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Desirable Diversion

Brian M. Afuang
December 21, 2018        |

What’s Cookin’?

Bhaji burgers. And Jamie Oliver makes ’em with help from new Range Rover Evoque

ONION bhaji — it’s as explosive as one might imagine, even without so much as getting a nibble, considering it basically is a load of red onions and spices wrapped in batter, then fried. Like curry and a bunch of other Indian fare, onion bhaji has become as ubiquitous as fish-and-chips on London tables. Now, British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver shows he’s got one mean recipe for onion bhaji — one that comes in burger form, to be exact.

To make his onion bhaji burger, some grocery-getting needs to be done. And it’s in this area where Range Rover found an excellent chance to insert its new, second-generation Evoque into the picture; Oliver took Range Rover’s most fashionable to the streets of London to shop for ingredients (Oliver was actually the first to drive it around the capital).

The stunt, part of the global reveal of the new Evoque, sees Oliver channelling his Naked Chef days as he drives by Brick Lane, picking up spices and yoghurt at Taj Stores, then bread rolls at Beigel Bake. Realizing there’s a hungry crowd gathered at the studio — or the venue of the Evoque Experience — for whom he’ll whip up the bhaji burger, Oliver peels off the city streets and cuts across Bishopsgate Goods Yard. There, he wades the Evoque through water pools and tackles a series of ramps through the tunnels.

He also switched on the car’s ClearSight Rear View feature to turn the rear-view mirror into an HD screen as he slots the Evoque into a parking slot.

“I absolutely love this car — it was so much fun to drive on the busy streets of London and through the water trough in the Bishopsgate tunnels. I’ve always loved Land Rover and I had a brilliant time designing my cooking car last year. So when I was asked to come and test out the new Evoque, I jumped at the chance,” Oliver says.

The new Evoque is propped by an architecture that makes the car more refined and sporty, and is powered by three- and four-cylinder Ingenium gasoline and diesel engines, or hybrid-electric and full-electric systems. It also gets Land Rover’s Terrain Response 2, which should come in handy on a variety of surfaces. All-wheel drive is available, as well as the second-gen Active Driveline with Driveline Disconnect to improve mileage, and Adaptive Dynamics, which balances comfort with agility.

As a smart new car the Evoque’s cabin is fitted with techie items like Apple CarPlay, 4G Wi-Fi hotspot and InControl Remote. It also uses artificial intelligence algorithms to learn driver preferences. These are matched to technical textiles made from recycled plastics and a couple of touchscreen panels, among a host of other niceties.

At the studio, Oliver proceeds with his live cooking demo in front of the guests. Putting together the ingredients, he finally assembles several fat bhaji burgers for the crowd to wolf down. He, too, takes a bite at one, and says; “That’s probably the best bhaji burger I’ve ever had.”

The new Evoque is no bad thing either.