Hyderabad has some of the best chefs in the making, as a team of 11 students from the Culinary Academy of India has just proved once again.
The team emerged as the overall champions in the 24th All India Inter Collegiate Chef Competition held at Christ University, Bengaluru, and brought home an enormous trophy to add to their already illustrious collection, lining the hallway of their college.
Interestingly, CAI, ranked eighth in the world and first in the country for culinary arts, has won the coveted trophy for the third consecutive time. The team of 11 comprised of undergraduate and Master’s students; however, it was the first time that they were participating in a national level competition.
“The experience was exhilarating,” says Devesh Upreti, who participated in the chef competition event along with Rahul Pandey. He explains, “We had three rounds and three hours for the challenge. We had to prepare a dry regional starter and we chose to make Pathar ka Ghost and Dum ka lauz, a traditional Hyderabadi dish that was commonplace in the times of the Nizams but is almost a lost jewel now. The second was a culinary quiz, which was most challenging and the other teams gave us a good fight. The last one was a European mystery box challenge where we had to prepare a three-course meal. The judges were impressed by our technique and presentation and we got gold medals for all the three rounds.”
Rahul Pandey adds, “The best compliment a chef can get is that within 10 seconds, all that’s served to the judges on the plate must vanish, and that’s what happened. Not just that, after the food was done, they made us re-plate it only to take a picture!”
Gaurav Patidar explains that this was more than just a competition for them. “Our college concentrates mostly on culinary skills but at the competition, we got to learn and experience everything that goes into the running of a restaurant. The two-day competition was divided into two segments, the chef competition and Hospitality and Management, where there were events based on hotel management, logistics, revenue, etc. It was very challenging as 15 top colleges of the country were participating.”
Sri Moyee, a participant in the best manager category says, “It dealt with activities of human resource, finance and management too. We had to make a presentation to market a whacky product while the judges and audience tried their best to distract us. To prepare for these events, our college had arranged meetings with various hotel departments here. We interacted with the managers and learnt a lot.”
The competition held several other activities and events, most of which were aced by the 11 members of the CAI, who deservingly brought back the Overall Culinary Champions Trophy with pride.