For some families, Sunday’s HT No TV weekend festivities were a chance to put their culinary skills on display.
Inside a stark and steely five-star kitchen, away from the comforts of their home they competed — reality-TV show style —- with friends and family cheering them on.
The Culinary Premier League was organised as part of the No TV Weekend LG Hing food festival. Of the 20 families that entered the preliminary cookouts, four made it to the final battle, and chopped, fried, julienned and sautéed their way through the finale, inside the gleaming kitchens of the Trident hotel at BKC.
For businessman Somir Dhanki, watching sister Sujata Das huddled over ingredients and cooking up ideas with her family was a welcome change from the usual weekend routine.
“We are here for the sheer excitement of participating in this unusual competition -— with the added benefit that we’re together here and not in front of the TV right now,” Das said.
Realtor Abdulla Sayed, meanwhile, was there with his wife and mother and they were playing to win. Their hard work paid off as their daliya risotto and peas-and-apple halwa won the hearts of the judges -- chef Ranveer Brar, food historian Kurush Dalal and Trident chef Robin Batra -- and the giant prize hamper.
“It’s been a great experience cooking inside a five-star kitchen,” said an excited Abdulla, after clinching the ‘title’.
The teams were split up as Mumbai Mavericks, Gujarat Guns, Bangalore Beasts and Dili Dilwale since the semi final round was about cooking cuisines with origins in these cities.
The final cookout had the additional themes of fusion, creativity and innovation.
The participants were introduced to four ‘hero’ ingredients to work into their dishes -- coconut milk, apples, daliya (Indian porridge) and green peas.
One of the contestants, Sukhwinder Dasari, was making a Kerala stew, which she had watched Brar cook once.
Dasari’s was a team of three generations that included her mother and 10-year-old daughter, Haritha, the youngest participant.
IT Professional, Yatin Chhatbar, and his three-year-old daughter were led by his wife Meena, a chartered accountant.
It was not just cooking, the teams were quizzed on their culinary knowledge too, with questions like what is the origin of the term punch.
Brar was especially particular about leaving the cooking stations clean, a factor that would figure in the
“This is a new experience for them. The contestants have come up with good dishes and new ideas,” Batra said.
Added Brar: “Cooking is a great way of bonding and this is one example of how our sense of flavour and presentation have exponentially improved in recent years, thanks to global exposure and the Internet.”