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FOOD

Choice steps

LAKSHMI BALIGA

Describing choices from a vegan way, this danseuse steps around many kinds of cuisine to enjoy Mexican.


Like any other gift, grace is also yours if you reach out and take it - and being able to reach out to it is a gift in itself. This combined with beauty is the perfect combination for a dancer to reach great heights. My guest this week has been hearing the sounds of the salangai even before she came into this world. She had her Arangetram when she was eight and from then on, has performed all over the world. "Since my mom Viji Prakash has her own dance school in Los Angeles I have had the opportunity to train under some great names in this form of art like Mahalingam and Kalyanasundaram Pillai(my mother's gurus) and Prof. C.V Chandrashekar."

She did her undergraduate studies in Mass Communication hoping to take up advertising or journalism and also do some dancing. "But after a five month stint in Chennai I soon realised that there is nothing called a part-time dancer, one has to give it a hundred percent and pursuing this form of art here is like doing a masters or a doctorate programme." Later she gathered the nuances of abhinaya from the exponent Bragha Bessell and today she is under the mentorship of the very elegant Malavika Sarukkai.

She has been the recipient of many awards like the Yuva Kala Barathi, Nadanamaamani from Kathik Fine Arts, Vasanthalakshmi-Narsimhachari Award from Narada Gana Sabha to name a few. She has the honour of a couple of prestigious grants from institutions in Southern California. She was a part of the Indian team in the recently concluded International dance show on television called The SuperStars of Dance. With her magnetic stage presence she portrays this art with precision and passion. She is the young, dynamic dancer with an expressive and distinct style - Mythili Prakash.

Her take on food

"I love food. I enjoy different kinds of cuisine and I dance enough to burn off all the excess calories," she says with a big smile. Nachos and anything Mexican tops the list but she also enjoys good pizzas and Thai food as well.


Her most unforgettable foodie moments are...

...in Berkeley when she was a student in University of California. "The place is known to be a food town which has no popular chains but just stand alone restaurants which are mainly small mom and pop joints, and each had a unique area of specialisation." Her all-time favourite was this little hole-in-the-wall place in the Ghetto Food Court which served the best Thai food she says. Spud Brothers was another eatery she regularly visited where there is a choice of over 50 kinds of baked potatoes. There were also restaurants which served great crepes but the one that does need special mention according to her is Cheese Board which served a pizza with no sauce but just various kinds of veggies topped with varieties of cheese. "Vegan food is getting very popular all over America and a diner called Smart Alex introduced some interesting options for those who prefer this kind of cuisine." What she really misses in Chennai is a chain like Soup Plantation which is well-known in parts of America for their range of soups, salads and breads.

Chennai choices...

... pizza and Thai food at The Park, Saravana Bhavan for an occasional snack but her choice would any day be Aangan, a small homely eatery behind the Citi Centre. "The Dhal Makhani and Parathas there are truly amazing and the kulfi is a must have," and this is evident from the number of matkas she has collected. Nibbles in Gopalapuram is a 'cute little bakery' she visits almost every day for her energy top-up. The chocolate truffle balls and fudge brownies are her recommendations. "You must pick up a few and don't forget to warm it up a bit before you eat them," she tells me before I leave.

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