Indian food has found a passionate fan following across the world. Citizens of the country as well as those settled abroad share their strong feelings about the cuisine every time someone tries to criticise it. When US-based journalist Tom Nichols shared his controversial food opinion about Indian food, all hell broke loose and he received severe backlash on his tweet. "Indian food is terrible and we pretend it isn't," he said amid much furore on the internet. TV show host and cookbook author Padma Lakshmi questioned him, "Do you not have tastebuds?"
However, Nichols' Twitter friend, Preet Bharara decided to change his mind by making him try some of the most delicious dishes of the Indian cuisine. The duo ventured to Priyanka Chopra's newly inaugurated restaurant 'Sona' in New York City to sample some lip-smacking dishes. The actress posted on Instagram stories about the same:
"The healing power of food. Thank you for this," wrote Priyanka Chopra on Instagram Story. Tom Nichols and Preet Bharara embarked upon their food journey starting with the much-loved Indian street food, Golgappa. They followed this up with a mutton cutlet, which Nichols said 'softened his defenses'.
Soon, the duo realised that their live-tweeting of Indian food was actually getting immense engagement. They decided to put Twitter to good use, prompting 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 whole meal and curate the moment. Slowly, donations poured in and they crossed the $50,000 mark by the time they were halfway through the meal. "It was now over $50,000. Preet and I looked at each other in disbelief. But if people were going to keep donating, I was going to keep eating," wrote Nichols in US Today.
They also sampled dishes such as Butter Chicken and Lamb Biryani at the restaurant, along with multiple delicious Indian breads. To keep followers active and funds coming in, they pegged the activity of eating to the donations. "I'll keep eating if you keep donating," wrote Tom Nichols in his tweet. They finally managed to raise a whopping $128,000 simply by putting social media to good use. 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're well past $100,000 in COVID relief for India. And now @RadioFreeTom likes biriyani. Thanks again to the great folks at SONA restaurant. ????#IndianFoodSummithttps://t.co/M7sY5kuhwYpic.twitter.com/LEHnBHPT5m— Preet Bharara (@PreetBharara) June 12, 2021
Internet users too widely appreciated the joint campaign by Preet Bharara and Tom Nichols. While the duo feasted on Indian food and shared a mutual appreciation for the cuisine, they also managed to achieve a generous amount of funds for COVID relief in India. Take a look at some of the reactions:
Biryani is always good— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) June 11, 2021
This is about so much more than food - it is a lesson in humility & generosity. Our era is filled with unrelenting righteous indignation, so it is refreshing to see someone change their mind as a new friend shows them a different perspective. Bravo, @RadioFreeTom & @PreetBhararahttps://t.co/KH5AzeaCqX— James Ketterer (@jpketterer) June 12, 2021
.@RadioFreeTom pokes the Internet, writes about the ensuing furor, @PreetBharara turns it into a fundraiser that's netted over $80,000 so far. Wow. Congratulations to both of you. Column: https://t.co/ND0fkyuPmB Fundraiser info: https://t.co/SvNNBjWckO#IndianFoodSummithttps://t.co/8MGZAzbxnm— Jill Lawrence (@JillDLawrence) June 11, 2021
I love everything about this. Glad to see it come together. Great article by Tom too!— john dillon (@yomptons_finest) June 12, 2021
Congratulations on the result and this great work! PS: There is no greater food on the planet than Indian Food. (Married the love of my life thanks to curry????)— Stacey Kent (@stacey_kent) June 13, 2021
What a great way to kill two birds with one stone, right? Tell us what you thought about the amazing story.
About Aditi AhujaAditi loves talking to and meeting like-minded foodies (especially the kind who like veg momos). Plus points if you get her bad jokes and sitcom references, or if you recommend a new place to eat at.