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Look what’s cooking!

The third edition of the culinary competition ‘Goan Woman Chef of the Year’ organised by The Navhind Times in partnership with IHCL Goa- Taj Exotica Resort and Spa, promises to be more exciting and challenging this year. NT BUZZ speaks with area director, IHCL Goa and general manager, Taj Exotica Resort and Spa, Vincent Ramos to get the details

Maria Fernandes | NT

Over the years, The Navhind Times under the banner of Planet J and Zest respectively, has been organising workshops and competitions that enrich participants with knowledge and skills. Partnering with Taj Exotica Resort and Spa, Goa; the upcoming ‘Goan Woman Chef of the Year’ competition, will challenge and test the culinary skills of women. The competition has been designed exclusively for women, and aims to promote a culinary passion and taste for excellence in the participants, besides reviving authentic recipes and dishes. It will test not just the culinary skills but also the creativity and presentation skills of the participants.

“87 women contestants from all across the state participated in the second edition of the Goan woman chef contest to showcase their gastronomic talents out of which around 85 per cent of them were housewives. It was a treat to the eyes and taste buds to witness hundred and thirty eight dishes on display. The tremendous response and whole-hearted enthusiasm displayed over the last two consecutive years has encouraged Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Goa to partner with Navhind Times for the third edition of ‘Goan Woman Chef of the Year’,” shares area director, IHCL Goa and general manager, Taj Exotica Resort and Spa, Vincent Ramos.

Explaining the reason for keeping the competition open only to women, he says, ‘gender diversity and women empowerment’ is one of the core cultures that define IHCL. “It expresses the way we work, in which women elaborate and re-create what they can be, do, and accomplish. It also urges us to focus on gender equality, a greater awareness of discrimination, and a celebration of women’s achievements,” he says.

This contest is open to women above 18 years of age and begins at 10 a.m. “Based on the state’s local flavours like Goan, Saraswat or Portuguese cuisine, this year we are pleased to add another local flavour of the state namely- Goan Muslim cuisine,” he shares. The participants, he adds, can prepare their signature dish in their own kitchen at home and present it to the panel of judges.

 “The cuisine of Goa is a delicious reflection of our history and heritage which is influenced by its Hindu origins, 400 years of Portuguese colonialism, Muslim rule, and of course the various techniques that have emerged over time. And one can only boast about the various exotic Goan flavours and the different cooking styles in play after a relishing experience,” he says, adding that when one thinks of Goa, dishes like ‘chorizo pav’, ‘sausage pulao’, ‘beef chilly fry’, ‘pork vindaloo’, ‘pork sorpotel’, ‘chicken xacuti’, etc, immediately come to the fore. “The team at Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Goa strives to give our guests an authentic Goan experience right from the ‘warm welcome’ to the ‘old-world architecture’ to the food we serve to our guests,” he says.

Contest participants will be given 15 to 20 minutes to put the finishing touches to their pre-prepared dish before the presentation and will have to get their own crockery, cutlery, and garnish. “To be fair to all contestants, this year participants will be allowed to present only one dish unlike last year,” adds Ramos.

The panel of judges will include chefs and F&B professionals from the Taj group and other well-known personalities from the culinary world; who will judge the dishes based on the set criteria.

“To cook well one needs creativity. Creativity is considered essential because it is the seed for innovation and thus is viewed as key to build a competitive advantage,” informs Ramos. Based on the afore-mentioned cuisines, the chosen judges are all set and ready to judge the competition. As part of the competition criteria, the semi-finalists will be announced first. They will then contest amongst themselves for the final positions.

Exciting prizes are on offer, one for The Navhind Times ‘Goan Woman Chef of the Year’ and the other for the runners-up.

“Winning recipes will be published in the Zest section of the Navhind Times post the event along with photographs of the winners,” says general manager of The Navhind Times, Pramod Revankar.

So ladies, what are you waiting for? Get out your recipes and cook up a storm, remember there are even more exciting prizes to be won this year! The competition will be held at Taj Exotica Resort and Spa, Goa in Benaulim, on Saturday, August 17, 10 a.m. onwards. To apply for the competition log on to http://navhindtimes.in/events/registrations/ and fill in the form. Last date for application is August 5.

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