Hyatt Culinary Challenge 2016 at Hyatt Regency Kolkata
This was the third season of this super successful event conceptualised and executed by Hyatt Hotels in India. 13 hotels across the country had participated in this event- Hyatt Culinary Challenge 2016.
So what is this all about? We had heard about it only last year, however, this was the first time we went to understand and experience the event. We are more than aware of Hyatt’s culinary excellence in all its restaurants, be it at their all day dining or speciality restaurants like La Cucina or Guchhi at Kolkata and many more award winning restaurants in the country. So to emphasize on this need, Hyatt Hotels India introduced a new concept of a culinary challenge amongst individuals from various corporate backgrounds, some of them who are patrons of the Hotel and some not, in one common platform to cook off against each other for a grand prize. The participants have one thing in common, i.e. their passion for cooking and each one of them getting help from a child from SMILE foundation, which is a partner NGO with Hyatt in the country. 13 Hyatt hotels had participated and the winner from each hotel would cook off against each other in the Grand Finale which is being hosted by Hyatt Chandigarh on the 19th of November 2016.
There were 11 contestants, all excited and nervous at the same time with their crisp white aprons and chef’s hat standing with nervous gleaming smile with their SMILE foundation partners. The challenge was set for 75 minutes, where 15 minutes was dedicated to plating. Before the start, the contestants were explained about the various parameters on which they were to be judged; which included- hygiene and cleanliness of the work benches, how effectively they are working which also means the amount of waste being generated, the look of the dish, the complexity of the dish and of course, the taste of the dish. There were 3 judges- the GM, Mr. Kumar Shobhan, the Executive Chef Clement D Cruz and the celebrity food writer and restaurateur Mrs Rakhi Purnima Dasgupta.
The contestants were a healthy mix of men and women and from different age group as well as corporate field. The cook was pretty interesting. Each one was doing their best at creating their best. While Mr. Amit Khettry from RED FM was doing vegetarian Galauti kebabs, Mr. Somnath Chatterjee from Cognizant Technologies was doing stuffed bell peppers with mutton keema and Mr. Raju Raina was doing Mutton roganjosh, there was Mrs. Sarah Sandhu, President for Kolkata Women’s International Club, doing a warm chicken salad with a number of different elements going on at the same time, Mrs. Romila Roy was doing a fish paturi with lau pata (bottle guard leaf) and Ms. Jill Das was doing chicken kati masala. The energy at the cook stations were very high, where each participant was being cheered from their own family members plus the hotel staff and people like us, who were hopping on from one station to another, watching the cook and basking in the aroma of different kinds of dishes.
After the competition was over, the judges sat down on the podium, just like in Masterchef shows, and one by one the contestants brought in their dishes to be judged. The winner of this challenge was Mrs. Sarah Sandhu, who created a warm chicken and mushroom salad in a parmesan bowl along with some olive tapenade by the side. The runner up was Mrs. Romila Roy who created the lau pata fish paturi.
The event was followed by a fabulous brunch which included a number of live pasta counters and a full bar.
All I could say is that Anindya and I enjoyed thoroughly, not just watching the cook off, but also spending some good time on a Saturday morning and afternoon in good company.
We had also gone live for the first time from our Facebook page . You can catch some of the interviews there .
An event like this calls for loads of Pictures and Anindya did not miss any opportunity on that. Here are some .
While the contestants got introduced
While they awaited for the contest to start off
While the contest was going on
Finally when the dishes were ready to be served and judged after 75 mins
The evaluation process and the declaration of the winner.
And the winner is –