The Goan Chef Decolonizing South Indian Culinary Identity Through Plant-Based Meals

The Goan Chef Decolonizing South Indian Culinary Identity Through Plant-Based Meals
Zuri Camille De Souza

‘An endless summer dance, meditation’ or more precisely a raison d’etre (reason for existence) is what cooking means to Zuri Camille De Souza.

Born and raised in Goa to a family that lived by the ‘food is love’ and vice versa, nourriture (food) lies at the core of Camille’s existence who dons multiple roles as a cook, graphic designer, ecologist, and a chef in residence currently.

Camille’s relationship with food started at a young age that cemented the strong emotional and perceptual foundation of her relationship with nature. Her earliest memories date back to feasting on a bowl of yoghurt in the Goan sun, noisy mornings of market runs for crabs and fish with her grandparents and a typical Indian household that centred on the kitchen.

Combining her background in graphic design and urbanism with a love for botany, Camille challenges us to revaluate our relation with nature through acts of healing, ingesting and nourishing.

Dealing with a sense of mindfulness and a thoughtful design process to build a culinary movement that restores and reinstates a healthy relationship with nature, Camille brings an immeasurable intention to the kitchen.

Currently heading a Marseille-based independent catering business ‘SANNA’ that pays homage to Indian culinary heritage and as a chef in Marseille at Villa Medici, she brings people together to bond over plant-forward food immersed in the goodness of pure intentions and ethical consumption.

“Cooking is a way of paying homage to my family, to all the love my grandmother put into the meals she prepared, to the walks I took with my father to compare dishes from neighbourhood food stalls, to my mother who explained to me that the best pie dough resembles the wet sand lining the beach, and to my brother, who was enthusiastic about perfecting each new recipe he discovered.’    

— Camille De Souza on her relationship with cooking.

Sensing a lack of true representation for Indian food that somehow gets swept into a box with no proper recognition of diversity and nuance, she decided to pursue the Indian food palette through an indigenous lens and works towards decolonizing the South Indian culinary identities through thought-out, plant-based meals rich in flavour and history.

Plant-forward, seasonal and always a poetic ode to her Indian heritage, Camille delights guests with her refreshing take on Roman dishes. There’s no dearth of flavour, unorthodox combinations that work well and a strong ‘food for thought’ sentiment at Camille’s table.

View her work here.

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