In the last decade India has changed. It has evolved not just in terms of infrastructure development but taste as well. Indians are now open to trying new international cuisines to enhance their taste levels. MasterChef is the new KBC. People are glued to the show. They are keenly interested in cooking differently, and keeping it healthy. FLAME University did just that – an open cooking challenge was organized on FLAME University’s campus. The competition was spearheaded and judged by India’s renowned ‘Master Chef’ and Head Chef of Westin Hotel, Ajay Chopra. Sodexo that officially caters to FLAME University made all the arrangements for the same.
The idea was to showcase chopping skills of individuals, time management, team work and creativity in cooking. It was a ‘cold cooking’ challenge which was exceptionally intriguing as to everyone’s surprise many tasty and healthy dishes were prepared without using heat. All raw materials, such as vegetables, fruits, cream, butter, bread, salt etc. were provided to the participants by Sodexo.
Initially there were supposed to be 7 teams of 5 each, but looking at the number of participants it was increased to 9 teams of 5 each, including 1 team of faculty/staff members. Large number of students gathered on the sprawling campus to watch the competition. The neatly set benches, out in the open, piled with ingredients looked straight out of the MasterChef TV show. Chef Ajay Chopra dressed in an impeccably white apron and a chef’s hat radiated professionalism.
Each member initially was given 2 or 3 independent ingredients that they were expected to clean, dice and mix in a limited amount of time. They then had to pass it on to the team’s captain. The captain assembled and came up with a dish using all or most of the ingredients. The team that made the most creative and tastiest dish won.
Chef Ajay Chopra was extremely clear on the rules, and went around methodically explaining them to all participants. He shared some lovely anecdotes and fun facts about cooking before beginning the competition. His profound knowledge on the subject was evident. The teams began chopping as the chef instructed. As the competition progressed the dishes began to take shapes. The air was filled with lovely aroma of fresh ingredients. Many were awestruck at the sheer creativity displayed by the students, in combining the unusual components and marrying them into a perfect dish. The team work and understanding among the participants resulted in a beautiful dish. A good variety of cold salads, sandwiches, burgers, and croissants were stylishly presented to the chef at the end of the competition, leaving him pleasantly surprised. It was apparent that chef Chopra and his co-judges from Sodexo, struggled to choose a winner from the range of delectable dishes.
All the participants had a great time and the winning team received their own personal chef coats, signed by Chef Chopra himself.