Having your cake and eating it too?

Having your cake and eating it too?

Food Appeal

The sinful sight of 3-tier wedding cakes in innovative shapes of choco tower, cushions, pin wheel, peacock, strawcake, flower basket and dancing couples left all in awe.

Charika Seth, a recently married home maker was elated to see the innovative and elegant 3-tier wedding cakes, “I wish I had got one of these cakes for my wedding!” When asked about her favourite among the displays, the lady fell for the choco tower cake which had an elegant white base with a fine chocolate spike on top. The creator of this eye grabbing masterpiece, chef Arun Diwakar said, “I imagine how I want to create my cake and then go into the kitchen. It took me 12 to 14 hours to make this cake.”

The event was none other than the Culinary Art India 2012 which recently concluded in the City. The last two days of the food extravaganza witnessed a plethora of competitions in various categories. And this wasn’t all in cakes because the visitors were left astonished when for the first time in CAI, live cake dressing competition kicked off.

The contestants took out their rollers, edible colours, wipped cream bags and sponge cakes. Within two hours, colourful cakes in blue, red, brown and pink were ready. This particular event was a visual treat for all. Among these, a pink cake that won the bronze medal was carefully dressed with little decorative shapes of stars, flowers and balls in yellow, pink, blue and green. After the patient dressing, chef Ali Kumar shared, “I took a sponge cake and dressed it with mazipan- a confection made out of the paste of almonds and cashewnuts. Then I cut star and flower shapes and placed them on the cake with the help of edible gel to make sure that they remain in place.”

While the displays got all the attention, the jury was busy in intricate examination of the practicality of these cakes in real situations. A jury member, chef S Bhandari said, “All the contestants have done a fine job but we have to make sure that the presentation does not overpower the taste. The presentation does matter but authenticity should not be missed out.”

The platted desserts on this day were mouth-watering delights. All had to deliberately control themselves lest they ended up gorging the displays. Among the various chocolate truffles and mango mousses, the silver medal went to chef Asif Khan who made lemon bavarian, cappucino crunchy paramide, white and milk chocolate duet and raspberry and melon delight.

After these extravagant displays, there was day four which had stocked up more for food lovers. The tables were set with inviting 3 course meals, petit fours and to top it all was a live mocktail session.

The three course meal had various cuisines coming to one table. While few took the traditional way to decorate their table and bring the food alive, others lit candles to highlight dishes. Talking about the 3 course menu, experienced jury member chef Nalin said, “It depends on the expertise of the chef on how he designs the menu. Ideally an appetiser should enhance the appetite of the customer and make him curious to check out the main course.”

But the most interesting display on this day was the bite sized desserts called petit fours. In this the contestants amazed all with their finesse and innovation in making tiny apricot wraps, ginger and cilentro, minty dwarfs, strawberry illusions, chocolate desire, lady bird beetle, rose petal trophy and other miniature delights. Pastry chef Nalin explains petit fours “originated in Europe where these bite-sized desserts were served to only VIP guests with a cup of sugarless coffee after the meal.”

These displays were follo­w­ed by a live mocktail session where students and chefs
prepared appeasing drinks in flavours such as orange and paan. The contestants for the live competitions were judged on mis-en-place, cleanliness, correct professional preparation, arrangement, presentation, innovation and taste. A hospitality student Varun Arora, innovatively took a glass filled with transparent liquid in front of the judges and magically turned it into blue with a concentrate in an upturned glass inside the main glass. Varun said, “I prepared Poseidom with lemon, mint and peach soda and felt the need to be creative so as to present something new to the judges.”

‘Culinary Art India’ promises to go national in 2013.