Chef Sachin Chopra of All Spice Talks About Celebrating Diwali

Chef Sachin Chopra, all dressed up for the holiday, puts the finishing touches on a dessert for Diwali.

For Chef-Proprietor Sachin Chopra of All Spice in San Mateo, the celebration of Diwali always has had a special place in his heart.

After all, the joyous Festival of Lights, which starts on Oct. 26, is not only one of the most important Hindu holidays, but also marks the New Year.

It’s a time for gathering with family and friends. It’s a time to illuminate the house with candles. It’s also a major time for sweets.

As champagne is poured to signify important celebrations, sweets play a similar role in Sachin’s native India. They are readily offered to visitors in a warm gesture of welcome.

Candles are lit to commemorate the Festival of Lights.

The chef, who specializes in California cuisine with Indian and global influences, likes to create modern takes on Indian desserts at his year-old restaurant.

His chocolate kulfi, rich as ganache and adorned with glam silver leaf, is already the most popular dessert on the menu.

A beautiful chocolate kulfi.

Sweet, fluffy balls of fresh cheese adorned with saffron threads.

He also makes sandesh, extremely sweet fluffy balls of fresh cheese decorated with saffron threads and accompanied by fruit compote.

Learn more about how this talented chef celebrates this meaningful holiday, as well as find the recipe for chocolate kulfi, in my story in Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle Food section.

Arranging the saffron thread on the sandesh.

Winner of the Previous Contest: In last week’s Food Gal contest, I asked you to tell me what’s Greek to you. In other words, to name something you find incomprehensible. The winner will receive a signed copy of the new cookbook, “Kokkari: Contemporary Greek Flavors” (Chronicle Books).

Congrats to:

Jenny, who wrote, “What I find incomprehensible are all the American fad diets. I’m American and it still drives me crazy. Why can’t we just be like the rest of the world and enjoy great food in moderation?”

More: My Dinner at All Spice

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