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July 19, 2002 | 1740 IST

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Tendulkar to launch food chain

Sachin Tendulkar, who has scored more runs in one-day matches than any other cricketer in history, has now set his sights on scaling culinary heights.

The 29-year-old master blaster, whom many consider the world's best batsman, is getting ready to launch a chain of gourmet restaurants in India and later, in other cricketing nations such as England and Australia.

"Sachin is very passionate about food and is a connoisseur," leading Bombay restaurateur Sanjay Narang, who will team up with the cricketer for this enterprise, told Reuters.

Narang, who owns a range of eateries from the hip to the elegant, will manage the venture, in which Tendulkar is the majority shareholder.

The first "Tendulkar's" will open in October in an upmarket Mumbai locality, a stone's throw from the historic Gateway of India, an arched doorway framing the Arabian sea.

Although a popular concept in other countries such as the United States -- where basketball virtuoso Michael Jordan has successfully cashed in on his celebrity-status through similar ventures -- "branded" restaurants are new in India.

But in a country where cricket is virtually a religion and Tendulkar a demi-god, the restaurant's name alone could generate initial interest.

Narang said, however, that the emphasis would be on good food, service and ambience.

He said "Tendulkar's" would subtly incorporate the underlying theme of cricket, avoiding "in-your-face" memorabilia.

Tendulkar has chosen a minimalist Scandinavian decor, but the entrance of glass and granite would be very dramatic, said Narang.

The menu would have a wide selection of contemporary international cuisine, including Indian and Oriental, with many of the batsman's personal favourites such as Goan-style crab.

"Every item in the restaurant -- the uniforms, the lighting, the cutlery -- has been selected by Sachin," said Narang. "So it is truly a reflection of his personal taste."

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