The Nilgiris Wild Food Festival 2022

by Team TNF

The end of the year is a time of celebrations. It is a time to reflect. It is a time of togetherness. Central to these celebrations is food, which has across cultures and over centuries become a ritual for forging bonds and connections. 

With our first edition of The Nilgiris Wild Foods Festival 2022, food takes center stage. This is a unique festival that celebrates the wild and cultivated indigenous foods and mostly organically grown local produce of the Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve.

Photo credits: Ramya Reddy

A Celebration in the Blue Mountains

Spread over four days, the Festival is a platform for indigenous cooks & growers, renowned chefs, organic farmers, artists, writers, musicians, local residents, and visitors to come together and celebrate the food and culinary traditions in NBR.

Our celebrated chefs, speakers, and panelists include,

● Lathika George, Environmentalist, Author, Organic Gardener
● Abhijit Saha, Hospitality & FB Consultant, Restaurateur, Author, Chef
● Thomas Zacharias, Chef & Founder, The Locavore
● Rakesh Raghunathan, Food Historian, Raconteur, South Indian Culinary Ambassador
● Arup Kakati, Corporate Chef, The Littlearth Group
● Jenny Pinto, Filmmaker, Lighting Designer, Writer, Culinary Consultant
● Pratim Roy, Founder-Director, Keystone Foundation & The Nilgiris Foundation
● Snehlata Nath, Founder-Director, Keystone Foundation
● Mathew John, Managing Director, Last Forest & Founder-Director, Keystone Foundation
● Robert Leo, Advisor, Keystone Foundation & Aadhimalai (APPCL)
● Dr. Harish R. P., Postdoctoral Research Fellow & Project Manager, ATREE
● Janagiamma, Managing Director, Aadhimalai, Healer, Journalist, Organic Farmer
● Malliga, Coordinator (Pillur), Aadhimalai

Through a series of themed events, the Festival will spread awareness and preserve the myriad native food traditions and culinary knowledge from the region. We will be talking about food futures, urban foraging, and more. And, of course, there will be plenty of food: from a meal made after a day of foraging with the Irulas to a sit-down Badaga meal and chefs’ tables that will serve up unique flavors from specially crafted menus. 

Day 1—The Nilgiris Forest Walk

Go foraging with people from the Irula community and learn about traditional practices.

Day 2—The Nilgiris Culture Day

Attend talks and enjoy cultural programs, exhibitions, tastings, and a sit-down Badaga meal.

Day 3— Chefs’ Tables 

Check out chefs’ tables with experimental menus and our pop-up that features Aadhimalai and other local producers.

Day 4—Partner Events

Visit our partners Café Diem, Coonoor and Periodic Table, Ooty.

Wild Foods, Wild Vision

The Nilgiris Foundation and other local producers., a sister concern of The Keystone Foundation and other local producers, intends to leverage the annual Nilgiris Wild Foods Festival to open a dialogue and bring awareness to the importance of wild, local and seasonal food and conservation and sustainability in the food production industry in a climate-changed future.

With regional wild foods at its heart, this is an inclusive event that invites participation from various stakeholders from within the region and from across the country.

Join us this holiday season in the Nilgiris. There will be food, conversation, and hope for a climate-changed future.

Festival Details

Dates: 19, 21, 22, 23 December 2022

Locations: Kotagiri, Ooty, Coonoor