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Anou Bocassam SS

“Every ingredient tells a story” Inspiring Conscious Living with Amazing Anou.

By Sunita Sehmi, Walk The Talk

A table chez Anou is the brainchild of architect and plant-based Chef Anou Boccasam. Her full name Annapoorna (Anou for short) translates to 'Goddess of Food' in Sanskrit and she really embodies this in her work and her raison d’être.

She created the table experience in 2014 with the desire to promote consciousness around food. Food as love, medicine, bonding, creativity, connection, freedom, art and joy. She likes to call it 'sustainability on a plate'. She uses her combined skills as an Architect, sustainability expertise, and passion for hearty and healthy home cooking to create a unique dining experience.

She has since furthered her skills in Raw Cuisine under world-renowned plant-based Chef Mathew Kenny’s Plant Lab in California and Ayurvedic foods from experts. Her plant-based menus are diverse in flavors and tastes and combines traditional cooking techniques with superfoods to give it a healthier and modern twist. I was lucky to interview her and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

How did you get to where you are today?
Serendipity! I have always believed great things happen when you allow life to happen. Life’s poetic justice has so much wisdom and more to teach than “controlled planning”. This journey of learning has lead me to create projects or ‘experiences’, as I like to call them that inspire conscious living. I share this with people through 3 segments – Live, Eat, and Give. Although seemingly different they are all deeply interconnected and only make sense and have impact when combined. I create experiences that nurture a healthy mind, body and space to achieve that perfect balance

anou phone

© Photograph by Surekha Photography

You are an architect by profession, what got you into food?
The beauty of being an Architect is that you are trained to create from nothing! This skill has withstood me in the most challenging of times. So, when I was challenged legally, economically, emotionally and spiritually by life in Geneva, it gave rise to a deep need to answer this call with panache! 

A trip to Japan, watching Midnight Diner and an under-utilized skill gave birth to A Table chez Anou. The rest, as they say, is history. Four years down the line, what started off as a humble desire to share the experience of kansha turned into a movement for community building and creating consciousness around food. This has led to multiple projects and collaborations that have been rich in learning for everyone.

My experience also teaches me that passion is good, but purpose is more powerful. It propels you to great heights. Having lived and worked around the globe, I have learned that sharing one’s passion and leading with purpose creates healthier communities and builds stronger bonds across barriers of language, culture, religion, sex and economic background.

What is A Table Chez Anou about?
A table Chez Anou is an experience I created to combine some of the most essential and fundamental principles of Food. In May 2014, on a whim, I opened my home to discerning foodies for a unique culinary moment of commensal. On select Tuesdays, diners come together at a common table to wine, dine and share lively conversations with a diverse group of guests for a one of kind experience. With unique themes, never repeated menus, and thoughtful conversations, it’s designed to titillate all your senses. It is an exciting, fun, delicious and healing experience!

The table d’hôte experience is designed primarily to make you feel at home. You are greeted by me with a welcome glass of champagne as we share stories. As diners meet and greet each other over amuse-bouches, detox waters and specialized seasonal drinks, I prep the degustation menu. I walk my diners through the various courses and explain the significance of their meal, the ingredients, medicinal value, how it supports their wellbeing, The theme dictates the flow of the conversation, table settings and plating. Some nights it’s an Indian thali on others it is a minimalist vegan sushi plate. The dinners are always topped off with raw, vegan and sugar-free desserts, herbal teas and coffee.

I encourage second helpings, I am always around for questions. I want everyone to experiencing a moment of ‘Kansha’ (gratitude).

What is unique about your dining experience?
I add a moral and spiritual dimension to food. I believe that food is not a product to be consumed mindlessly, it is an energy that should reflect on the body, mind and soul. So, I pay a lot of attention to details. The menus are seasonal, I use locally-grown organic produce and fair-trade ingredients of the highest quality but always keep in check the carbon foot print of the plate. I create my own recipes using ancient Indian recipes and Ayurvedic principles. I love using ‘vintage’ ingredients that are now called ‘super foods’ to give my food the added nutritional value that is missing from restaurant-style Indian food. I love layering and deconstructing the dishes to give it richness and flavor. My creativity is most profound when I am platting. What’s a dish – if it doesn’t look like one? The setting, ambience, music, lighting, how food is cooked, served and eaten are all key elements to making the experience unique.

What is ‘Kansha’?
Most often today, we don’t care who cooks our food or where it comes from! Kansha in Japanese means gratitude. I remember growing up my grandfather never got up from the table without saying ‘annadatta sukhi bhava’ meaning ‘I thank thee, the giver of food’. It’s such an important part of the meal. Thankfulness for the plentitude of nature, for the people and process that allows for the meals we eat. My purpose is for people to be inspired by the food to give gratitude.

You seem to care deeply about how people live and eat, could you tell us more?
I care therefore I am. Care and love go hand-in-hand for me. Without care and love you cannot do a good job of anything. When I care I am thinking of you, not myself. The questions that guide me then are: Did the room I design for you make you happy? Did the meal I cook increase their energy and performance? Can I unlock abundance through this conversation?

Anou Bocassam
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
076 344 64 03
2, ch. de la Carcellière
1222 Vésenaz

Sunita's Bio

sunitablogphoto nov2015

Sunita is an Executive Coach, Trainer and Consultant. She is of Indian origin and was born in London before moving to Geneva in 1992. She has a Psychology background (specialising in Occupational Psychology) and a Post Graduate in the Development and Training of Adults. She also completed a Masters in Ressources Humaines, Coaching et Gestion des Carrières at the University of Geneva.

During her 26 years experience Sunita's drive has always been to help people to do their best and hence led her to create Walk The Talk.

In her free time Sunita is a Mentor for the Branson Center of Entrepreneurship and a proud member of the School in The Cloud Team.