In Singapore, Devagi was tired of wine-tasting and appreciation workshops. In response, she came up with spice appreciation. While her father is from Tamil Nadu, her mother is Singapore-born; it resulted in Devagi’s palate being defined by the best of Tamil and Singaporean cuisine. But what is spice appreciation?
Devagi explains, “Spice appreciation is understanding and identifying spices. A lot of people were doing wine appreciation workshops in Singapore and I thought wine was not appreciated by everyone. Spices, on the other hand, were consumed by everyone irrespective of whether they were Chinese, Japanese or Singaporean.”
Devagi dedicates her workshops to making her audience more aware and mindful of the smell, touch, taste, and body of spices, how to identify them and store them. ‘‘So, I usually buy dehydrated spices, introduce each one and talk about the benefits,” adds Devagi.
As she grew, Devagi ventured into health drinks, grains for skin care and the use of spices in different cuisines.
Over the years, through her whiffs and brushes with the cultures of Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, India, Singapore and Uzbekistan, Devagi has set an aromatic trail that precedes her name. Author of more than 20 cookbooks, today she is fondly called the ‘spice queen’ of Singapore.
On September 17 the chef will be hosting a specially curated Asian food pop up at Chennai’s Taj Coromandel. At the pop up, the chef will experiment with the flavours of Asia and curate delectables like the satay burger and Singaporean laksa.
Entry by invitation only.