Inspired by the growing palate for sustainable and naturally available alternatives to animal-based meat, Hilton India and Wakao Foods, has kickstarted a sustainable food trend. The Wakao Fest, an exciting food festival is on currently at Conrad Bengaluru, with jackfruit as the core ingredient on its exquisite menu.

Jackfruit grows abundantly in Bengaluru and is a sustainably sourced plant-based meat substitute, supporting local producers and products, besides adding to the variety of plant-based alternatives prominently to the food and beverage scene in India. A sustainable crop, sourced locally, which does not need irrigation, pesticides or herbicides, jackfruit can be intergrown with other crops to create a regenerative ecosystem. Jackfruit meat is gluten-free, certified vegan and does not contain hormones or GMO.

The artisanal menu at The Wakao Fest has been curated by the culinary experts at Hilton to offer multiple cuisines and gourmet delights comprising starters, main course and desserts, by leveraging the versatility and richly layered flavours and textures of the jackfruit. Some of the dishes like Faux Pao, The Wakao Krapow, Parmesan Polenta, and Bar of Bliss are a delight to every connoisseur of good food.

Prashant Kulkarni, Director F&B, India-Hilton states, “We wanted to keep innovation, sustainability, and deliciousness at the front and center of the creative process, and we challenged our chefs to take jackfruit, the humblest of ingredients, and come up with a menu which will excite and intrigue the palate. With Wakao we have been able to do just that. Wakao is an expression that perfectly captures the flavourful twist of our dishes as well as the guests’ reaction when they dine with us. The shift towards plant-based alternatives is the most dominant food trend of 2021, triggered by the growing consciousness about mindful and healthy eating.”

Sairaj Dhond, Founder & CEO Wakao Foods, adds, “As the world looks at more plant-based alternatives, which are healthier and more sustainable options, there is a growing interest in meatless meals off late. The versatile and indigenously grown jackfruit is bursting onto the scene and finding itself being used more often. The pop-up therefore explores the versatility of the humble jackfruit, which is considered a superfood but needs to be more relevant across the cuisine culture of the country. It is a great honour to be associated with an international brand like the Hilton, so early in our life cycle. These kinds of platforms and collaborations give brands and start-ups like ours a fillip to take our efforts to more people and educate the consumer as well. The collaboration brings Hilton’s culinary expertise to one of our most loved indigenous products – Jackfruit.”

Srijan Vadhera, General Manager, Conrad Bengaluru shares, “As a global luxury brand, our vision globally reflects in our local actions. Keeping 2030 as the blueprint of achieving healthier lives through Sustainable Development Goals, this initiative from Hilton and Wakao foods will be impacting the umbrella hotels under it in a healthier manner to support sustainability, innovation and not to miss out, enticing palates with delicious flavours. Conrad Bengaluru launches the Wakao fest, to take you to an exploration of unexplored unique dishes, that will keep you mesmerised.” Waka Waka, Let’s Wakao!

Where & When: The Wakao Fest is on at F & B outlets – Caraway Kitchen at Conrad Bengaluru, @SAIPE at Hilton Goa, Coriander Kitchen at Conrad Pune, The Amber Kitchen at DoubleTree by Hilton Jaipur Amer, Terazzo at Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat & Spa to name a few. The festival will be celebrated from August to November 2021 across Bengaluru, Chennai, Trivandrum, Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Goa, Lucknow, Agra and Jaipur.