Unlike my usual anonymous ‘walk-in’s to eateries all around where I consciously avoid meeting the chefs & owners (so that my views do not get biased in case I get into a friendly chat), this was a unique experience for me – I walked into an event where there was not one or two or three but six hundred chefs under one roof!!!! I was at the 9th award ceremony of Indian Culinary Forum that happens to be a body of Chefs all over India on invitation by a friend who happens to be a Chef himself.
The first thing that I noticed when I received the invite was that it was chaired by ‘Dr K Chiranjeevi’, Union Minister. The only Chiranjeevi I happened to know was the South Indian actor turned politician. So Google came to my rescue – Wiki confirmed that Chiranjeevi the actor was awarded honorary Doctorate by Andhra Pradesh University & what a coincidence – I was about to see the only Chiranjeevi I know:)
As we reached the venue, we realized that the evening program had just started & someone on the dais was delivering a speech in nice English but in a very monotonous voice. I started looking for the action hero Chiranjeevi on the stage only to realize that this gentleman in suit was a transformed ‘gentleman’ version of the onscreen ‘angry street fighter’ that I knew – Chiranjeevi.
The award function started post this. There were nominations & then there were prizes being announced. Notable among the prizes were ‘Chef of the year, Golden hat, Silver hat , Best lady chef & lifetime achievement award. Best food critic award was also interesting.
A book containing recipes by 50 Masterchefs was inaugurated.
Post this there was a dinner in which the sponsor restaurants / food companies had set up live food stalls in a lawn.
There were about 12 stalls , each representing a particular type of cuisine – there were no repeats.
We saw an interesting ‘hand made’ potato chips range being launched by Cremica. Some of those tasted good & were Rs. 50 a pack vs. similar concept imported chips at Rs. 200 a pack.
Old World Hospitality who runs Chor Bizarre had a Kashmiri food stall with some awesome Haaq, some super Gushtaba, good Rogan Josh, Nadru Yakhni & few more curries.
The Gosht Biryani here was very enjoyable.
Moti Mahal Deluxe had a stall with only two chicken offerings.
Loved the food at Food art – Lebanese & some Indian.
Paella at the Olive Kitchen was enjoyable – specially the seafood one.
Super loved the smoked salmon & mussels at Chiloeseafoods.com. They r launching packed smoked salmon & mussels soon that can b bought from supermarkets. Watch out for that product as it launches.
Puratos, an Industrial baking solutions company had quite some good western desserts to offer.
Ashoka hotels served some excellent rabri with good freshly made jalebis & some OK OK pre made malpua.
Beverages were of course in abundance as were many other stalls that I cud not eat at (sheer lack of space).
This evening was unique for another reason to me – For the first time I saw Chefs eating.:)
Long live the Chefs & their art…………………….
In case u r inquisitive as to who won the awards & where u cud get to taste what they cook, here is the list:
Kitchen Artist Award: Chef Mahesh Kumar Srivastav, Hotel Samrat
Master Baker Award: Chef Anand Singh Rathore, Old world Hospitality Pvt ltd
Master Chef International Confectionery Award: Chef Chandan Rati, Country Inns & suites
Master Chef Indian Sweets Award: Chef Inder Singh, I T C Rajputana
Master Chef Kebabs Award: Chef Mukesh Gautam, Country Inns & suites
Master Chef International Cuisine Award: Chef Kishan Singh Rawat, Country inn and Suites
Chef of the Year Award: Chef Vaibhav Bhargava, OliveBar & Kitchen
Food Critic Award: Dr. Pushpesh Pant
Lady Chef of the Year Award: Chef Ishika Konar, Pullman Hotel
Master Chef South India Cuisine Award: Chef Shakti Raj, Hotel Radisson Blu
Master Chef Oriental Cuisine Award: Chef Basant Rana, HotelPark
Silver Hat Chef Award: Chef Tarun Dacha, Sarovar Group
Golden Hat Chef Award: Chef Arun Batra, Tajsats Air Catering
Lifetime Achievement Award: Chef Sudhir Sibal