Perfection guaranteed

Perfection guaranteed

Chef competition

How does one decide what tastes better than the other when two master chefs create the same dish? This intriguing question will be answered soon when prominent chefs in the city will judge over 300 culinary experts at Culinary Art India, a platform for them to show innovation, and an opportunity to bring out their creative pursuits beyond four walls of the kitchen.

According to chef Devinder Kumar from Le Meridien, the idea behind the dish is one of the main criteria for judging. “When the food does not look good, we reject it. Food which looks good to the eyes is one of the main parameters to judge. Other parameters include composition, portion, plating and presentation,” says Kumar who is one of the organisers.

He also feels that platforms like these are essential because they give these chefs the right amount of exposure, something Indian chefs are deprived of. “People learn from exposure. In India, giving chefs required exposure is the biggest challenge. How much can one innovate inside four walls of the kitchen? They need to travel and interact with each other,” says Kumar who is armed with over four decades of experience.

This five-day event, beginning March 15, is a national-level competition where chefs from reputed hotels like Taj, Le Meridien and Maurya Sheraton, among others compete against each other under various sections like main course, dessert, patisserie and appetiser that are spread across diverse cuisines, including Indian and regional.

The event organisers have tied up with Tourism and Hospitality Skill Council to undertake international level certification of chefs and Food and Beverage professionals under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna.

Culinary art is a thriving industry and the event, which is in its 11th year, is a testimony of that. It has been curated as a space which aids chefs to discover their creativity. A chef on a regular day hardly gets time to experiment since they are always time-pressed. This platform is devised keeping note of absent norms.

This is the reason why the competition has 16 award categories that includes Margarine Sculpture, Artistic Bakery Showpiece and Fruit and Vegetable Carving. Apart from this, they will also compete in cold display in categories like Plated Appetisers and Petit Fours or Pralines.

Mohammad Asif has been winning the gold medal in this competition for the past three years. A demi chef de parte at Radisson Blu Noida, Asif works around chocolates only.

“I have not been preparing for a long time. One cannot prepare for such an event. Your knack and skills are continuously growing... they cannot be rehearsed. I always focus on conceptualising a new dish which no one would have imagined,” says Asif, who is participating this year as well.

Last year he had made a chocolate dessert which looked like a life-size, old style, steam engine train. This time he wants to make a chocolate ‘rath’. “The idea is to bring back the old. Because now old things, which have disappeared from people’s mind, seem new to them,” he says.

He adds the industry is well connected globally. But since the industry is large and there are many chefs around, he wants to create an identity of his own.

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