“The idli is the simplest and easiest to make,” she exclaims, having just kneaded the special clay to fashion it into tiny, fluffy, moist idlis. Except that they are non-edible, never mind that they look decidedly real.

Chennai-based artiste Shilpa Mitha, has people flocking to her from all corners of the world, to create micro replicas of food they are fond of. The latest being her rendition of internationally-renowned Michelin-starred chef Vikas Khanna’s  favourite khichdi. “Someone wanted to gift it to him, and I included an additional replica of the pea soup – another favourite of the chef, for him,” she enthuses, as the visual reception of the goodies has Insta peeps in a tizzy.

It is an amazing feat for the quilling artiste who has turned into a pseudo chef, powered by her love for food and passion to pioneer an artform in the country. Shilpa has perfected the fine layers, rolls, sheen and real visage of hotsellers in the cuisines worldwide. Her practised hands work their magic to stun people across the globe. “The most difficult is the rendition of rice. A rice dish can take me upto five days to prepare,” she confesses.

“Each grain needs to be crafted separately and given the complexion for the entire dish to unify. So just the rolling of the grains itself can take me upto three days as the grains need to be same in size and shape. Some dishes that people commission and share images of, I have to read up instensively on. That is my in-depth research, studying the ingredients that goes into their making. Like I have just finished making the Parsi delicacy, the berry pulao, and found out that cranberries rev up its complexion and flavour,” shares Shilpa, who by self-admission is not conversant with all cuisines but makes it her business to dig out the details of each project. The girl who did art classes in school has taken to a new kind of artistic expression.

Shilpi Madan for Asian Age

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