Op-Food - Caroline Byrne. Being ethical about ethnic.

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The word 'ethnic' is used in the restaurant industry to describe food that's not native, not European. When you see the word 'ethnic', it's not referring to French or Italian food. It's talking about Asian, Indian and anything generally regarded as not 'Western'. It's bad.
In recognition of that fact, the term 'world cuisine' has been coined to make it sound less pejorative and, frankly, racist. It's still 'ethnic' in bullshit pyjamas, however.
We have been lucky enough that our 'ethnic' friends have chosen to come to our little island and share with us their 'world cuisine' and, in spite of our clumsy way of showing it, we appreciate it. Until very recently, however, the offering has been humble to the point of self defeating. Never wanting to challenge or intrude too much upon our fearful palates, dishes have been muted to the point of totally disregarding the culinary traditions from which they originated. But, as Irish minds and hearts opened up to the idea of welcoming something different, our 'ethnic' friends have come out to meet us.
Standing in a well known Dublin pub with a gang of friends, I listened as these non-foodies waxed about a meal they'd waited a long, long time to have. They waited because the restaurant in question has burst onto the scene to such acclaim that it takes a long time to get a table on a Friday night.
The restaurant is Pickle, from locally and internationally renowned chef Sunil Ghai, and his front of house partner, Benny Jacob. Sunil and Benny are known from their many years with the Jaipur group and its flagship restaurant, Ananda, one of the first Indian operations to bring integrity and authenticity to Indian cooking in Ireland.
Pickle, however, has touched people like no other 'ethnic' restaurant has done before. The food is vibrant and delicious - subtly re-imagined renditions of classic North Indian fare - but that's not all it has achieved.
Pickle is personal, real and like home. Pickle is not 'ethnic’. It is ours. Pickle is from its Indian and its Irish home, and it feels like home. Sunil and Benny have brought everything about India that is delightful and surprising - its colour, its fragrance, its vibrancy - and also everything that is familiar, creating something loving, nourishing, friendly and special.
When future food historians record the landmarks of this era, Pickle will be remembered as the restaurant that disposed with 'ethnic' and made the unfamiliar familiar.