Sometimes I wonder, just how and why the UpperCrust Show achieved the success it has. I mean, a lot of people put in a lot of effort at different events they conduct, so that can`t be the reason – though yes, hard work always pays rich dividends. Like our objective was to share our knowledge and expertise and help food lovers understand and try out new international cuisines, as also to put the spotlight on the diverse and rich regional foods of India.
When we organised this food and wine show, in Bombay, for the first time in 2003, we were also celebrating the popularity of UpperCrust, India`s first food, wine and style magazine that we were so proud to publish. We are just celebrating our 15th year of publishing, in fact. UpperCrust has very successfully maintained the ‘Best Food Mag’ niche it has created for itself. It is available pan-India and has subscribers from across the globe, especially from NRI dense capitals of the world. It has grown and marked its footprint in the digital space too. One can now subscribe to the online version of the mag and follow it on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The magazine was three years old then and much appreciated. Encouraged by feedback from readers in India and in fact the whole world, with the contacts that we were creating in the international food and wine markets, it was logical to conduct a food festival.
Happily, through a 100 booths, we introduced international ingredients and food products to our readers and other visitors at the Show. We gave them knowledge and understanding about different cuisines through live cookery demos, so they could go home with these ingredients, not easily available otherwise, and have the confidence to cook with them. Catching their imagination, making them bigger fans of both the magazine and the Show, the story of UpperCrust got more interesting.
Today, 12 UpperCrust Shows on, I am happy to inform you that our food and wine event is not just considered the biggest of India, in both the business and end-consumer sector, but the most respected, with the largest footfall of all.
That`s fine, makes me happy. But what pleases me most is that UpperCrust has become the platform from which catering college students and young entrepreneurs take their leap of faith.
But one confession. We would not be where we are, were it not for the kind of people who have associated with our food shows. Chief guests who have been friends, supporters and admirers. The very first was Asha Bhosle, not just a foodie, but one who is a good cook and who loves to feed those around her. Or Mukesh Ambani, who inaugurated the 2nd UpperCrust Show and who told me, in his simple way, as we walked the food alleys, "You have done the right thing launching this show. Food business will soon be bigger than any other business and it will never be affected by any recession, ever." Prophetic words and he did get into food retail business with Reliance Fresh soon after.
There were others; Salman Khan who strode in, wearing a tight batik T-shirt and enquiring even before he lit the inaugural lamp, if there was baida roti and gurda masala around and then going on to polish off the contents on a sizzling tawa, at JafferBhai’s Delhi Darbar stall.
Amitabh Bachchan, too. Yes, he came, he saw and he was conquered. "What have you got here?," he asked me, "I did not expect such a magnitude of scale," he smiled even as over 60 journos, photographers and TV cameramen jostled to get a sound bite.
John Abraham, Karan Johar, Vijaypat Singhania (who cooks really well), Akshay Kumar, six consul generals, five hoteliers, the late Yash Chopra. Then came the Khiladi, the one and only, Akshay Kumar. And the largest group of them, of politicians and Bollywood celebs, and lastly, power women in the food industry, Perizaad Zorabian and Zeba Kohli. All have graciously been chief guests of the UpperCrust Shows and I am beholden to them all.
Promoter: The UpperCrust Show