Indian cuisine has found a passionate fan across the world. Citizens of the country as well as those settled abroad share their strong feelings about the cuisine whenever someone tries to criticize it. When US-based journalist Tom Nichols shared his controversial take on Indian food, everything went wild and he received a heavy backlash on his tweet. “Indian food is terrible and we pretend it’s not,” he said amid an internet outcry. Padma Lakshmi, TV host and cookbook author, asked him, “Don’t you have taste buds?
Indian food is terrible and we claim it’s not. https://t.co/NGOUtRUCUN—Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) November 23, 2019
(Also read: American professor calls Indian food ‘terrible’, sparks controversy on Twitter)
However, Nichols’ Twitter friend, Preet Bharara, decided to change his mind by making him try some of the most delicious dishes in Indian cuisine. The duo ventured to Priyanka Chopra’s new “Sona” restaurant in New York City to sample some lip-smacking dishes. The actress posted stories about it on Instagram:
(Also Read: From Food to Decor: Inside Priyanka Chopra’s New ‘Sona’ Restaurant)
“The healing power of food. Thank you for that,” Priyanka Chopra wrote on Instagram Story. Tom Nichols and Preet Bharara embarked on their food journey starting with the much-loved Indian street food, Golgappa. They followed that up with a mutton chop, which Nichols said “softened his defenses.”
Soon, the duo realized that their live-tweeting of Indian food was actually getting huge engagement. They decided to put Twitter to good use, urging users to donate money to raise funds for the raging COVID-19 pandemic in India. The duo used the hashtag #IndianFoodSummit to live-tweet the entire meal and organize the moment. Slowly the donations poured in and they broke the $50,000 mark halfway through the meal. “It was now over $50,000. Preet and I looked at each other in disbelief. But if people kept giving, I was going to keep eating,” Nichols wrote in US Today.
They also sampled dishes such as Butter Chicken and Lamb Biryani at the restaurant, as well as several delicious Indian breads. To keep followers active and funds coming in, they tied eating activity to donations. “I will continue to eat if you continue to donate,” Tom Nichols wrote in his tweet. They eventually managed to raise $128,000 just by using social media wisely. Nichols also agreed that Lamb Biryani was one of the Indian dishes he was addicted to. Take a look at the tweets:
Holy butter chicken! We are well over $100,000 in COVID relief for India. And now @RadioFreeTom love biriyani. Thanks again to the great people at SONA Restaurant. ????#IndianFoodSummithttps://t.co/M7sY5kuhwYpic.twitter.com/LEHnBHPT5m—Preet Bharara (@PreetBharara) June 12, 2021
I agree that things may have changed. Pass the biriyani. https://t.co/9meIZ3jOMp—Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) June 11, 2021
(Also Read: Indian Food Is The Next Main Food Fad: Michelin Chefs)
Internet users have too widely appreciated the joint campaign of Preet Bharara and Tom Nichols. While the duo feasted on Indian dishes and shared a mutual appreciation for cooking, they also managed to secure a generous sum of funds for COVID relief in India. Take a look at some of the reactions:
What a great result – congratulations!
Biryani is always good— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) June 11, 2021
It’s more than food – it’s a lesson in humility and generosity. Our times are filled with righteous and unrelenting outrage, so it’s refreshing to see someone change their mind as a new friend shows them a different perspective. Well done, @RadioFreeTom & @PreetBhararahttps://t.co/KH5AzeaCqX—James Ketterer (@jpketterer) June 12, 2021
.@RadioFreeTom searches the internet, writes about the ensuing furor, @PreetBharara turns it into a fundraiser that has raised over $80,000 so far. wow. Congratulations to you two. Column: https://t.co/ND0fkyuPmB Fundraising Info: https://t.co/SvNNBjWckO#IndianFoodSummithttps://t.co/8MGZAzbxnm— Jill Lawrence (@JillDLawrence) June 11, 2021
I love everything about it. Glad to see it come together. Excellent article by Tom too! — john dillon (@yomptons_finest) June 12, 2021
Congratulations on the result and this great work! PS: There is no better food on the planet than Indian food. (I married the love of my life because of curry????)— Stacey Kent (@stacey_kent) June 13, 2021
What a great way to kill two birds with one stone, isn’t it? Let us know what you thought of this incredible story.