War in the kitchen

Chefs at the competition.

The finalists of this competition — which included top chefs from Bangalore as well as Chennai — would comprise ‘Team South India’, and go on to compete against culinary teams from the North, to determine who would represent India in this global cook-off.

The theme for the competition was ‘red meat’, and each competing team was given a section of meat which they had to break down and cook from scratch.

In addition to this, they were allowed to bring their own ingredients to flavour the meat and create great side-dishes. Each competing team was judged on the basis of the taste and presentation of their dish, as well as certain traits that they displayed during preparation, such as cleanliness and appropriate use of the products they were given.

The jury panel included some eminent names from the culinary world, such as Soundararajan P, Vijaya Baskaran, Nimish Bhatia, Manjeet Gill and Shivneet Pohoja.
The teams, which were cooking live from scratch, came up with an array of interesting dishes. Ashok Kumar, a chef from Aloft, Chennai, said that his team was cooking a lamb roulade.

“We are using Indian spices, and making a leg and rack of lamb,” he explained, adding that since the spices used were Indian, the entire flavour of the dish would bend that way.

Rana Dominic Gomes, a chef from Royal Orchid Central Hotel, Bangalore, said that his team was preparing a garlic-studded, roasted lamb leg, as well as a double-saddle stuffed with a mixture of spinach, mushrooms and mascarpone cheese. In addition to this, they were serving a slice of liver rolled with an onion marmalade, and a salad with baby arugula.

He said, “The double saddle is an interesting part of meat, and we thought it would complement the dish. To make sure they didn’t taste the same, we stuffed it with spinach, mushroom and mascarpone cheese. The leg, however, is studded with garlic so that the meat is infused with flavour.”

He added that a lot of preparation had gone into making sure this dish could be prepared in the three hours of time they had been allotted. “In fact, we had a rehearsal last night. We cook things like this everyday, but in a competition the whole environment is different,” he explains.

The winning team was that of Chef Binit Pandey of Movenpick Hotel and Spa, in Bangalore. His team cooked a stuffed ‘lamb involtini’ with mint caviar.

Coming in second was the team from Aloft, Chennai. They will now compete in the national level of the competition in Delhi on December 7.

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