Nervous yet excited, men turned up with their families in large numbers, wearing chef caps, guarding their dishes, giving it a visual fillip that made for a pleasing sight at the initial round of the The Hindu Metro Plus Men’s Cookery Contest held in association with Freedom Refined Sunflower Oil here on Saturday.
Mercure KCP at Banjara Hills was witness to participants from various walks of life and age groups between 18 and 72, who tested their culinary repertoire across vegetarian, non-vegetarian and dessert categories.
Nine winners from the categories, three from each, were chosen out of 113 participants at the event, who would next compete in the final round to be held on November 12. Hitesh Saxena, Jaideep Singh and Balraj secured the top positions in the vegetarian section, while K.L. Narayan, Daanyal, Hanan, Imtiaz, Ajay and Kumar were rewarded for their dishes in the dessert and non-vegetarian categories respectively. The youngest participant Kiran, Riyaaz, aged 18, and 72-year-old Padmashree awardee Vasudevan Gnana Gandhi were appreciated for their efforts. In a bid to encourage cooking among men, Dinesh Rai, Mercure Hyderabad KCP’S general manager, announced his decision to title the dishes prepared by the top three winners after their names in their menu. The desire to ring in a twist to conventional food was prevalent among the participants who made use of the platform to connect with food enthusiasts across the city. While the hosts left participants in splits, the jury comprising Vinay (Mercure KCP), Roy (Minerva Grand), Prabhakar Reddy (Siesta Hitech), Mandal (Greenpark), Master Chef finalist Puneet Mehta rated the dishes in terms of presentation, taste and uniqueness. “Making mistakes helps you become a better cook. Never throw the food you make,” they added.
Culinary experts Kavitha, Anupa and Pratibha shared interesting anecdotes about food and fitness too.
Some of the unique dishes at the event included potato kheer, chicken steam bun, Lagan chicken and Kashmiri rabdi. The mother and the wife are your best judges, said Harsha, a participant, and his counterparts echoed his stance. Others who graced the event included P. Chandra Sekhar Reddy, vice-president of sales and marketing at Freedom Oil, and Venkat Ratnam, senior manager at The Hindu.