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Sandor Ellix Katz aka Sandorkraut

Is a fermentation revivalist and author of the books 'Wild Fermentation (2003)', which is considered among the best texts on fermentation ever, and 'Art Of Fermentation (2012)', which received a James Beard award and was a finalist at the International Association of Culinary Professionals.

Sandor's interest in fermentation grew out of overlapping interests in cooking, nutrition and gardening. It started with sauerkraut. He once found an old crock buried in his barn, harvested cabbage from our garden, chopped it up, salted it, and waited. That first kraut tasted alive and powerfully nutritious! Its sharp flavor he says sent his salivary glands into a frenzy and got him hooked on to fermentation. He has made sauerkraut ever since, earning the nickname Sandorkraut, even as his repertoire has expanded. He has explored and experimented widely in the realm of fermentation, massively encourages home fermentation experimentalists and propels more live-culture foods out into our culture. The New York Times calls him “one of the unlikely rock stars of the American food scene.”

Sandor has travelled India widely to explore fermentation practices here and he is going to relive all those stories!

You can follow Sandor at

Day 1

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Mentor and Guru to many, Dr. Kurush F. Dalal is a man of a mile-long list of accomplishments and interests. In his own words, he eats, digs, and writes. He is an Archeologist, and a Culinary Anthropologist, Co-Director of the Salcette Explorations Project, Consulting Editor with Live History India, and the Director of the School of Archaeology of the INSTUCEN Trust. He is also a most fabulous teacher, and the man behind a first-of-its-kind course in India that studies FOOD through a multidisciplinary lens – The Studying Food Workshop. He is also very very cool and you can follow him on @kurushdalal over on Instagram.


Dr. Dalal will be flagging off Desi Cultures by speaking to us on Fermentation in India: A Brief History.

PS: Bring notepads and pens to his session.

Krish Ashok is a full-time techie, part-time musician, occasional columnist and a twice-a-day home cook who is writing a book on food science for the Indian kitchen for Penguin India due later in 2020.

You can follow him on twitter at @krishashok  (if you don’t already – he’s quite the Twitter Celebrity and we are fans.)


Krish will be speaking to us on the Science of Desi Cultures! Or what we like to call Fizzy Logic.


(PS: He may kill us for calling it that, but we’re adventurous and brave, just like Microbes.)

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Sangeeta Khanna is a trained microbiologist who worked extensively on antioxidant pigments from Cyanobacteria and it’s pharmacological applications (just nod your heads it’s okay) 25 years ago. We are lucky that she later moved to nutrition and the culinary world realising that the age old culinary wisdom has all the answers for modern day dietary irregularities. She works with many hotels and resorts in developing menus and wellness concepts, teaches at premier design institutes of India about application of design in food systems and writes about things that connect these dots. You can follow her at @sangeetaamkhanna on Instagram.

Sangeeta will be speaking to us about Fermented Pickles as well as Fermentation and its Relationship with Flavour. She will also be conducting demos for us in her sessions. We couldn’t be more excited about having her aboard our fermentation bus, and are waiting eagerly for her to connect the dots for us.

Dr Mahesh Sabade is an accomplished Ayurveda Consultant. He has earned degrees - BAMS and MD in the field of Ayurveda from the University of Pune specializing in Medicine - Panchakarma. He now runs an Ayurveda Clinic ( and a residential Ayurvedic Panchakarma treatment centre (

Also a speaker and an author, he has written many articles, research papers and case reports published in India and abroad. He is also the co-author of a book - 'Ahaar the scientific diet'.


Dr Sabade is a proud recipient of awards such as Dharam Hinduja Scholarship, International Educators Award (USA), Ayurveda Bharati etc. You can follow him on Twitter @mahesh_sabade


Dr. Sabade will be speaking to us on Ayurveda’s take on Fermentation, which is one that comes with many intricacies and layers that we’re looking forward to being unpacked by someone with his immense expertise.

