Maria Fernandes| NT Kuriocity
The Navhind Times, in its constant endeavour to enrich knowledge and skills of the community especially the youth and children of the state, has been organising workshops for children under the banner of Planet J since 2011. In March last year, it also launched workshops under Zest, its weekend lifestyle magazine. In this latest maiden venture, The Budding Chef competition, it is all set to challenge and test the culinary skills of Goa’s future chefs. Designed exclusively for culinary college students in Goa, the competition aims to promote a culinary passion and taste for excellence amongst participants.
In partnership with Amul and IHM Goa, the competition will test not just culinary skills but also the creativity and presentation skills of participants. “Our aim in organising this competition is to inculcate in participants a spirit of healthy competition while cultivating a passion for creativity,” says general manager, The Navhind Times, Pramod Revankar. Explaining the reason for keeping the competition open only to students of culinary colleges, principal of IHM Goa, Donna D’Souza says: “In the competition we are looking at a certain level of expertise and professionalism and since these students are trained in this field they possess the required skills.”
Ten culinary colleges from across the state will be participating in the competition which begins at 10 a.m. and ends by 1 p.m. “Each college can send three participants of which two will be the main participants and one will be a runner or helper. The helper does not participate in the advanced cooking,” says D’Souza. “Participants will be given Amul products and will be required to base their dishes on these ingredients,” she adds.
There will be a common basket that comprises of Amul products like milk, cheese, chocolate, fresh cream, condensed milk and ghee; oil and spices will also be included in this. In addition each table will get an individual basket that will also contain Amul products. Speaking on the occasion, branch manager, Amul in Goa, Yathartha Dave says: “We are immensely pleased to partner with a reputed print media like The Navhind Times which is well trusted by the masses. We are positive that the contestants are not just going to do justice to our products but also look forward to their creativity in presenting our products uniquely.”
Contestants will have to prepare a three course menu which includes a starter with the compulsory use of Amul mozzarella cheese, a hot main course using cottage cheese and ghee and a hot or cold dessert using fresh cream, chocolate, condensed milk and tropical fruit cheese spread. D’Souza informs that participants will have to carry their own display plates and items for decoration on the display table. ” If participants want to use any other ingredient besides the one provided in the common and individual baskets they can get their own; however no readymade sauces or mixes are allowed. They can also carry their own special tools, cutters, moulds, piping bags, etc.”
Three eminent chefs will judge the competition on the basis of flavour, texture, consistency, doneness, creativity, menu and ingredient compatibility, creativity, portion size and nutritional balance, serving method and presentation. “Creativity is important but it is equally vital that the treatment of ingredients should be respectful and appropriate as it is new and imaginative. Balance plays a key role,” says D’Souza. Besides this points will also be given for sanitation, organisation, cooking techniques and execution, proper utilisation of ingredients, time management, garbage segregation and scullery or washing up,” In a culinary competition it is not just the end product that we look at but also other logistics and complementary skills,” she adds.
There will be four prizes, namely: best starter, best main course and best dessert and the overall trophy for The Navhind Times ‘Budding Chef’ team.
“The competition is a platform for students to showcase their individual and group skills, techniques and styles by maintaining established culinary standards. We would also like to provide an example and inspiration to other youngsters in the state. The event is open for viewing to all and we would like to take this opportunity to invite everyone to come and encourage participants. Winning recipes will be published in the Kuriocity section of the Navhind Times post the event along with photographs of the winners,” says Revankar.
The competition will be held at IHM Goa, Porvorim from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. January 13. Prize distribution will follow soon after.