Taste defines culture. Food, just like myths and stories and ancient heirlooms, are gems passed down to us from our ancestors. From the banana-leaf-wrapped goodness of the South to the meaty, seasoned curries of the North, India’s many diverse cultural lines are easily distinguished from one another by the foods they call their own. More than just a means of sustenance, food is an expression of emotion, a means of celebration, and a story waiting to be told. Welcome to TheVibe’s Humans of Food, a series in which we bring you authentic stories of people, cultures, places and thoughts, as told through the medium of food, and those who would make and consume it.
Meet Roycin D’souza: Music Photographer, Videographer, DJ, Content Marketing Guy for OML, and Lover of All Things Bacon.
“I started cooking when I was seventeen or eighteen after I discovered Youtube,” Roycin reveals. “I really just want to f*ck shit up in the kitchen and make mistakes.”
Having shot music and musicians, (as well as things and people that are unrelated to music and musicians) for the last 7 years, Roycin is a firm advocate for listening to music the right way, as well as outdoor cooking, low-carb, high-fat diets, and of course, spending as much time below the surf as he does above it.
“My family is from coastal Mangalore, and these guys don’t f*ck around or cheat when it comes to preparations.”
Born and brought up in Dubai, Roycin spent a majority of his adult life jet-setting between Dubai, Goa and Mumbai. Having grown up surrounded by Arabic cooking, which entailed a mish-mash of Lebanese, Syrian, Egyptian and Ethiopian cuisines, as well as a strong community of Filipino, Chinese and Thai flavours, Roycin admits that he feels closer to Pakistani, Kerala, Andhra and Irani food than the average sabji-roti we have all become accustomed to.
“I like roasting, grilling meat.” Roycin explains, “Everybody gets to dig in. The bigger the better.”
A man that would sooner mince meat than his words, Roycin is known for his love of meaty goodness. Quickly gaining notoriety for his refusal to settle for the average birthday cake, Roycin is the man behind Mumbai’s much-beloved Bacon Cakes, a cheesy, meaty offering complete with pork and bacon mince, sausages, ham, salami, bacon and fresh condiments.
As the cakes’ popularity skyrocketed, Roycin soon decided to bring his love of food to the people on a much larger scale. It was so that in 2012, Makin’ Bacon was founded, with an aim to bring a taste of greasy, delectable joy to festivals and events across the nation.
“We just wanted to f*ck around and make Munchies and Festival Food a thing in India. No one was doing it.” Roycin explains, “It worked, it was good, but took time, and we never invested as much effort and resources into it to make it brick and mortar,”
While operations have been temporarily halted, Roycin has faith that he will soon bring the taste of bacon back to our lips.
°Let Them Eat (Bacon) Cake!
A man for the people, Roycin reveals that his early relationship with food was inexorably intertwined with the community. A messiah of munchies, Roycin would never cook for one, or for two for that matter. To get the man cooking, the order had to be for at least four or six.
“If you ask any of my friends, they would relate.” Roycin explains, “I would never cook in the day, always early evenings to late nights to be sure that the munchies are in check.”
Between the years of 2011-2015, Roycin reveals he probably delivered over 300 bacon cakes, catered multiple Makin Bacon’ Stalls, and at least forty to fifty post-rager parties, complete with massive roasts, pots of mac n’ cheese, and a whole lot of meats. However, those post-dark Munchie-meals were sure to take their toll, sooner or later.
“These stories perfectly coincide with my history of obesity.” The man reveals, “In 2016, after a few months of research, I challenged myself to drop some weight on Keto.”
The Keto diet did wonders for Roycin’s physique, with the music photographer and bacon-lover dropping 24 kilos in just three months from starting out, and 48 kilos in a year.
“Since then I’ve lost about 50-53 kilos. Now, food is about survival.” Roycin explains, “It’s about eating clean, eating simple and celebrating simplicity in ingredients and flavours. I’m only looking for quality and freshness now. But don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait to fuck shit up at the next BBQ.”
°Cooking in Isolation
“I don’t follow recipes.” Roycin declares, “I see videos, photos, make a version of it in my head and attempt it. If it tastes good, I’m good. If it looks good and tastes not-so-good, I drop a lot of cheese and bacon on it and it usually fixes itself.”
As all over the nation, people sit at home awaiting the end of the lockdown for just a glimpse of their favourite munchies, Roycin reveals that the situation has not taken as much of a toll on his cooking. Whipping up a storm every other day, the D’souza household menu usually offers a selection of salads, cauliflower mashed or riced, boiled eggs, grilled meats, omelettes, baba ganoush, relishes, greek yoghurt dips, multi-seed crackers, Fat Bombs, low-carb breads, and cakes. “All paired with some excellent gin,” Roycin adds.
When asked about how the lockdown has affected his eating habits, Roycin reveals he is thankful for a little limitation to his insatiable appetite.
“When I’m on a diet, I’m fairly strict. One meal a day or one and a half. Under 2000 calories tops, about 1500 average on most days.” He explains, “If I’m not on a diet, it’s a plate of biryani, half a kilo of kulfi and a shot of Cafe Patron. So, yeah. Happy to be locked in and disciplined right now.”
However, no man is made of stone, and as Roycin soon reveals, the right combination of flavours is enough to weaken the knees of even the most resolute. When asked what meal he is most looking forward to post-isolation, Roycin’s answer mirrors that of countless others.
“A great hamburger,” the man with great taste explains, “with emmental cheese, a fried egg, ham, a side of fries, aioli and a tall glass of some crisp Hefeweizen.”
°A Closer Look
When asked about his earliest memory of food, Roycin reminisces back to the shawarmas of Dubai, and the one Dirham cheese pizzas he would relish from the church canteen. In an effort to prod deeper into the psyche of the man behind the cooking, we engaged in a rapid-fire round, designed to bring to light the most important facets of Roycin’s personality.
Q: Cold pizza or hot pizza?
A: Cold Pizza.
Q: Isolation Binge watch?
A: Modern Family.
Q: What’s on your Spotify/Apple Music right now?
A: MMYYKK, Yung Raj, Ego Ella May, Koffee, Ezra Collective, K-lone, Special Request.
Q: Last meal you ate?
A: Beef Fry, Egg Roast and Crispy Fresh Kerala Porota.
Q: Go-to midnight snack?
A: Nuts, Peanut Butter, or a protein shake with peanut butter, chia seeds and almond cream.
Q: Style of cooking you have always wanted to try?
A: Mongolian Hot Pots/North Indian food
Q: Describe your taste in food, music, and photography in one word or phrase.
A: Sexual. Warm. Toasty
Q: Best advice you’ve ever received on cooking?
A: Salt to taste means Salt to taste. Not to season.
Q: One piece of advice you would give to those hoping to follow in your footsteps?
A: Don’t. I walk wonky.
And there you have it, a man with great taste and a wonky gait that lives to eat, rather than the other way around, Roycin D’souza: Maker of Bacon, Lover of Cold Pizza, Human of Food.
Humans of Food is a brand new Editorial series which celebrates food connoisseurs who share a special relationship with food and thus live to eat. We discover what makes these special people tick, and what’s hot on their plate.
All images used in this article are courtesy of Roycin D’souza
©️ 2020. Gut and Flow Media Pvt. Ltd.