Star plus organized Star Chef Contest with WomenNowTV as part of Utsav2012 the first ever star studded pre-diwali event with activities for everyone in the family. The contest was held on Oct 6th – 2:30PM at Santa Clara convention center. It was open to all cooking enthusiasts and was a huge success.
The Contest was managed by Smitha Rao who has a full time job is in IT and loves volunteering for womenow and MCed by Ranjan Dey, renowned chef and owner of The famous New Delhi Restaurant in San Francisco. It is one of the finest Indian Restaurants in the US as mentioned by New York Times and featured on the Galloping Gourmet TV Show, New Delhi is the place to dine.
The event received immense response and was a big hit. Contestants were asked to bring home cooked vegetarian entrée, appetizer or dessert with Besan as the main ingredient. Participants came up with innovative, delicious and creative variety of besan dishes.
The honorable jugdes for the events were:
Chef-Teacher Sukhi Singh, founder of Sukhi’s Gourmet Indian Cuisine which was founded in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1992, following an increased demand for authentic Indian food prepared with premium, natural ingredients.
Nalini Mehta, who offers a unique experience through Route to India. Her mission is to bring about a revival of Ayurveda and the art of holistic living. She teaches classes around the bay area: The Delectable Dosa:The Art of Making Indian Crepes.
Ashwini Kumar, the man behind fine traditional Indian Cuisine in Silicon Valley, Madhuban. Madhuban has won best of the bay awards for best Indian cuisine, Northern California for two years 2009 and 2011.
Papiha Nandy, she is the voice behind VOICE OF INDIA. SALAAM – NAMASTE is a television show hosted by Bay Area’’s most popular Radio and Television personality Papiha Nandy, who is well known in the field of broadcasting for the last 23 years.
24 participants took part in the contest. There were 2 rounds. Out of 24 dishes, 5 dishes were shortlisted in the second round. The final round was held on stage where the 5 contestants were asked about the idea, story and healthy factor behind their dish. Judges graded the dish based on taste, presentation and uniqueness of the use of main ingredient. On the basis of all the rounds Judges selected one winner and one runner up. All the paticipants and their dishes were commendable which gave a hard time to judges to choose only 5 finalists and 2 winners.
The shortlisted 5 contestants were Vaishali Ukirde who made tempting ‘Besan Bruschetta’, Shoba Rao who came up with all organic ‘Besan Crepe’, Gunjan Kumat who made interesting ‘Assorted Besan pedha’, Sonal Nekilerru who invented the ‘Besan Cannoli’and Hema Raja came up with creative ‘Besan Veg Tofu Wrap’
At the end of two rounds, Vaishali Ukirde was awarded the winner trophy, 150$ Gift Certificate of New Delhi Restaurant and New World Spices 6-pk Spice box. She made the amazing healthy ‘Besan Bruschetta’. She is a material science graduate and currently works as a Sr Research scientist at a startup. Cooking is her passion and she loves to try out different cuisine.
Shoba Rao bagged the runner up trophy along with the 100$ Gift Certificate of New Delhi Restaurant and New World Spices 6-pk Spice box. She came up with nutritious and innovative ‘Crepes Medley’. She works in IT industry and volunteers for Cancer Institute Foundation. According to Shoba healthy did not need to be boring and by adding little love as the ingredient, any dish can be tasty!
All the participants were awarded the Star Plus Certificates.
Last but not the least a BIG THANKS to Ena Sarkar, The Women Now Team and the Volunteers without whom this event would have not been possible!
Finally how can I not mention how much fun and great learning experience I had in clicking the amazing food pictures and covering this exciting event :). As a food blogger and food photographer tt was an awesome experience for me.
You can witness the passion for cooking of all the contestants and the hard work of the organizers ,volunteers and judges to make this STAR Chef Contest such a success in the pictures. Hope you enjoy them:)
Participants preparing their dishes for the Contest
The food entries for the Contest
The Judging event
The top 5
The final round, winners & awarding ceremony