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Preeti Rajesh Deo is a special educationist, food blogger and an author of the culinary heritage Indian cookbook 'Paat Paani, exploring Marathwada Cuisine with memories of family and food'. The book is about the flavours Preeti grew up with, and is an exploration of family life, customs and rituals within the framework of the regional cuisine of the Marathwada region in western India. She is also known for her project, Ruchira Videshini (her take on Julie & Julia), in which she cooked through the iconic Marathi cookbook Ruchira, learning the nuances of the cuisine.

Now, Preeti is looking to popularise and serve up Marathi cuisine in her English kitchen, and you can follow her over on Instagram on @myukkitchen

Preeti and her husband host a meal every year where they cook a lesser-known-Indian meal for the community; this helps reminisce and spread awareness of the cuisine. She also believes with a surge of commercialisation in food industry, there is a sincere need to promote home-cooked food allowing the taste of family meals. Importantly, any funds raised during these events go to charities in India.

Currently Preeti she's studying the historical aspect of food which is the topic of the next project she is working on. (And we know she is doing this very very diligently and painstakingly!) 


Preeti is someone we really look up to for her dedicated application to her love for food, and we are looking forward to her speaking to us about Fermentation as is in the sutras - in texts from ancient and medieval India.

Day 2

Saee Koranne-Khandekar is a food writer and culinary consultant based in Mumbai. She is primarily interested in regional food traditions, and has authored books on bread making in India and Marathi cuisine. Her books are, The Gore Family Cookbook, which chronicles family recipes. Crumbs, on breads and bread-making in India, and Pangat, a comprehensive study of Marathi Cuisine and recipes from it.

Saee is also a fantastic cook, and her Instagram Feed is an inspiration for many a lunch or dinner not just in our home but many homes!

You can follow Saee on @skoranne over on Instagram


Saee will be speaking to us about fermented breads from across India and doing a demo too. 

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Sheetal Bhatt is a true blue  Amdavadi  currently based in  Singapore.  A development professional by training she has worked extensively with some of the most marginalised communities of Gujarat. 6 years back Sheetal set out to document the foods of Gujarat through her  blog theroute2roots, which showcases Gujarati food beyond the popular (Dhokla!) and upholds the dignity of simple home-cooked meals. Theroute2roots was also conceived for the need to document the fading culinary practices. Each region of Gujarat eats differently, each community eats differently and all there was a need to bring this to light. The objective now is to make theroute2roots a comprehensive resource on  Gujarati cuisine and various aspects related to Gujarati culinary traditions. You can also follow her on her Instagram handle by the same name - @theroutetoroots

Sheetal is also a part of the Shalikuta collective.


Needless to say, there’s no one better than Sheetal to give us an insight into the fermentation traditions of Gujarat!

Deepa Reddy is a cultural anthropologist and was tenured faculty at the University of Houston-Clear Lake until her return to India over a decade ago, when she began teaching her classes online. She has researched and published on topics ranging from women's activism and political Hinduism to caste-race-ethnicity and bioethics, blood donation, and the cultural meanings of the mobile phone. Most recently, she was lead researcher for Chennai on The Asthma Files, a global multi-city study of air quality and environmental governance. Parallelly, she consults and conducts professional trainings for Human Factors International .Deepa's avid interest in food reflects neither in her somewhat undernourished blog (, she is admittedly an accidental and lazy blogger) nor in her record of publications--but she actively studies local ingredients and practices, and experiments with what she learns in her own home kitchen. In 2019, she convened Shalikuta along with 7 other bloggers, photographers and researchers, an ethnobotanical project to

document the neutraceutical properties of Indian heritage rice varieties, alongside their uses in therapy and daily cookery.


Deepa will be speaking to us about the traditional fermentation practices of Tamil Nadu. We know from experience that the session shall leave us asking for more – for which you can follow her on her Instagram handle @paticheri

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Sweta Biswal is an independent food researcher focussed on documenting and preserving the traditional foods and  practices of Odisha. Her work is centred around 'the food habits of the masses' and also traces its gradual evolution over the decades. Sweta has done some exemplary work in recording the lesser known, or spoken about aspects of the culinary Culture of Odisha, and its Lost Recipes. You can follow her work on her Instagram feed @swetabiswal. Sweta is also a part of the Shalikuta collective.


