Ruma Singh, a dear friend who is on the board of Chaine des Rotisseurs, invited me to attend the first culinary competition for young chefs organised by Chaine, held at Vivanta by Taj, Whitefield, Bangalore, 2 days ago. The competitors were 17 young chefs from India’s top hotels and restaurants, all under the age of 27, and with less than 5 years of work experience . Fortunately for us, the long drive to Whitefield was made easy and enjoyable, thanks to India bundh by public transport unions.
The black boxes were opened by the young chefs at 12.30 pm and cooking commenced at 1 pm. The chefs were given 3.5 hours to create a 3 course menu. What we saw during the menu presentation to the 4 elite judges were amazing creations by budding culinary geniuses. The judges were Rishad Minocher, Bailli of the Chaine des Rotisseurs, Bangalore, Chef Rene Pierre Gouroud from Cameroon, Bailli Honoraire Manfred Matsyik, and Chef Jacques le Divellec, the Michelin 2 star chef from Paris who was invited for the event by the Chaine. Everyone present clapped and cheered the participants when they received their citations and medals. The awards were given away by the judges, Chaine board members and the sponsors (Auchan Hypermarkets, Marriott Whitefield, Bangalore, Weber India and Four Seasons Wines).
The first prize winner was Hitesh Gautam from Ista, Bangalore, 2nd prize was won by Chef Pushpender Yadav from Vivanta by Taj, MG Road, Bangalore, and the 3rd prize went to Chef Senthil Kumar from Leela Palace, Bangalore. Chef Hitesh will be sent to Istanbul, Turkey, by the Chaine, along with his Executive Chef, Gautam Chaudhury, to participate in the world-wide young chefs competition, to be held by the Chaines des Rotisseurs in September 2013, where winning young chefs from over 50 Chaine member countries will compete for the grand prize.
The jury also awarded special prizes for the best 3 courses in the competition. This was won by Chef Siddesh B. Madkalker, Vivanta by Taj, Yeshwantpur, Bangalore, for his Pan seared Black Pomfret and Jumbo Prawns, guacamole, red wine poached fig and fennel risotto (appetizer), Chef Gaurav Kadam, Vivanta by Taj, Whitefield, Bangalore, for his Duo of loin of Lamb and Tenderloin, glazed knol-khol and carrots, served with funghi gravy (main course) and Chef Bharat Kapoor, Taj West End, Bangalore, for his Warm chocolate pudding, strawberry coulis, caramelized figs and walnut dust (dessert).
This Wednesday event was almost like watching Masterchef Australia (one of my favourite television programs). The event was beautifully organised and executed. May such culinary competitions and participants grow in numbers!