance in its favour as venue for next year’s Indigenous Terra Madre, a biennial meeting of representatives of indigenous communities and food producers from around the world.

In keeping with this tradition of slow food, ITC Chefs have consistently created masterpieces that bring fresh, farm-to-table food, in innovative presentations using locally sourced produce in many dishes.  So come and celebrate the day in support of slow food with a special selection of items prepared with local ingredients, on December 10th at ITC Grand Central’s Hornby's Pavilion in Mumbai and WelcomHotel Dwarka’s Pavilion 75 in Delhi.