Sweta will be speaking with us about the fermentation traditions of Odisha and large, and the Pakhala in particular.

Day 3

Dr. Aaron Savio Lobo is a marine conservation scientist with a PhD from the University of Cambridge. His interest in the sea was ironically driven by his love for seafood. His work has largely focused on understanding the costs of seafood production on vulnerable marine species and livelihoods and finding ways to make the seafood system more sustainable through policy and practice (which includes Gastronomy). His work involves designing, supporting and implementing projects which include understanding the impacts of tropical trawl fisheries, managing marine protected areas and setting up fisheries monitoring programmes in Asia and West Africa.


You can follow him over on Twitter and Instagram at @meenscientist


Aaron shall be speaking to us on the role of Fermentation in the Preservation of Fish, from the point of view of a conservation scientist, and urging us to explore the future in this seminar that focuses more on the past. We can’t wait.

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Aditya Raghavan is a cheese maker, a cheese & dairy consultant in India, and a published food writer, who currently works as a chef at Duchess Bakeshop in Edmonton, Canada. After working as a postdoctoral physicist at the University of Alberta, he left academia to pursue his interest in food. He has spent time in Italy and France learning the intricate details of traditional cheese making, and was the first Indian to be a delegate at Slow Food's Cheese 2017 conference, where he spoke about cheese and dairy traditions in the Himalayas. He is well-versed in Indian cuisine and is the recipient of the 2018 South Asia Arts Spectrum Award in Culinary Arts.


On Instagram as @bigaddie, Aditya has quite a bunch of ardent fans including us.


Addie will be doing a marathon three-hour-long workshop with us on Fermentation in Indian Dairy. We suggest you come armed with a flask of Coffee.

Mansi Jasani is a cheesemaker, cheesemonger and the founder of The Cheese Collective. Her cheese journey began with an affinage internship at Murray’s Cheese in New York and since then she has been constantly learning about cheese and mongering through her experiences at cheese conferences and festivals in the US, Italy & France. From hosting pairing workshops to a co-authored chapter on India for The Oxford Companion to Cheese, Mansi is all about the cheese and the ideas and items that go with it. What she loves the most is to share the story of cheese and find the next unique pairing. 


You can follow her over on Instagram at @thecheesecollective or @cheesewali


We love how Cheesy Mansi is and are eagerly looking forward to her speak to us about the love of her life – Cheese of course. Mansi will speaking to us about traditional Indian Cheese and co-hosting a workshop on Dairy Traditions of India.

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Payal Shah has been fermenting for over 20 years now. She is self-taught and got her love for fermenting from her grandmother. She curates cool stuff at the crossroads of fermentation, gastronomy, food history and geography, gut health and microbiology. She teaches fermentation (mostly virtually) from her tiny lab-kitchen in Bangalore, aiming to make fermentation accessible, fun and un-intimidating. She writes, travels (in safer times) researches and consults as well.

You can follower her over on Instagram at @kobofermentary

She will be speaking to us about the varieties of Vinegar found traditionally in India, and also teaching us how to make a Vinegar of our own!

Kashmiri Nath is a Chef, Food Consultant and a blogger based in Guwahati, Assam. She is the first Assamese Home Chef who took Assamese Cuisine outside the State to the fine Dining space of Star Hotels. She promotes Assamese and North Eastern Cuisine through her Food Festivals all over the country, bringing the culinary tradition of her region to the rest of India. Within Assam, Kashmiri has played a key role in reviving heirloom recipes and has brought back almost forgotten grains, like 'Kumol Sawal' into the mainstream.  She also serves as the permanent Jury Member at Guwahati Food Awards and is the Founder at North East Food Forum, which promotes healthy and sustainable food systems.

You can follow her over at @kashmirinath on instagram

Kashmiri will be speaking to us about the traditional fermentation practices from the North East of India, a vast topic that we can only just dip our toes into - for which we will need another three-day conference just to understand Fermentation Practices in North East India


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