Inaugurating Lumiere, Bangalore's first organic restaurant.
Amidst all the hectic schedule of delivering public talks and debating the future of GM crops at a series of panel discussions last week, it was like a whiff of fresh air when I was invited to inaugurate Bangalore's first organic restaurant.
At a time when the newspapers are buried under the threat of sea water rising, floods and droughts becoming freak and recurring, and all such depressing news reports that you read every other day, any initiative to reduce our carbon footprint and at the same time provide safe and healthy food is more than welcome. It is the need of the day.
By lighting a traditional lamp, and in the presence of some of well-known organic growers, researchers, activists, and guests, I humbly launched Bangalore's first organic restaurant -- Lumiere -- at a modest opening ceremony in the evening of Dec 5, 2009. Also present were the local MLA, and the Additional Director of Horticulture.
This is the second organic restaurant that Manjunath P R, a software engineer-turned-organic farmer and entrepreneur, has started. He returned from the US to set up his first organic restaurant venture, in Cochin. Manjunath had a shy and soft-spoken Ambriose to join him at Cochin, and is joined by Ashok and others at Bangalore. And I am sure it requires quite an entrepreneurial acumen to collect organic products, from even very distant places, to ensure that the consumer is delivered a perfect organic meal.
I was particularly bowled over by the very soft, artistic, aesthetically done organic interiors of the restaurant. Lumiere also takes you around the world of organics, providing you an insight into the world of food supply and the rich biodiversity that we are losing with every passing day. It is not only an effort to create an appropriate ambiance, but also to make an average consumer learn more about the beautiful world outside, a world that is becoming a victim of increasing consumerism and unprecedented commercialisation.
You don't realise that you are actually responsible for destroying your biodiversity. By going organic, you actually take the first step in conserving and preserving nature's bounties.
Lumiere may be a small step for Bangalorians, but it can surely turn into a giant leap for Indians. Knowing the increasing realisation about the dangers of consuming what is available off-the-shelf in India, I am sure organic food will gradually turn into a nationwide movement.
I am pasting below the Organic Alternatives that Lumiere provides (it is taken from its brochure)
Lumiere has been cultivating vegetables organically in our own farm in Kanthalloore,Munnar from 2003. Since then we have started more farms in Kolar, Vypin and Naduvattom to meet the needs of our restaurants and customers. Apart from those available in our own farms, we procure from similar farms in India which are strictly following the organic farming practices.
The milk we use comes from our farms in Vypin, Kochi and Kolar, Karnataka. Because of the freshness and quality of the bio-dynamic farm milk, we are able to deliver high quality dairy products.
We have poultry farms in Vypin, Kochi and Kolar, Karnataka. At Lumiere farms, birds are fed only highest quality natural materials—maize, rice derivates, soya and sunflower extracts, plenty of greens etc. No antibiotics, growth hormones, synthetic coloring agents, artificial stimulants or any material of animal origin are included in the feed.
Cage-free: The chickens are housed humanely and are kept on litter so that they are free to run around and have ready access to feed, water, perching and nesting privacy. They are not confined in cages, as is otherwise a common practice the country over.
An excellent source of protein, minerals and vitamins, fish is one of the healthiest eat you can find on our planet. We agree, nowadays the marine products are also contaminated due to increased wastage disposal from the industries, which is a cause of worry. But the sea food from the deep sea can be considered somewhat safe and it is cultivated naturally.
Rice & Wheat
We procure boiled as well as raw rice from organic farms of Kerala, Karnataka and
Tamil Nadu. Have a normal meal and feel the difference. We get Basmati rice from
organic farms in North India. Only organic whole wheat atta for our phulkas, rotis,
breads and other bakery products.
We use only organic sunflower and coconut oils in our kitchen. The organic olive oil for our salads and grills is imported.
No Red Meal
Considering health issues like increasing cholesterol, fatigue, uric acid and decreasing physical exercise we have decided not to serve red meat in our restaurant.
We promote Wheatgrass juice as a health drink, being rich in Chlorophyll, the basis
of all plant life. Science has proven that chlorophyll arrests growth and development
of unfriendly bacteria. Wheatgrass also contains 20 amino acids, several hundred
different enzymes not found in other foods, as many as 90 out of 102 possible minerals, vitamins and other important nutrients. It is a great supplement for people on diet, for sports people, and for people who want to maintain a healthy immune system.
Other ingredients like spices, pulses and legumes are all sourced from certified organic farms in India. All these are also available for purchase in our eco-shop in the same premises.